By Colleen Patterson
If you’re struggling with engagement and feel like you’re failing to make a impact on your social channels among followers, it may be time to step back and do a quick self-evaluation. Are you making shareable content? Here are three simple questions you can ask yourself to get back in the groove or keep yourself on track — where ever you are along the course of your writing process.
Self-check one: are you living in a bubble?
It may sound cliche but all great writers all start out as hungry readers. They learn form, structure, style, and substance from their favorite writers and consciously or not bring that influence to their own work. They’re also interested. They’re interested in varying perspectives and in learning about the world around them be it through news or literature.
So, if you’re looking to write shareable content the first step is to go back to your roots. As a reader (and writer) what interests you?
Are you tuned in? How do you consume your news? Are you reading feedback from past blog posts for ideas? Do you receive industry updates in your inbox from your favorite experts? Do you check your old ‘sent mail’ for lengthy answers to customer or client question you may have answered recently? What’s going on in your industry? Are you on top of the trends? Do you follow celebrities? Do you follow the National Book Awards or New York Times bestseller list?
If you’re struggling to develop shareable content, you may want to check yourself to see if you’re living in a bubble. Break out of your bubble. Pick an article that spoke to you and respond to it. If it’s perfect by your own estimation, rewrite and add to it.
In other words, tune into your own sources of inspiration. If you’re going to make compelling content, you should personally believe in it.
Self-check two: are you selling your shareable content?
I don’t mean sell in the sense of sales. I’m talking about the pitch. You’ve got to get your audience interested before they commit to read. Reading is a time commitment. We live in a state of constant information overload. Why should your voice win out over all of the other voices competing for digital space against your reader’s busy schedules?
Think of your headline as the pitch or the promise and the article as its final delivery. It may be that your content is shareable content but you keep selling yourself short with unimaginative tweets that accompany the link.
I can empathize. You poured hours of energy into crafting your post. By the time you get to the “schedule” phase of your process, you’re done. Only, no you’re not. It doesn’t make sense that you would work hard to create a piece of content only to fail to share it effectively and condemn it to never reaching an audience.
Take the headline seriously: test. Here’s a simple tactic which is very easy to perform and scientifically proven to affect results. Write two different headlines for the same post, taking note of the variance, and share your article twice, once with each headline.
You know what I’m getting at! It’s called an A/B test. Okay, so, assuming that Twitter is the platform of choice, tweet out the article once in the morning and then again, a few hours later. Compare the engagement you received on each post.
How do we know that the time of day isn’t responsible for any difference in engagement? Tweeting the two posts within a small time frame is an attempt to constrain the affect the time. Here’s what you can do. Tweet out the article again, after a week has passed again with the two different headlines, but switch the time at which you tweet them. Then compare!
Unfortunately, you may not have a very large follower count in which case it’ll be hard to take the date you gather as the be all answer.
The point of this exercise, in that case, is to drive you toward thinking about your headlines and allocating resources enough that your social shares win your articles the readers it deserves.
Self-check three: have you asked for feedback?
You’ve asked yourself the question of “what interests me” to generate shareable content ideas. You’ve been inspired. You’ve put effort into promoting the post. What’s missing? Ah! Have you asked your followers out right if you’re on the right track?
You know that you’re interested but are they interested? If they aren’t interested in your work, you have two options. You can shift your focus toward their topics of choice or you can try to get your work in front of an audience that is more closely aligned with your taste and personal brand. Hmmm.
Your audience will find you if you stick to your guns. In the meantime, ask your current fans what is working for them and what isn’t.
Ask via Facebook groups and Quora, within the comments of the post after you share it to social. Ideally, you’d also spend time before you write a post, to ask your readers directly for shareable content ideas.
And take their feedback in stride! You are the expert after all. I know that your blog posts are close to your heart because you spend so much time with them, but a little outside input will guide you toward shareable content improvements you never would have arrived at by yourself.
For more inspiration and guidance on brand awareness campaigns, check out these posts:
- This is the Single Best Way to Drive Audience Growth through Influencers
- 3 Ways to Drive Your Online Customers In-store
- How Do I Choose the Right Influencer for my Business?
Plus, give Muses a try and let us know if it helped you successfully choose the influencer for your latest campaign. We’d love the feedback.