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7 Tips for Creating Posts That Will Spread on Social Media

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Last week, I wrote about the process of how I create a blog post from idea to promotion. Today, we’re going to focus in on what it takes for a post to achieve one specific goal: getting lots of shares on social media. If you want a post that is going to spread like wildfire, you have to consider the following when creating your content to ensure that your post will be given extra social media love.

1. Write something that everyone can follow.

Your first goal in creating a post that has the potential to go viral on social media is to make the content easily consumable by the largest audience possible. This means you need to cater to beginners, intermediate, and advanced level readers in your industry – all in the same post!

If your post is a tutorial, for example, you need to write it in a way that someone new to the process could get started easily with your directions while also including tips and tricks that people who are familiar with the process might not have learned yet.

Content that goes viral does so for a reason – because everyone who comes in contact with it loves it enough to keep the spread happening. Try to ensure that your content will touch base with every reader possible!

2. Make sure your post is complete.

You’ve seen them – the kinds of posts where, after you’ve read it, your next goal was to find out more information. You probably didn’t think to share the post – you just went in search of more details.

This is where the little 300 word, made for SEO posts generally fail. They’re generally too simplistic to the point that they don’t actually give the reader everything they need to be satisfied.

You want your post to be the full guide. You want it to answer everyone’s question before they even get a chance to ask it. You want it to be something that others will think of sharing when someone asks them about that topic. You want it to be memorable.

3. Bring a new concept to life, or tackle it from a different angle.

It’s tough, I know. Most industries are over saturated with content to the point that it doesn’t feel like there is anything new left to offer. But I assure you, there is.

Social media ROI is one of those topics. Everyone writes about it, or so it seems. I read through a lot of posts on the subject, and I came to the conclusion that most posts out there either said it was impossible to determine or only gave you half the steps to start measuring it.

So I wrote what I felt no one else had – a post on how to measure as much of it as you can using Google Analytics. I also kept points #1 and #2 in mind, and voila – with some nice promotional (see killer awesome post promotion process) in two weeks it amassed 1,100+ tweets, 500+ likes, 2,600+ stumbles, 350+ shares on LinkedIn, and at least 100 comments (not counting my author responses) which is not too shabby I’d say.

4. Focus on the network you are targeting.

What if your goal isn’t to have widespread social media coverage, but to do well on one particular social network? Maybe you just want a ton of tweets, a lot of shares, or simply to hit the front page of Digg or a similar network. The key in this case is to keep the above two tips in mind and write your post on that network.

If you enter a contest where the winner is based on the number of tweets, then your task is simple – write a great post on Twitter. Your goal, again, is to keep in mind previously mentioned points #1 – #3. If you have a post that everyone on Twitter can benefit from, that is thorough, and has some unique aspects to it, you can almost be certain that, with the right amount of promotion, that post will make retweet history!

5. Create a mega-list.

While there are definitely some list-haters out there, the consensus is that if you create an awesome list, you’re going to get a lot of awesome social shares. The key to lists, of course, is to make them unique and include lots of valuable information that others don’t.

When it comes to top blog lists, don’t just say “here’s 50 blogs I like” and list them in bullet points. Write a nice description of them, and even include a link to a few of their latest posts. The latter point is key – linking to a blogger’s latest posts will send many of them a trackback which alerts them to the fact they were listed. Sharing at that point takes care of itself – if you have 20 people in a list, most of them will be happy to spread the word that they’ve been recognized for their blogging accomplishments.

If your list doesn’t involve blog posts and track backs, your next goal once it goes live is to make sure everyone on the list knows about it. I prefer tagging people in a Facebook update, tweeting them, or emailing them, depending on our relationship. You can also do tweets like the following.

Check out the Top 10 Twitter Apps including @HootSuite @BufferApp @TweetDeck @CoTweet @Bitly http://bit.ly/q5u1Qr

These will alert individuals and/or brands to the fact that they have been listed so that they will hopefully give you some love from their social accounts as well. It’s a win for them as it shows their audience that others love writing about them, and a win for you because brands especially tend to have large audiences.

6. Publish on a site that is social-sharing friendly.

The last major key for having a socially viral post is to simply publish it on a site that is social share friendly. If that is your site, you must add social sharing buttons to your blog template, either through a WordPress plugin, add-on like Add This, or inserting the individual buttons into your blog’s template files.

If you’re not posting your content on your own site, be sure that your target site has social sharing buttons. I publish on a wide range of sites, and the social sharing of those posts can be almost directly linked to the site’s chosen social sharing buttons. Posts I do on sites that only have Twitter and Facebook buttons only get tweets and likes, posts I do on sites with the StumbleUpon button usually get stumbled, and posts on sites with no sharing buttons usually get minimal social shares (but those also tend to get a lot of comments, so there is a trade off).

7. Format your post beautifully.

Last, but not least, is the overall visual presentation of your blog post. If your post is just one big glob of text with no headers, it loses the scanability that readers (and especially social-sharers) love. If it’s on a site that is covered in ads (think the large, ugly Adsense ads below post headers), then people might not even make it to your content.

Just like people aren’t likely to share an ugly photograph (unless it’s a post about the top 10 ugliest animals in the world), they are just as unlikely to share an ugly post. Even if the site isn’t fancy, a clean layout that puts the emphasis on the content (where emphasis belongs) will help in ensuring more social shares for that content.

Have you ever had a post go viral on social media? What additional tips would you add for creating posts that go wild on social media?

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Comments

  1. Great post with some really good points. I will try these action items on my next blog post!

  2. My posts (on a third party website) get likes and tweets but rarely do readers hit Stumbleupon. Could it have something to do with the demographic and the site itself (mental health professionals)? Or because Twitter and Facebook are just better known and make sharing so easy? I admit, when I read a blog I rarely hit Stumbleupon either.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Sometimes it has to do with topic Brad, although I have seen interesting psychology-related articles on StumbleUpon. If you can get ahold of some interesting statistics and a good designer, try doing an infographic about mental health, personality facts, etc. Those go a long way with the Stumble community. Also be sure you have the official Stumble badge on your site!

  3. What plugin is Income Diary using in the left sidebar?

  4. Geoffrey Gordon says:

    Marvelous Article Kristi Hines !

    I love points 1 and 5, I will definitely give those two a try. And point number 7 is one which really makes a lot of blog posts go down the tube. Blog Post really have to be special, remarkable and helping the reader solve a problem they’re struggling with.

    As an additional idea I would like to add the pain and solution syndrome as a compelling blog post. Reaffirm readers fears and show them a possible solutions and then call them to action.

    Great ideas, thanks for sharing.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Finding your audience’s pain points and solving them in posts definitely helps a post in social media Geoffrey. Many of my posts simply come from the questions I get asked via Twitter and email. 🙂

  5. Joshua Zamora says:

    Great post Kristi! One more thing is to be active on Fcebook and/or twitter.

    The more you connect with people and share their content the more they will reciprocate.

  6. Hi Kristi
    Great post, very informative as usual.
    I never thought of Facebook for longer posts, I always assumed the idea was to short and sweet. Obviously I must get more into social media!Dee

    • Kristi Hines says:

      There’s a lot of people who say they’re not a fan of longer posts, yet many sites that do articles of 1,000+ words do really good in the social sharing department Dee. 🙂

  7. Brendon Held says:

    I really love your articles Kristi! I have yet to have a post go viral, but I am definitely working on it… 😉 One thing I think worth mentioning, and an area I need to work on myself, is to have a few key connections on the various networks who are power users, who can give your posts an initial boost, especially if you don’t have a large following of your own yet.

    BTW: Well done on that article of yours on tracking social media. Those numbers very impressive!

  8. Great post, gave me some insight on how I can change a few things on my blog.

  9. fazal mayar says:

    thanks kristi for giving us tips on how to go viral with our posts . 🙂

  10. Mary | Alistblogmarketing says:

    This post is really helpful!

    I’m wondering whether one thing in this mix might be to have well-branded media channels – as well as your blog. I mean, if you have a strong presence on FB or Twitter or YouTube, then the sharing would happen from your blog post, but also from your Social Media Channels.

    What is your sense of this?
    – mary

  11. Kopano Baitse says:

    Great post Kristi.Very helpful.

  12. Harleena Singh says:

    Great post Kristi with very important tips!

    I totally agree with your points 1 and 2- that is to write posts that everyone can follow with ease, and to write complete posts. However, I have come across most of the posts, which are 300+ words, and hardly explain anything much, instead look rather incomplete, and we need to look up more information about the topic if need be. Yet, such posts are what 90% of the people do write and it is acceptable by Google as well!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Azam@Kay Jewelers says:

      Harleena such (seemingly incomplete) posts might be acceptable by Google but I’m sure they fail to produce any enviable results. I think in order to get desired results a post must be complete as well as concise.

  13. Brian Clapp says:

    Kristi – great advice. I wrote an article that ended up going socially viral and currently has over 12,000 likes and 250 tweets!

    My big takeaway was to write about something your target audience feels passionately about. In my niche, Hockey fans tend to be the most loyal to their sport, so I wrote an article about how “Hockey Players were tougher than Baseball Players” and gave 10 comparison stories: http://www.sportstvjobs.com/resources/hockey-players-are-tough.html

    I liked the article but was shocked and amazed by just how much traction it got in social media. Ultimately my big surprise is that it resulted in just a few $$. I think my greatest benefit was the many links it received, but I was very surprised it didn’t result in more conversions.

    I’m new to this game and read your stuff constantly to learn more, if I’m doing something wrong on the income side, I’d love advice/giudance

    Brian Clapp
    Founder, SportsTVJobs.com

  14. givejonadollar.com says:

    Took a lot of good points from this article and bookmarked it. Thanks Kristi. 😉

  15. Susan Klopfer says:

    Tried one of these techniques, by just simply changing the headline. Much, much better results. Great article. Very clear and very helpful. Will share with others.

  16. Kristi,
    Great advice here. I also notice that when I mention people in my tweets they tend to RT. I think that one thing all of your suggestions have in common is focusing on providing value to the reader. If the post provides useful information people will be motivated to share with others they feel can benefit from the information.

  17. Azam@Kay Jewelers says:

    Kristi you have always been very thoughtful in your writings that contain valuable advice. I’ll certainly try the tips you have provided in this post and hope this will improve my results. Thanks a lot for sharing your learning.

  18. Hi Kristi,
    I’m a Christian blogger with the primary goal of sharing the love of Jesus and encouraging fellow Christians. Though my primary motivation is not making money, I did find some helpful tips here to increase the reach of my blog. God bless you!

  19. health is wealth says:

    I have a hard time convincing others to like my post maybe because I am not a good writer.

    Thanks for this post I learned something.