Whether you own a business with a blog, you’re a freelance writer or a traditional blogger, learning to write a shareable blog post quickly is an essential skill that can be quite lucrative. Even if you’ve never written a post before, knowing how to do so can break down barriers and provide opportunities to guest blog on other sites and grow your business.
Do you know how to create a shareable blog post quickly? Your answer obviously depends on what I mean by ‘quickly.‘ After all, the word is a bit vague. Some people can crank out a post or two every day. For others, like me, it’s a slower process affected by time constraints, professional obligations, and family commitments. So, my definition of the word may be substantially different from yours.
Nonetheless, I would argue most writers would love to increase their output and improve the quality of their posts. That is where the word ‘shareable’ comes into play. Will your articles get the love, attention, and engagement they deserve? Will readers clamor to share your content on social media? If you’re uncertain, consider what you can do to compose more shareable content and increase your writing speed.
Ramp Up Your Productivity
Personally, when I need to produce an article quickly, I use a time management method called the Pomodoro Technique. I avoid ALL distractions and work on my post for twenty-five minutes. Then, I take a five-minute break to perform other tasks. I can answer an email, start a load of laundry, etc. After my break, the process begins again. After completing four rounds, I allow myself a more extended break of thirty minutes to relax, eat a meal or exercise.
This technique is amazingly effective, and I suggest using it throughout the entire process of creating your content.
Perhaps you’re saying, “I’ll just write shorter posts. Then I can produce more in less time.” Well, you can do that. However, your site will not please Google if it’s packed with mini posts. Google will respond by pushing you down the rankings. Better to publish articles of at least 600 words. And audiences share longer articles more often anyway.
Create a Catchy Title
I can’t tell you how many times I have read a strange, unclear, or incredibly long post title and ask, “What was this writer thinking?” Of course, I don’t click on the link because I don’t want to waste my time. That may sound harsh, but it’s hard to take bloggers seriously when they don’t understand or adhere to basic rules.
The title should be a clear statement or question
It should be relatively short – six to ten words is usually plenty
Powerful and emotional words like ‘you’ or ‘free’ or ‘easy’ should be incorporated
Numbered posts and how-to articles typically generate more interest
Chose a Relevant Yet Interesting Image
Another important aspect of a shareable blog post is the image your readers see. You don’t have to break the bank to obtain eye-catching pictures for your content. Plenty of free-to-use sites offer professional photos for you to upload to your blog. Here are a few:
For example, this video was free for me to use in this post.
Use Images, Graphs, or Videos Within Your Post
Readers will likely find your content more appealing if it contains a little visual stimulation. Include a relevant photo from the sites I mentioned above or embed an emotional Tweet or instructional video for impact. People share posts that entertain and provide value.
Make the Words Stand Out (In a Good Way)
Most professional bloggers keep their paragraphs short. They would likely tell you to vary the length of your sentences too. Readers have become accustomed to this style of writing because they’re skimmers. They simply love subheaders and bullet points. So use them.
This brings me to another point. I know it sounds boring, but use a large, standard looking font when you blog. People can’t read tiny words on a mobile device and won’t stay on your post, let alone share it. And if at all possible, use black lettering on white background. You might think this is ho-hum, but you’ll look like a pro. And that will result in social media shares.
Include a Call-to-Action At the End
If a reader makes it all the way through your post, you have kept their interest and provided valuable information. It’s the perfect time to ask them to:
1. Leave a comment about your post
2. Join your email list or Facebook group
3. Follow you on social media
4. Share your post
Don’t ask your audience to complete more than one action. Their time is important, and you’ll likely irritate them if you request too much.
Triple Check for Spelling and Grammar Errors
The following paragraphs contain affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.
Before you publish your content, edit it. Then do it two more times. Go through each paragraph line by line. Does it make the grade? Nothing will ruin the quality of a post like a series of typos. You won’t look professional and neither will your work.
When I began my journey as a blogger, I wanted to hire a proofreader. However, I could not afford one. So, I purchased Grammarly. It is an inexpensive program that edits my posts, Microsoft Word documents, and my emails. I still rely on it to correct my work daily. If you just can’t swing it at this time, ask a trusted friend or family member to review your article.
For Goodness Sake, Include Share Buttons
How can anyone pass along your epic post without share buttons? Don’t make it difficult for your fans to sing your praises. No share buttons translate into little attention or exposure to potential readers or clients. Perish the thought!
Several plugins give writers the ability to place share buttons on their site. After much research, I opted for Social Warfare. This tool has helped my business grow with professional looking buttons that look great on desktop and mobile.
Do you ever get frustrated trying to locate social media share buttons in an article or on a web page that you enjoy? I know I do. Then, of course, I quickly give up the search and move on with my day. Honestly, it’s too bad. That business or publisher lost out on some free exposure all because there were no readily visible icons on their content.
Believe it or not, though, there is some debate amongst experts as to whether sites should even bother with share buttons. Some argue that readers rarely use them on desktop and even less frequently on mobile. It all depends on what type of product or content you produce and whether or not you know how to use share buttons properly.
As a blogger, I can’t imagine marketing my posts without them. However, we all should learn to utilize sharing icons effectively. But what are the best practices? After much research, I discovered 7 expert strategies for using share buttons.
According to Coschedule, the upper left-hand corner of your page is the optimum location for placement. This is because people scan pages in a pattern starting in the upper left area. Buttons should appear ‘above the fold’ when someone clicks on your page or post. Let me explain that; they should be visible immediately without a reader scrolling down first.
As reported in research conducted by Nielsen Norman Group, low numbers offer users negative social proof. Meaning nominal sharing counts may suggest to readers your content is poor quality or weak. Some social sharing tools can hide the number of times a post has been shared until a minimum number is reached. I set my site so the counts aren’t displayed until my posts have been shared at least ten times.
Don’t clutter the screen with too many buttons and overwhelm your viewers. Many big-name blogs and online magazine like Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Social Media Examiner, for example, offer four to six buttons at most. And I’m guessing they’ve done their research on this topic!
Share This recommends you display buttons in order of importance to your target audience. What social channels do your customers prefer? Do they like Twitter more than LinkedIn? If so, put them in that order. And it doesn’t matter if you have an active presence on a particular platform or not. If your clients like it, give them the opportunity to share your content where they want to!
Use standard buttons instead of custom buttons that match the colors and fonts of your website’s theme. This can be difficult for some entrepreneurs to accept because they put a great deal of money and time into branding their business. Then, naturally, they want everything on their site to match. But if buttons blend in with page design, they will become invisible, and readers won’t see or click them. As marketing expert Jeff Bullas states, “Use standard buttons that work.”
Consider adding call-to-action text to your icons. Some social sharing tools allow you to add words to your buttons. Wordstream suggests you merely ask for what you want. Saying, “Pin This” or “Share on Twitter” might be a great way of increasing social metrics. You can try this method and test which strategy works best for your site.
Using a floating share bar makes it easy for readers to click on their favorite icon at any time. Floating buttons scroll with you down the page while you read. The folks at Sprout Social believe this is why floating bars have become so popular. I use them on the left-hand side on desktop and at the bottom of the page on mobile devices.
There is an abundance of choices for entrepreneurs regarding the use and placement of social share buttons on their web pages and blog posts. Hopefully, you will implement a few of the expert tips offered here and grow your business as a result. What do you think? Should your share buttons stand out or blend in with your design? Feel free to comment below.
I think you’ll agree that guest posting for business is one of the most challenging marketing strategies for entrepreneurs to master. If you’re considering entering the world of guest blogging, you probably have trepidations and questions.
How do I start? Is it worth the effort? How can I identify the best guest blogging opportunities?
These are all excellent questions. Smart and successful business professionals are constantly touting the benefits of writing for other quality companies to boost online exposure. But choosing the sites to submit content to can be tricky.
In this post, I’ll give you the low-down on what guest blogging is and how you give yourself a leg up from the start. Guest blogging is, essentially, the process of writing a post for someone else in exchange for publicity and a link (backlink) to your website.
Backlinks have, in the past, been a great method of building an online presence. However, Google no longer likes guest posts whose sole purpose is to rack up links. Guest articles need to be relevant and not stuffed with links to the same site over and over. If your posts get too spammy, your site AND the site hosting your article could be penalized and appear further down the list of a Google search. Not good! So, the moral of the story is to keep it relevant.
Know Who You’re Trying to Reach
First and foremost, understand your target audience. Who do you want to reach? What are the demographics of your ideal client? Once you have identified your niche, only write for sites with the readers in that specific group. You can often find a site’s audience and customer demographics in their media kit.
At this point, it’s time to brainstorm and do a Google search. Think of all the companies, blogs, and online magazines that have a similar target market to that of your business. Ask friends and family to think up a few names as well. You can also search the terms ‘guest post’ or ‘write for us’ or ‘submit your content’ and similar phrases.
Check out your competition. Do they have an ‘as featured in’ or ‘as seen in’ section? If so, voila! You can also perform a reverse image search on Google of each competitor’s profile picture. To accomplish this, right click on their headshot. A menu will appear with the option to search Google for this image. Now you know who they have guest posted for and who you should pursue. Sneaky, huh?
Know the Important Numbers
Most blogging experts recommend you only consider writing for sites with a domain authority (D/A) higher than yours. Some pros, like Brandon Gaille, suggest you should not guest post for anyone with a D/A lower than thirty. Domain authority refers to a search engine ranking score based on a site’s links, age, popularity, and more. All URLs are ranked from one to one hundred; the higher the number, the better. Popular websites like Huffington Post have a score of ninety-eight while new sites will have a score of one.
You should also steer clear of businesses with a spam score of five or greater. Writing for blogs with a high spam score will likely hurt your site’s performance on Google. Both these metrics can be found on Moz Open Site Explorer. You can research up to three sites per day on Moz before you will be required to open a free or paid account with them. Simply type in a company’s URL, and you will get their D/A. Their spam score can be found directly under the D/A.
Know What You Will Get in Return
You should get something beneficial in return for your hard work. After all, there is no monetary compensation for guest posting. Most business owners like you are looking for publicity and exposure to the hosting site’s audience. But, will you get it?
Just because a large or popular company wants you to write an article for them does NOT mean you should. Do they offer you a link to your site? Do they give you a bio before or after the post? How many words do they allow in your bio? Do they link to any of your social media accounts? How many words do they require per post?
You don’t want to put the time and effort into a fabulous post only to hear crickets after it’s published by someone else. And the fact is, you’re not going to get much love if readers don’t have access to your bio, headshot, and link. This is the truth even when you guest blog for a large magazine. Although, with a popular site like Huffington Post, you may get some credit for being able to say you are a ‘Huff Post Contributor.’
Track the Stats
If you’re serious about expanding your guest blogging opportunities, I suggest you make a spreadsheet of potential websites with the following information:
Name and web address – the name and URL of each site
Same target market (as you) – this can be found in their media kit
Contact name and email – usually found under ‘contact us’ or ‘write for us’ sections
Domain authority – the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer
Spam Score – the number is provided by Moz Open Site Explorer
Offers byline/bio – the answer is no or the number of words allowed in your bio
Offers headshot – yes or no
Offers link – the number of backlinks you receive in your post or bio
Offers Social Media Links – the number of your social media accounts linked to your bio
Words per post – sites may provide this in their ‘write for us’ section
By filling out the columns, you will be able to narrow down your top candidates. Some will stand out as the real front-runners. Go after them first. Putting in a little work up front could pay substantial dividends later and keep you from wasting hours every month on a flawed marketing campaign.
What I Decided to Offer
After completing my own research on guest blogging opportunities, I concluded there weren’t enough sites ‘compensating’ writers for their content in a meaningful way. I was shocked at how many big blogs and magazines gave guests almost nothing in return for their work. Further, I was more surprised at the number business owners who were willing to give their work away for almost nothing.
In response, I decided to accept relevant guest posts on my site here. I have been asked to do this repeatedly in the past, but now I feel it’s the right time to open my blog to submissions. I am offering writers a forum to showcase their expertise and help my readers, businesswomen over forty, create thriving companies that improve our world.
I hope you found this post informative and encouraging. Do you have any advice for uncovering quality guest blogging opportunities? If so, tell us about it in the comment section below.
Life is better when we lift each other up.
I'm Jen Monks. A small business strategist, a serial entrepreneur, and a steadfast optimist devoted to helping women over 40 create and grow profitable businesses within a community they love.