One of my ‘favourite’ SEO strategies has always been ‘link baiting’. Essentially this means writing an article to be eye catching and entertaining enough that people will want to share it, so that then when they read it on your site they’ll be more likely to want to post it on their own websites or on forums. This was a strategy that was around before social media marketing existed in a big way, and one that allowed for a piece of writing to go ‘viral’ before the days of Facebook or Twitter. Fast forward a few years though and I’d argue that many of the social network marketers could stand to learn a thing from the technique.
The point is that too many people think that having a big network of contacts on a social mediaite is enough to ensure that their content will spread. The strategy for many of them it seems is to simply develop a large number of ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ and then to just share everything they create and hope for the best.
The problem is that not ‘everything’ is well suited to that kind of viral sharing, and like the link bait articles that SEO gurus use, a better strategy would be to devise articles from the outset that will be more likely to get shared. Here we will look at how to do that…
Write Articles With an Emotional Hook
The first thing you need to do if you hope for your article links to spread quickly is to give them some kind of emotional resonance. If someone reads your article and they come away thinking ‘wow’ or even feeling angry, then they will be more likely to share, comment or interact with that content in some way.
Write Articles With a Catchy Title
For someone to share your article they first need to read it, and the only weapon you have at your disposal as far as that’s concerned is the strength of your title. While you could write an entire article just one that, the tenets you should follow are to make your title descriptive of your article so that people know what it’s going to be about, to make it engaging in some way (again by making it emotional, or by asking a question or making a statement) and to use hyperbole (the ‘ultimate’ list, not ‘a very good’ list).
Have Your Audience in Mind
If you were developing a product as a business then you would first make a point of carrying out market research to make sure that there were people out there willing to pay for a product like yours. Think of your articles then as products, and make sure you’ve thought about who will actually be reading your article. Of course the larger your audience, and the more connected that demographic, the better chance of spreading your article will have.
Write Articles That Are Easy to Skim
People have short attention spans and in the world of social media this is exacerbated – when we check Facebook it’s normally a distraction so we don’t have time to sit down and read pages and pages of text. Make sure then that your articles are easy to skim through and that you use headers and bullet points so that people can quickly glance over your pieces and get drawn in.