Even when you have quality content, building and expanding your audience can be a challenge.
While social media sites and forums can help you expand your audience base, they can only do so if they’re used correctly.
To garner the most success from these sites, it’s imperative that you make sure you’re creating posts that entice new readers and encourage sharing among your current audience. You also want to avoid making these four mistakes that can prevent your content from catching your audience’s attention.
1. You Don’t Have a Call to Action
Earlier this year I received a letter alerting us that our largest competitor was making plans to buy out a third-party service. This move would severely limit our business and impact each employee’s job. While I was reasonably upset over the matter, I still ended up tossing the letter.
Rather than giving us a way to alter this arrangement, it simply stated the problem with no form of resolution. The letter writer forgot to add a call to action, which essentially made the letter fire kindling.
Don’t make this mistake with your blog. Your content should have a purpose. Whether that purpose is to start a conversation or to get readers to take action, make sure the purpose is clear and succinct. Relay that message to your readers at the end of the article. Give your audience a specific way to take action or get involved. Without a message, your content is just white noise.
2. Your Site is Unreadable
The Internet revolutionized the way the public finds information. Gone are the days of black and white blocks of text against a dirty white background. In fact, paragraph length online is often shorter than in print to increase readability. Instead, readers prefer a clean, minimalist layout.
Short, concise sentences in powerful paragraphs make content both readable and shareable. Give in to your audience’s tendency to skim content by providing subheadings that quickly sum up the key points.
Quit trying to pack every ounce of space with content or graphics. Leave white space. Allowing readers to skim the article to determine whether the content is valuable enough to read will increase the amount of audience members getting your full message.
3. Your Content is Stale
While evergreen writing has its place, refusing to address up and coming news in a meaningful way will leave your audience looking elsewhere for an expert in your field.
Playing it safe with your content doesn’t present new viewpoints or ideas to readers, and they’ll quickly lose interest in the same old information being posted on hundreds of sites.
Stale content isn’t just bad for readership, it’s bad for SEO. Google and other search engines are always crawling for new, up-to-date content to present to users. Posting outdated or evergreen posts does not rank highly when it’s up against new updates and news.
Fight the creation of stale content by signing up for a service like Google Alerts to get up-to-date news in your inbox every day.
Your content shouldn’t just present news, though; it should also provide a point of view readers can’t find elsewhere. When creating evergreen content, don’t let it languish. Update your content periodically with new developments. Keep content fresh to make your posts shareable.
4. Your Headlines Are Boring
According to a report by Outsell, 44% of Google News readers simply read the headlines in favor of accessing individual news sites. Only a small percentage of people reading your headlines through guest posts, social media sites and online searches will actually follow the link and access your site. This means you need to grab as many of those people as possible with a catchy, quirky or controversial headline.
Make headlines snappy and click-able. While traditional numbered lists get big clicks, you should also try a controversial or fake out title, such as the recent viral hit “Marriage isn’t for you“.
Create a few different titles and determine which ones would catch your interest. While incorporating key words is a great way to get bumped up on search engines, a suitable title that evokes emotion or strong reactions with readers may serve better on social media sites.
Minor tweaks to your blog posts can have a big effect on readership. Gaining a small but loyal following with quality content is easy, but expanding that audience through sharing and comments is a challenge without following these tips.
Now that I’ve shared my tips for making content more shareable, what are yours?
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image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianoh11/
About the Author
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.