It’s like Deja Vu.
I’ve had this same conversation with representatives from a Fortune 500 financial services company, with a B2B industrial lighting distributor and several consumer-facing companies like wineries, restaurants, real estate agents and retailers.
It goes like this.
Them: We have a blog. We don’t seem to get any traction. Should we continue writing?
Me: Do you know what your customers care about? Are you creating content that teaches them something, solves a problem, entertains them or provides information about tools or resources that they would care about? Are you creating better than average content? Or leaving it to the intern to create (with little guidance and training)?
I think you see where this is going. In order to create content that people care about and will share with their friends, colleagues or social media connections, you need to proactively produce a superior product.
While “viral” content is a great goal, let’s talk about what’s holding most business blogs back from even getting a few shares in social media for each blog post.
Here are 6 reasons your content won’t get shared (and it absolutely won’t go viral):
In order to help your content spread, you have to reduce the friction of sharing. In other words, make it very easy to share via Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, Pinterest and via email. And no, don’t hide it at the bottom as a tiny button that needs to be expanded to show the real sharing buttons. Put the sharing buttons front and center, so people know where they are and what to do with them.
Headlines are the first things people see when the visit your website or blog. They’re also what people will see if your content is shared in social media. If you don’t intrigue them with your headline, then why should they bother reading on?
If a tree falls in the forest but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Translated into blogging, this is, “If a post is written but there’s no one around to read or share it, was it really written at all?”.
If you don’t “pre-connect” with your audience (and some heavy sharers in your industry), then you haven’t done your homework in terms of blog promotion. And if you’re connected, you need to share your own content. If you don’t find it worth sharing, why would someone else?
I have nothing against you, your company, your products, the benefits of your products, the different colors you offer, your financing plans, your client case studies, your demos or your company events. It’s just that it’s not that interesting for me as a reader. Think about what your prospective customers care about and provide some of that instead! See my blogging course to learn several ways that I create customer-focused content that hooks readers and improves “share-ability”.
Blog posts that are produced as “check the box” activities will never be exceptional. If you treat more of your blog posts like an individual works of art versus creating just “content widgets” that roll out of a blog post production factory, you’ll get a hugely different reception to your posts.
In fact, I would argue that “artisanal posts” (exceptional, time-intensive and very valuable) get infinitely more sharing than factory posts (dull, rehashed truisms, not very valuable). In other words, an inspired piece of content can get hundreds or thousands of shares while an uninspired one can get zero.
Every content creator starts off producing average (or below average) content. Get over that fact.
You have to produce enough content, get enough feedback, see what people respond to and find your own voice…and that requires that you put in some time.