One sad truth that you’ll find in content marketing is that quality does not always equal extra social shares. In theory quality content should be getting shared at a faster rate, and while this may be true overall, quality content is only a piece of the puzzle. In other words, quality content is a must, but it’s not enough if social shares are what you’re after. Now that social media is becoming more and more important for content marketers looking to grab the attention of their target audience, it’s important to understand what types of content get shared most and how you can begin creating that type of content while still publishing quality.

Understanding Shareable Content Characteristics

Shareable content refers not only to earning more social shares, but also earning backlinks that point directly to your article for more information, word-of-mouth shares, and links and mentions found on review sites or forums. No matter how your content is being shared, it’s going to help you in the long run start to develop some of that authority that is so important for SEO and online success.

Below are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the characteristics of shareable content in general:

  1. Headlines that make a connection.

If you’re not testing your headlines yet then you should be. Headlines are one of the most important factors in getting people to click on your article, but they are also important when it comes to sharing. People want to share something that others will find interesting (hence the reason to share), and those sharing know as well as you do that a headline is what gets people to click. Consider testing your headlines through Twitter, which you can learn more about here, to see which headlines are getting the most social attention. If you find that one headline gets more tweets than another, then use that headline to keep the shares going. This same type of test—publishing the same article with two headlines an hour apart and seeing which gets more shares—can be applied to almost also social networks.

In an article from Uberflip, they mentioned that Buffer found that these tests almost always showed that they more “human” headlines did better. In other words, they found that headlines focusing on human topics as well as headlines that used words like “You” were more successful. You may find something similar, so this is a good place to start.

  1. Include a clear CTA.

A call to action, or CTA, can help someone know exactly what you want him/her to do, so it takes the mystery (or for some confusion) out of it all. It helps people know what they can learn and helps encourage conversation and yes, sharing. Adding a question at the end of an article, for example, can help people want to share your content to see what their peers might think. It helps give reader their next step.

  1. Talk to your target audience.

If you don’t know what content your audience will want to share, ask them. I recommend using tools such as Google Consumer Surveys to get a sample of your target audience to answer questions you may have about the type of content you should write. You should also continue to look at trends in your industry, look at the content your competitors are writing that is getting the most shares, and ask your social networks to keep your research going. Remember that creating shareable content is a fluid process, so you always have to keep your eyes peeled and your ears open when it comes to buzz within your audience.

  1. Analyze your already successful content.

Visit your Google Analytics Content and SEO Reports to see which articles are not only getting the most views, but also getting the most shares. This is a great way to see what your audience is reacting toward so that you can write more content that is similar and then put a shareable spin on that same type of writing. For example, if “How To” articles are working well for your site currently, consider writing more How To articles and testing headlines more frequently, making your CTA more obvious, adding in a video or small interview (discussed in the next section), etc.

As a side note, this will also help give you a baseline for how you’re doing with sharing so that you have something to compare your results with once you start making an effort to create more shareable content.

  1. Don’t forget sharing buttons.

It sounds obvious, but your content won’t get shared on social media nearly as often if you don’t have sharing buttons on the page to make it easy. It’s up to you which sharing buttons you want to make obvious and/or available, so visit here to learn more about your sharing button options and what may work best for your company.

How to Begin Creating More Shareable Content

Creating more shareable content means actually changing the types of content you’re writing. In other words, veering away from the traditional, long-form articles with one image for appeal. Below are some different types of content that are naturally going to be more shareable:

  1. Interviews.
  2. Polls and Surveys.
  3. Infographics.
  4. Extra Screenshots.
  5. Videos.
  6. Reviews and rants.
  7. EBooks.
  8. Podcasts.
  9. SlideShare Presentations.
  10. Quizzes.
  11. Long, Quick Lists.
  12. Research and Original Data.

For even more examples of content that is likely to be shared, visit this article from our sister-site HigherVisibility. This article will also teach you a few tips to take shareable content one step further, such as why you should link back to your website, how you should share your own content, and more.

What Shareable Content Means to Your SEO

If SEO is your main concern at the moment, shareable content should not be something you’re putting on the backburner until your SEO is where you want it to be—quite the contrary in fact. Shareable content is directly related to your SEO success because SEO is becoming more and more about authority and popularity. While optimizing pages with keywords and worrying about the Google bots will help, getting your content shared on social media will help bring people to your pages and ultimately help you earn that popularity in the eyes of Google.

Do you have any tips for creating more shareable content? Let us know in the comments below.