I’ve been blogging for over two and a half years now, and during that time, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make blog posts shareable.
But before I get into the details of just how to do this, I have to let you know that I have a very different viewpoint on why anyone should want to make their blog post go “viral”.
I don’t believe in getting more numbers for the sake of getting more numbers. I repeat: if all you want to do is get more people to see your blog post just so you can brag about the numbers you can get, this post is probably not for you.
However, if you want to get your blog post shared by more people because what you have written is really going to help a lot of people, or change people’s lives for the better, then this post for you.
If you believe that blogging is a way of serving humanity for the greater good, then this post is for you.
It’s important that you come to this post from a place of magnanimity, or else none of what I share with you today will work for you.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s talk about how you can make your blog post more shareable.
1. Make your blog post primarily about your reader
(Now can you see why none of these tools are going to work for you if all you have in mind is yourself?)
The only reason your post will get shared is if it is useful to your readers. It has to inform them, inspire them, help them, guide them, motivate them, entertain them, or clarify something for them.
If you want your post to go “viral”, you have to remember why going viral is such a great thing in the first place: it’s a great thing because your helpful blog post has a chance to reach more people.
If your helpful blog post reaches more people, then more people will be helped. And that’s a good thing.
Also, when people land on a blog post that they find truly helpful, they like to share it with others.
Because most people like helping other people.
Because most people are pretty awesome and actually want others succeed. (Believe it or not.)
If this were not true, people wouldn’t share anything at all. They would just keep all the “success secrets” to themselves.
2. Make your blog post timely
Follow the news, read your readers’ blogs, study your niche and see what blogs and websites your readers frequent. Try to get into your readers’ heads to see what concerns are on their minds right now—at this very moment. Then address their current concerns in a blog post.
Solve a timely problem for your readers and your readers will show you their appreciation by sharing your post with their networks.
(Oh, and by the way, the more timely your post is, the more likely it will come up in search results. Why? Because if your post is timely, it is far more likely that people are searching for articles on the very subject you are writing about.)
3. Make your blog post well-written
Make sure to review your post several times before you press “publish”.
4. Make your blog post easy to read
People are very busy these days, and they often read tons and tons of material every single day. So by the time they get to your post, their eyes are tired and sore. This is why readers will reward you if you put your post into an easy-to-read format. (Like a list, for example.)
Also, try not to make the language too complicated. It’s not that your reader wants you to dumb down your language; it’s just that they are likely coming to you after reading tons of complicated material at work and at this point, they really can’t handle convoluted sentences any more.
5. Make your blog post about one subject
Even if you address two subjects brilliantly, these two subjects will cancel each other out.
(I know this from experience. Trust me.)
I’ve realized that when it comes to blogging, readers can’t digest two complex subjects at the same time. No, your readers aren’t “dumb”. It’s just that something about the style of blogging lends itself to extreme simplicity.
The more simple a blog post is, the more effective it is and therefore, the more it will be shared.
6. Understand that these are just the rules of the game—you can always break them
A smart blogger knows when to follow the rules and when to break them.
She will design simple and direct posts that are meant to be widely shared to bring in newer audiences to her blog. Then, she will design other posts that are a bit more complex – posts that are meant for her established audience, and not intended for newbies.
7. Give your post an attention-grabbing headline
The first thing a person usually sees is your headline.
A reader uses your headline to judge whether or not she wants to take time out of her busy schedule to read what you’ve written.
Again, your readers are very busy people who have a lot of responsibilities. Reading your blog post is probably near the end of their list of important tasks to cross off of their “to-do” list.
Think of your headline as an argument. You are trying to prove to a reader why reading your blog post is worth their precious time. If your post doesn’t seem important (or intriguing) enough to read, it is likely to be skipped, or it will be put on the “will-read-later-when-I-have-free-time” list.
So make a strong case with your blog post headline. Prove to readers that your blog post is worth their precious time.
This will ensure your blog post gets read and then shared.
8. Field-test your blog post subject
The best way to make your blog post more shareable is if you first “field-test” your blog post subject.
You can do this in several ways: you can “field-test” your subject in a Twitter Chat, in the Comments section of your blog (or in the Comments section of another person’s blog), or even by responding to a reader’s e-mail.
If you get a huge response through field-testing your subject (for instance, if your subject gets a lot of re-tweets during your Twitter Chat), you are almost guaranteed that a blog post on a similar subject will be shared like crazy.
(Again, I can tell you from experience that this strategy works wonders.)
The reason this strategy works is because you have already seen proof that the subject of your blog post can get people talking.
Now, go use your new powers
Now that you know how to make your blog post more shareable, implement these strategies on your blog and see if they work for you.
But remember: use these tools only in the service of others. If you use these tools just so you can get higher numbers for the sake of getting higher numbers, they probably won’t work for you.
However, if you use these tools to help others, they will likely make your next blog post very successful.
In your experience, what do you think makes a blog post more shareable? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
A guest post by Ollin Morales. He is a fiction writer and professional blogger. His blog, Courage 2 Create, chronicles his journey as he writes his first fiction novel. His blog offers writing advice as well as strategies to deal with life’s tough challenges. His blog was named one of The Top Ten Blogs for Writers by Write To Done two years in a row (2010, 2011).
Have you nominated YOUR favorite blog for the Top Ten Blogs for Writers Contest 2012? Click here for nominations.
<small>Image: children sharing icecream courtesy of Bigstock.com</small>
Become a better writer overnight with this FREE eBook
- Find daily inspiration
- Improve your writing overnight
- Get started, even when you don’t feel motivated
- Complete what you start
- Get WTD updates