Two of the primary drivers of digital marketing success today are content and social signals. The great thing about them is that they dovetail beautifully. You create the high quality content on your website, which you hope Google and readers love. The latter then shares your content on social media, giving another signal to Google that the content is great.
What is the Point of Content?
No one ever said that creating content was something you do just for social signals. Many people within the digital marketing industry have been saying “content is king” for years, but why do you, or why does someone in your team, dedicate their time to sitting down and creating it?
Look to the Panda
Although it’d be going too far to say that you create content just because you know Google Panda will penalise you if you don’t, that particular Google algorithm does provide an idea of why you do it.
Creating content on your website is all about creating trust. You do this by creating high quality content for your website pages, which helps you to develop into a resource and a “go to” destination for queries, directly as well as via social media and ultimately through Google search.
Do this right, and a lot of the time the social shares will follow. Note that you should never be creating content solely for the purpose of it being shared. One piece of highly sharable, potentially viral content isn’t going to make your content strategy a success.
At the same time, you might rarely see your content shared. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong, but you might want to look at what you could change.
Is Your Content Too Branded?
Some companies never see any social shares because everything they publish on their site is all about them.
Should you be producing branded content for a product or service you offer? Yes, but it is the type of content least likely to be shared.
Content that acts as an informational guide is more likely to be shared, as is an editorial or a news piece.
If you want to create branded content from your guides, editorials, and news, then by all means do so. Remember, you can always link to your branded content from your non-branded content and earn traffic after it has been shared!
Is Your Content User Friendly?
What is user friendly content? Usually, when people talk about user friendly content they’re looking at a number of things. These include how engaging the content is, how long the content is, and obviously whether the content is actually valuable and gives the reader some useful information.
The big thing to keep in mind here is probably that long content doesn’t automatically mean great content. So many websites are guilty of putting 1,000 words or more on the page and thinking that quantity means quality. However, it is unlikely that a 100-word piece is going to bring many shares your way. The best approach to take is to look at sticking to the typical minimum word count, which is 500 words, and then going longer if you need to. Longer content over 1,000 words has been shown to rank higher in the search engines, but only if it is of a high quality.
What about the times you need to say something but it will only take up a 100-word post? You can still do shorter posts – a variety of content is healthy, after all – but don’t expect it to be shared a great deal.
So, longer content gets shared more, but don’t write waffle just for the sake of it!
Write four or five pieces of content all of varying lengths, and then take the time to see which is shared the most. Once you know which content gets the most shares, aim to make everything a similar length. The ideal length of a piece of content will vary by industry, so keep persisting until you find what works for you.
As for making content engaging, most of the time this comes down to how it is presented to your readers. Content with clear headings and images is far likelier to be read, which may lead to sharing, versus something that is simply a block of content. You should consider your writing style, too. Are you writing in a manner that people would enjoy reading and are able to relate to, or do you read your own written work back to yourself and think you sound like a boring lecturer?
What does Your Page Look Like?
The formatting of your content factors into this, but when we talk about the appearance of your page we’re looking much more at everything else going on around the words themselves.
Is there too much going on in your columns beside the text? Is this space cluttered with ads or is what is there flashing, moving, or distracting in any other way? Do you have things that pop up periodically? Do your social sharing buttons (ironically) look messy and are they getting in the way?
Ideally, you want your site designed in such a way that when someone hits a content page, the focus is the content. No one shares an ad-filled page, other than to mock it!
Get Your Content Shared!
These points can go some way to helping you identify why your content isn’t being shared. However, you should always remember that modern digital marketing is a holistic process, so it might be the case that your content is brilliant and you just need to work on social or SEO factors in order to bring more eyes to it to then share it in the first place.