Why Isn’t My Content Getting Shared More?
The amount of effort you put into a published piece of content does not always correlate to the amount of social shares it ends up getting. It can get frustrating; you put a lot of time and effort in, just to find a small or nonexistent audience.
Never fear, Eric and Mark are here to not only tell you why your content isn’t getting shared, but how to turn it all around and become a content marketing machine.
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Eric: It’s frustrating. You pour heart, mind, and soul into a piece of content, hit publish, and hardly anyone shares it. Wondering why that keeps happening? Here’s why!
Eric: Mark, is it true that most content doesn’t get many social media shares?
Mark: It is true, Eric, and now we have the numbers to prove it. A recent study by Buzzsumo and Moz showed that 50% of content gets less than 11 Twitter shares. And the vast majority of content published gets no shares at all.
Eric: But is the number of social shares always the best measure of the success of a piece of content?
Mark: No, not at all. Content can still be successful without social shares; it just depends on your goals for the content and how you market that content. For example, you might drive significant traffic to a post from your email newsletter.
Also, some content on your site may not be the kind of thing that people jump to share with their friends, but still have great value in helping your prospects along the journey to becoming customers. But at the end of the day, most of us are creating at least some of our content in the hope that it will increase our audience and exposure, and social shares can be a significant way to do that. So if you’re getting little or no shares for your content, it can get frustrating.
Eric: So why isn’t most content getting significant social sharing?
Mark: My friend Russ Jones over at MOZ did an analysis of what he calls “million dollar content.” This is content that gets traffic that would cost a million dollars or more to obtain through pay per click ads, despite residing on sites with relatively low authority. As part of that study, which you can read at the link on your screen now, Russ asked me to analyze the social shares leading to such content.
I found that in the content in Russ’s sample group, 45% had no social shares at all, and 66% had fewer than 300 shares. This confirms that content can be successful without social sharing. But I did find that a significant number of the highest performing content pieces in the group had a high number of social shares, and it’s interesting that many of these were on the lowest domain authority sites in the group.
Eric: So what were some of the common characteristics of those content pieces that were highly shared?
Mark: One factor was having content elements that are highly optimized to appeal to a certain audience, or even the typical audience of a particular platform. For example, a post at stayglam dot com about creative nail designs contained 80 bright images like the one you’re seeing right now. Those images are exactly the kind of thing Pinterest users love to share: beautiful, colorful, arresting images having to do with fashion. So not surprisingly, the post has nearly one million shares on Pinterest. And by the way, the post itself had no social sharing buttons!
This shows that when content is very appealing to an audience and evokes an experience they want to share with others, people will go out of their way to share it. Another content type that tends to get more shared is “how to” content. A study by Hubspot found that content with the word “how” in its title is among the most shared on Twitter. Here’s a great example, an article on how to get rid of pimples. A lot of people search for solutions to that problem, so it’s not surprising that there is a ton of content out there trying to answer the need. But this particular piece stands out because it goes above and beyond to be the best, and most shareable, answer. For example, they included some useful and visually appealing info graphics. And once again, this is an example of a post people found so useful and informative that they went out of their way to share it.
Like the nail design post, this one also had no social sharing buttons, yet it got over 73 thousand shares. And sometimes, content can earn shares just by being highly useful, or providing a resource people need, even if it has no visual appeal whatsoever. A study commissioned by the New York Times showed that people share more when content has entertainment value, or helps them define themselves to their friends, or helps them build relationships and alliances, or gives them a sense of self-fulfillment. Quotations fulfill all four of those needs. This page has almost no visual appeal. It’s just a long list of inspirational quotes. But a lot of people recognized it as a cool resource for something they like, and so it gained over 15 thousand shares.
Eric: So what is the bottom line for sharable content?
Mark: First, you have to accept that not every content piece is going to go viral on social media, and as I said earlier, not every piece needs to do that to be considered successful. But we’re seeing that posts that do get highly shared tend to have one or more of the following characteristics:
First, they may contain elements that appeal highly to a particular audience or platform.
Second, they may be highly useful, providing the best answer to a question many people ask. Finally, they may speak to very basic human needs that help bring people together in social groups.
Eric: Thanks, Mark. OK content creators, your job now is to decide whether social shares is a worthwhile or even necessary goal for your content, and if it is, then to build the best possible content that addresses the areas Mark just shared with you. And if you found this content useful, then what should you do? Oh, I know! You should share it with others! And thanks for doing that.
Mark: And be sure to join us for the next episode of Here’s Why, for part two of this series. I’ll explain why your content isn’t getting more links. See you then!