I’m just going to go ahead and say it.
Blogging professionally is hard.
There are so many moving parts, and a myriad of little details to pay attention to, that it’s almost impossible NOT to leave something out.
If only there was a checklist with everything we should do, step-by-step, to get more social shares on our blog posts… that would make the process so much smoother.
Well, as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I’m giving to you today! A checklist, with 6 things you need to do to massively increase your social shares on every blog post you write.
So before you hit that publish button, make sure you cover these 6 steps to ensure that every single blog post you create is perfected to the max, boosts your blog traffic, and gets an insane number of shares.
Ready to start optimizing your blog posts for social shares?
Great! Let’s go…
Step 1: Uncover Share-Worthy Blog Topics
It’s one thing to sit back and imagine what our target audience wants to read from us. It’s another one completely to take the time to survey our audience, and find out exactly what their pain points, struggles, and desires are.
By writing content that addresses those issues head on, our content will strike a chord with our audience, generate more shares, and keep them coming back for more.
Now, when I say survey, I don’t only mean creating a poll and sending it out to your target audience. There are a number of ways you can do your research to find share-worthy content…
Create valuable, evergreen content for your blog posts
Evergreen content, also known as pillar content, is content that’ll be as relevant today as it’ll be in a week, in a month, in a year, or even in 5 or more years to come. This means that if you write a blog post today, and in 3 years I access your blog, that blog post will help me as much as if I had read it the following day you posted it.
Need some ideas of evergreen content you can create? Here are 9 examples of epic, evergreen blog post ideas you can create to boost traffic!
Look at Google Trends
This goes hand in hand with writing valuable, evergreen content. Search terms, like ‘March madness’ and ‘Christmas cookies’ spike during specific months of the year. To ensure that your blog posts are always relevant, and thus shareable, focus on writing content that doesn’t have any peaks or up and down fluctuations throughout the years.
Instead, write content that produces a more linear and steady search result.
Research keywords with the Google Keyword Planner
You need a Google AdWords account (don’t worry, it’s free) to be able to access the Google Keyword Planner. Once in your account, type in the keyword or keywords of the blog post you’re thinking about writing, for instance, ‘blog post’, ‘social media marketing’, and ‘facebook ads’, and the Google Keyword Planner will sort, by order of relevance, other terms related to that search.
You can then include these keywords within your blog post to boost shares, since those are the exact terms your audience uses when searching for this topic on Google.
Start typing your proposed topic in the Google and YouTube search bars
When we start typing something in Google, it automatically suggests a number of search terms, right? Well, those terms are things that are on the forefront of people’s minds, and have a high search rate at the moment.
Since you’re looking for more blog post shares, it’s a good idea to include those exact terms within your blog post, or even dedicate an entire blog post to the topics that pop up.
Pay attention to the questions that are being asked in Facebook groups, Yahoo Answers, Reddit and Quora
By hanging out where your target audience hangs out, you’re not only able to pinpoint the questions they’re asking, but also how they phrase those questions.
When writing your blog post, use the exact terms and phrases that they use, so that when they read your content, they’ll be amazed at how you’re able to get into their head and talk directly to their pain points, struggles, and desires.
Analyze the kind of content that gets most shares
If someone else has written a blog post that has a huge number of social media shares, it’s safe to say that that specific topic resonates with a number of people and, as such, with your target audience.
You can find share-worthy content by using Buzzsumo’s free trial, and typing in what you plan on writing your blog post about, by analyzing Pinterest pins that have the most saves, as well as by simply researching blog posts and videos that have gone viral.
Step 2: Write Irresistible Headlines and Clear Subheadings
Just think about it: if a blog post’s headline doesn’t catch your attention, you’re not going to click it, even if the content inside it is amazing. That’s why you need to create an attention-grabbing headline for your blog post that also includes your keywords.
A handy tool you can use to write better blog post headlines is CoSchedule’s free Blog Post Headline Analyzer. It analyzes the overall structure, grammar and readability of your headline, based on the number of common, uncommon, emotional, and power words that you include, to guarantee that your headline drives more traffic, shares, and search results for your blog.
If you don’t know what power and emotional words to include in your headline, make sure to check out this extensive list with 700+ power words to boost conversions. By adding these words to your headline, you’ll automatically invoke emotion and trigger your target audience’s curiosity.
Once you’ve brainstormed some headline ideas, and decide on a champion, your work isn’t done yet. Make sure you plan out your blog post content before you start writing, so that you can break it down into bite sized pieces. The absolute worst thing for your reader to come across is a huge chunk of text without any divisions.
And that’s where subheadings come in. Writing a blog post for the internet is completely different from writing a novel: we usually have multiple tabs open, and skim through the content on each page. By including subheadings in your blog posts, as well as short paragraphs composed of 5-6 lines maximum, you ensure that they’re easy-to-read and digestible for all readers.
Step 3: Increase Time on Site by Interlinking Your Posts
The more time your target audience spends on your site, the better, both for them and for you. The longer they remain on your site, the greater the chance that they get to know, like, and trust you. When that happens, they’ll likely comment on your blog post, share it with their friends, and keep coming back to your blog whenever you publish new content.
It’s also advantageous for your blog. The more time your readers spend on your site, the better it is for SEO, and the better the content you provide them with, the higher the perceived value your content has. It’s a win win.
Thing is, you can’t just write one great piece of blog content, and expect your readers to never leave. Just like in the last step, when I mentioned that you need to ask for comments and shares point blank, you need to make it easy for your readers to remain on your site.
Within the body of your blog post, link to past blog posts you’ve written that include relevant content. For instance, say that I’ve written an entire blog post on how to maximize your blog’s SEO. This section right here would be a great place to include it.
You can also write blog post series, where each blog post is a stepping stone to achieve an overarching goal. Once your reader completes step one, they don’t have to think twice about clicking over to the next blog post, which includes step two, and so and and so forth.
Another tip is to include complementary video content to your blog posts. Adding a video from YouTube, especially if it comes from your own YouTube channel, is great, since it boosts your content’s perceived value, and because your content will rank higher in search since it can be found both on Google and on YouTube.
Step 4: Incorporate a Content Upgrade
Ideally, your blog posts should include a content upgrade (a lead magnet that is specific to your blog post) because that’s how you’ll grow an e-mail list full of people who are part of your target audience. And guess what? The more people on your e-mail list, the more loyal readers you have who will happily share your posts on social media!
Allow me to explain.
The best content upgrade–be it a worksheet, checklist, table, spreadsheet, free course, or video series–is the logical next step to whatever it is you’re talking about in your blog post. Something insanely valuable that you will give away for free (in exchange for their email address) that’ll make your reader’s life easier, or help them achieve their goals faster.
This will also increase your “know, like and trust factor”, since you’re providing your target audience with valuable content, chock-full of quality. And the more valuable your content is, the more likely your readers are to share it on social media.
Once your target audience becomes a part of your e-mail list, it’s also easier for you to promote any new blog post and piece of content that you create: it’s just an e-mail away! Within that e-mail, you can also add links to the last three blog posts you wrote, in case they missed any of them, as well as include a direct link to share your just-released blog post on social media.
Step 5: Design captivating visual content
Before you hit publish on your blog post, you need to plan out your social strategy to ensure that you get more shares.
Designing captivating visual content doesn’t have to be difficult or take up a lot of your time. You can use a free tool like Canva to create 3-5 Pinterest graphics for each blog post you create, as well as a Facebook image, to make your content more visually appealing and shareable.
Add at least one of these Pinterest graphics you create to the body of the blog post, and remember to schedule or manually share the other ones in all the Pinterest group boards you are a part of.
Use the Facebook image you create to share your blog post in designated weekly threads in the Facebook groups you are in, so that it stands out from a sea of other comments.
Whenever you add an image to your blog posts, remember to add ALT tags to them. This is the information that Google scans when trying to understand what your images are about. Remember, Google doesn’t “read” the image itself, so make sure that you include your blog post’s title and a brief description with your keywords within the ALT tag.
By sharing your blog post on social media platforms with branded images, your blog will become more recognizable to your audience as they peruse Pinterest and Facebook, and see similar-looking images over and over again. As such, when they see something you create appear on their screen, they’ll be more likely to click over to your blog, read your content, and share it with others on social media.
Step 6: Conclude With a Call-to-Action
Imagine a member of your target audience just finished reading an extensive blog post that you wrote. The natural thing for them to think once they reach the bottom of the page is ‘what’s next?’.
Instead of having them wonder “What’s next?”, explicitly state what that is with a call to action. You need to get your target audience to take action so that they get results as soon as possible. (Remember, you wrote that blog post to address your audience’s pain points, struggles and desires.)
This will ensure that they view your content as something that’s valuable and useful, which will thus get more shares.
Don’t be afraid to ask for comments and shares, point blank! Tell your readers to add a comment on what they plan on doing based on what they just read, to add any additional remarks or ideas, or even tell them to come back to your blog post once they’ve set things up to share the results they’ve achieved.
It may sound simple, but by asking those questions and by including a call to action in the concluding remarks, you’ll lift your target audience off the couch and push them over the fence to take action. At the same time, you’ll hear their perspective on the topic, which will give you fresh ideas of new blog post content to create, and you’ll build a loyal relationship with your readers.
We just showed you 6 things you need to do every time you publish a blog post to encourage social sharing. Now you have a powerful system to streamline your blog post creation process, buy back your time, and make your content go viral!
The first step, before you even start writing a new blog post, is to do your research to find share-worthy blog topics.
Once you have your blog post topic set, there are 5 remaining tasks you need to complete before you can go ahead and click publish. You’ll need to: 2) create an attention-grabbing headline and permeate your post with subheadings, 3) interlink your posts to increase time on site, 4) incorporate a content upgrade, 5) design captivating visual content, and 6) include a call-to-action in the concluding remarks.
Just complete these 6 steps for each and every blog post you create, and you’ll see a surge in your blog post shares in no time.
Your turn now: comment below with the step you’re most excited to try out the next time you create a blog post. (See what I just did there? This is Step 6 in action! *wink*)