As we’ve said a billion times or so, content is powerful.
It’s an evergreen happiness machine that keeps giving you fresh customers.
You can use it to grow your business tenfold, while spending literally zero on advertising.
There’s a catch, though. Although it’s vital to create wonderful content and promote it, there’s another element you need. To deliver great results, your content needs to be shared.
As you must have discovered by now, making people share your stuff is hard.
Today we’re going to look at five hacks you can apply to make sure your content gets around (in a good way).
They won’t necessarily make it more shareable – but they will make people more eager to spread your message, all thanks to the power of persuasion.
1. Samuel L. Jackson marketing hack
This is a neat trick, created and used by the founder of App Sumo, Noah Kagan. Use it to make sure that people forward your newsletters or blog posts to their friends.
Here’s the gist: people are lazy.
Even when they want to email cool stuff to their friends, here’s what is stopping them:
- They have to click “Forward”, or click the email icon under a blog post.
- They need to write the appropriate subject line.
- They need to write a few words, lest their friend thinks they are spamming them.
Not much effort, right? But it’s just enough to make them say, “Nah, I’ll do it later”...
…and then they’ll forget altogether.
To implement the hack, you need to do all the work for them – just create a special URL with a pre-populated subject line and message body.
That way, the only action left to take is click the link, and then hit “Send”. Easy!
For example, if you wanted to forward this blog post to a friend, here’s how it would look with the Samuel L. Jackson hack (click here to see it in action).
To make your own special email link, you can use this handy tool.
Note: if you want to boost your shares on any social medium and reach new people, the fundamental principle of this hack still applies. Make it super-easy for people.
For example – you see tweetable quotes in articles and blog posts all the time. By pre-selecting some quotes for tweeting, the website:
- Controls the message they project into the world.
- Boosts their Twitter shares.
- Makes life easy for lazy readers!
2. Reward people for sharing
Research shows that people share things on social media mostly for (you guessed it) selfish reasons. And so not everything is inherently shareable.
Sure, someone might tweet about buying a book from Amazon, because the title sounds smart, and they want to appear intelligent to their followers.
But the same logic might short-circuit if you’re asking them to share something you’ve made and need to promote. Your request inevitably collides with age-old “What’s in it for me?” question.
If there’s an additional incentive to sharing, you can entice way more people to spread your message. Promise them a discount, or an exclusive freebie they can’t get by different means, or some other form of “special treatment”.
Have you ever seen “pay with a tweet” buttons on blog posts and other articles – or pop-ups on eCommerce sites asking you to share a product page in exchange for a discount?
Now you know why these are there! Quite simply, they work.
3. Do mini-giveaways
As we discussed before, giveaways are a crazy powerful tool for growing your business.
What few people realize, they also make for a wonderful sharing incentive. In fact, they’re *much* better than regular rewards for social shares! Here’s why:
Reason 1. As outlined in hack #2, everyone can get something when they spread the word.
But with a giveaway, only a few lucky winners do. Counter-intuitively, this makes sharing more attractive to people, because there’s scarcity involved. And everyone believes they’ll be the lucky special snowflake!
Reason 2. Competition and prizes make sharing seem like a no-brainer, because it seems a lot more valuable, and so – worth going to all the trouble!
Come on, who doesn’t want to win a great prize just by sharing something on social media?
Note: if you want people to share your content and incentivize them with a giveaway, do it with the content that is already very engaging.
That way, you will 100x its popularity and get a gigantic return on your investment in terms of new subscribers and customers. Just boosting a mediocre piece of content would never be as effective.
4. Reach out to influencers
People with existing audiences are a powerful promotional channel for your message. They already have tens of thousands of followers listening – if you can get them to share your content, you’ll reach a huge new audience.
Don’t reach out to just everybody, though. Your content needs to meet at least one (preferably both) of these requirements:
- It needs to be interesting to the influencer (e.g. don’t try to get a celebrity to tweet your post on software engineering – won’t happen).
- It needs to mention the influencer you’re trying to reach.
For example: if you have a piece of content about SEO, and you mention the influencer saying “So-and-So is the god of SEO!” – there’s no way they aren’t sharing it!
5. Get your content re-published offsite
If you have content that’s already done well, you can squeeze even more mileage out of it by getting a popular blog to reprint it. It’s not as tough as it sounds!
Right now you might think, “Why would sites like Lifehacker or Huffington Post want my content?”
Those websites need good content, and they need it all the time. Every other person wants their stuff to get published on Lifehack or Huffington Post, but 9 out of 10 times it’s new stuff.
New material is great, of course – but it’s also unpredictable. How much views will it get? How many shares will it pull? With proven material, those sites don’t have to worry. So… if you’re an editor, which do you think you would choose?
If you can prove that a piece of content is successful, they’d be more than happy to re-publish it with your website link in your author bio. Counter-intuitive but true!
Increased social shares mean more subscribers, customers, and opportunities for your business. We hope you enjoyed our list of hacks – and that starting today, your content will get around a lot more. Good luck!