Creating content that is shared broadly is a great way to build good PR, whether it’s for yourself, your company or brand, or for others. While there’s no way to predict precisely which posts, pictures, videos or articles will be most popular, there are some basic guidelines to improve the chances of your content’s being shared. Here are five guidelines to consider.
1. Be useful and helpful. The first rule about shareable content is that people share things that make them look good. Social media is a world where people create carefully constructed versions of themselves. Naturally, shareable content is anything that will make people look smart, witty, creative, or expresses a belief that’s an extension of who they are. If your post contributes to those goals, that’s a good start.
2. Create an eye-catching headline. Sometimes ideas for content start with a catchy title, sometimes the title is more of an afterthought. But it should be on your mind when creating content that’s share-worthy. After all, in most cases, only the title and first line of the post is visible anyway, so if those don’t catch readers, nothing will. Grabby headlines tend to include lists (i.e. The Top 5 Ways to Share Content), something witty (try a pun if it works?) or a surprise.
3. Be inspiring. Life can be tough, and everyone needs a reminder once in a while to keep them on the journey towards a goal or dream they’ve been harboring, whether in business or personal life. Share content that helps others see the bigger picture, remember what they’re working towards, and be a better version of themselves.
4. Let your personality shine. Readers want to feel a connection with the content they’re reading, so writing with a strong individual voice—even in business, to a degree—helps create that emotional bond. We’re producing a content program for one client that includes frequent blog posts. SEO is the goal for them, so that’s top of mind for us as we’re writing, but at the outset we were (wisely) told by our client, “I won’t publish anything that doesn’t sound like a real human being wrote it.”
5. Be classy. Ever been advised not to put anything in a work email you wouldn’t want broadcast publicly? The same goes for whatever you publish via social media. It can be tempting to put less thought into a 140-character tweet before hitting the publish button, plus you know you can always delete it later, but it doesn’t take long for real damage to be done.
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Michelle Han is a senior account supervisor at Crenshaw Communications. A version of this article originally appeared on Crenshaw’s PR Fish Bowl blog.