By Neil Patel
If you’re a content marketer of any type, you know how crucial it is for your blog posts to make a splash.
If you were to look over my shoulder any day of the week, you’d see me checking my social sharing metrics.
Just this morning, I logged in to Buzzsumo to take a look at these numbers:
(This image shows the social sharing metrics for QuickSprout.com over the past year. These are the four pieces of content that received the most social shares.)
Because social sharing matters!
This isn’t some sort of narcissistic kick. This is a data-driven way to see who’s sharing my content, how many shares I’m getting, what platform those shares are on, and why the articles are being shared.
Obviously, it doesn’t matter how much content you’re putting out if nobody’s reading it.
If nobody’s reading it, nobody’s sharing it.
Ultimately, your content must be shared if you want to increase site traffic.
Many marketers spend their days looking at Google Analytics. I do this too. But Google Analytics is only part of the picture.
There’s a fascinating story behind every social share you receive.
If you’re one of the millions of soloprenuers, entrepreneurs, content marketers, growth hackers, or startup marketers in the US struggling to put out engaging content, you’re not alone.
I get it more than anyone.
The web moves fast; trends come and go; and sometimes it’s hard to keep up.
You’ll be happy to learn, however, that there are a few tried-and-true content categories that everyone (your audience, my audience) loves to engage with and share.
In this post, I’m giving you a few of those content categories and diving into ways to discover more for a lasting result.
By the end of this post, you’ll understand why the content you’re sharing may not be getting the same results as other some content does.
You’ll also understand how all this affects share rate and what you can do to turn your situation around.
Here are your new go-to blog post topics. Read each thoroughly, and think about how they can be leveraged on your blog.
1. Productivity hacking
Time is one thing we’ll never have more of—for now, at least.
If I told you I could make your days longer and you’d be able to finish more work, make more calls, etc., you’d be interested, right?
Of course, you would. Time is important.
It makes sense then that we’re attracted to content focused on gaining more time.
In your upcoming blog posts, incorporate interesting productivity tips, whether showing how your product or service increases productivity or sharing which productivity tips and tricks are working for you.
If you’re familiar with Michael Hyatt’s blog, you’ve probably seen this work. Michael Hyatt is a leadership development expert, but he publishes a lot of productivity-related titles.
In fact, when I look back on his blog’s social sharing metrics over the past 12 months, two of his top five are on productivity:
This isn’t an accident. Hyatt knows that productivity topics get shared.
People love sharing practical content that they can vouch for and others can use.
The travel industry is booming for a reason. We love to travel.
Travel is invigorating, relaxing, and educational, and it’s one of the reasons why content focused on travel is so widely shared.
It’s time for you to join the club. Start thinking about what you would want to read.
Depending on the season, you can write about physical locations your audience might search for, say, Jamaica.
If you’re a company that has this information on Jamaica on your blog, take advantage of that. Take control so your blog becomes a frequent destination.
What kind of blogs would benefit from travel-related articles? It might not be that hard to find a connection.
Take ToDoIst for example. They sell a productivity app.
But they blog about travel:
Even a camera maker such as GoPro can get away with publishing some interesting and super shareable travel articles:
Evernote knows that travel is a shareable topic, and its blog features plenty of travel articles:
Give travel a try, fitting it in however you see appropriate, and you’ll likely get some social sharing among an interested audience.
Face it, there are mobs of people out there (myself included) who would love to just wake up with six-pack abs. That’s why there’s always something new to help get you there.
As long as science continues to discover new things, there will be new breakthroughs to talk about—perfect fodder for shareable blog posts!
Blog posts about fitness have historically been one of the most shared genres of content on the web.
Buzzsumo, the social sharing giant, reported this about 2015 content popularity:
Who doesn’t want to get healthier? Health was a popular topic in 2015. Interestingly, three of the most shared posts on BuzzFeed this year were about health, as seen below.
They explain that the viral element of these articles was the topic of the content: health, diet and fitness tips.
Buzzfeed knows a thing or two about shareable content, and they were the clear leader in the socially-shared fitness topics.
A quick search for “buzzfeed fitness” produces over 800,000 results:
There are tons of shares on each one of these.
Depending on your industry, blogging about fitness can work well.
Begin this process by searching Google for the top fitness blogs, and scour them to find out what the fitness industry is talking about. Write a post from this, relate it to your business, and that’s it. Simple.
4. Getting what you want in life
The ability to change outcomes quickly and effectively is a skill mankind has been working on for centuries. Want to increase the share count of your blog posts?
Empower your readers.
Show them how to use confidence to get what they want in their lives, relationships, and careers.
Take advantage of this by writing content that talks about specific topics such as:
- How to get a raise/promotion
- Negotiation techniques
- Relationship tips
- Interview tactics
If spun correctly, these topics will not only be practical and interesting to your readers (i.e., perfect for sharing) but also useful to you: they will introduce you as a thought leader, helping you establish trust with your audience.
And trust, in turn, can produce social sharing.
Some of the major blogs, such as Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Fast Co., and Business Insider, are full of articles like this one:
Feeling that sense of empowerment drives people to share, share, share…
The great thing about topics like these is they can be used on most types of blogs.
The fifth and arguably most successful blog topic is money and finances.
The Internet is chock full of people looking to improve their finances, get out of debt, plan for the future, etc.
James Clear, for example, typically writes about health and productivity, but he knows that money topics will hit a social sharing streak. Take this super-popular article he wrote for Business Insider:
It’s garnered 58K+ shares since it was published!
This is a great topic to blog about, and it’s excellent for highlighting the potential financial benefits your product or service provides. It’s a no-brainer.
But what if you run out of ideas?
What happens when we’ve exhausted these topics next month and we’re back to square one—out of ideas?
At this point, get online and check out forums related to your interests to find out what people are asking and what discussions are viral or trending.
Use the main categories above as a guide (fitness, finance, travel, etc.), and dive into these sub categories on each forum on a more micro level.
For example, let’s say you see on Forum A that “puppies” is trending, and, in particular, many people are talking about “German Shepherd puppies.”
Narrow the focus of your next blog post to include this specific information on German Shepherd puppies, and watch your content take off.
But it’s not always this easy, right? What about when you’re having a rough day writing? Here’s a bonus tip.
In addition to the above, keep what I like to call an “ideas file” handy.
Start with a Google spreadsheet. Every time you come across an interesting idea for your blog, write it down.
Scour the Internet for news, and read other blogs you respect.
These ideas become inspiration for posts down the road. Maintain this file, and I promise you can make your blog more successful.
There are dozens of factors that influence the shareability of your blog posts.
Issues such as the time of posting, time of sharing, style of the title, featured image, author’s authority, keyword presence, etc. are all crucial.
But there’s one thing at the heart of it all: what’s the topic?
If you miss the right topics, the entire blog will be a waste of time and effort.
Not all these topics will work for every blog. I understand that.
Knowing your audience and their interests is your path to ultra-shareability.
Just a few small tweaks to your blog can dramatically improve the rate of sharing of your content.
Spend time researching competitors, writing down your ideas for later use, and keeping your finger on the pulse of the blogs and forums for your topic of interest.
One piece of advice I always leave my clients with is this: Would YOU want to read your blog if you were the customer?
If the answer is no, consider some of the strategies above and let me know how it goes.
Which blog topics work best for you?