We all fight for attention online. We jump up and down and flail our arms to get our connections to pay attention to our content. But we not only want them to read our content, we want them to spread it. We long for retweets, likes, and shares. So, we post what we perceive to be interesting information and we do it regularly. But nothing happens. We get a “like” or “RT” sporadically but we want more. Our posts fall on deaf ears (aka disengaged connections).
To our credit, this is not an easy task. The amount of information online is immeasurable and the number of people posting is booming. We are all becoming sources of content (bloggers, vloggers, curators, etc.). So, why is it that some of us post content that gets shared while the rest of us are left scratching our heads? The answer: the content you post needs to be optimized for sharing.
Sharable content is both valuable (relevant and helpful) and snackable (quickly digestible).
What you post and the presentation of your content makes a difference. You can have the finest content but no one wants to take the time to read it. You can also have bite-sized content that just isn’t useful. Content that is optimized for sharing avoids both blunders.
How to Make Your Content Valuable
If your content is not relevant to your connections, they find it useless. Or worse, they find it annoying. You need to ensure that your content has context.
Change your perspective and put yourself in your connections’ shoes. Before you post anything, consider the following questions:
Does my content solve a problem that my connections experience?
Does my content answer a question that my connections contemplate?
- Is my content on a topic that my connections care about?
If you can’t answer “yes” to any of the above questions, reconsider your post. Posting for the sake of posting is like carrying water to the ocean.
How to Make Your Content Snackable
Less is more. Think 100 calorie packs. Your connections need to digest your content in a matter of seconds. Take your content and break it up into small chunks.
Consider the following types of bite-sized content.
Quotes: People love to share quotes because they are consumed in a matter of seconds and take no time to vet.
Blogs: Keep blog entries around 500 words and highlight your key takeaways. Like this!
Videos: Videos that are longer than 60-90 seconds are too long. Keep it short and punchy.
Pictures: Include images in your posts because they increase engagement and require little effort to comprehend.
Inforgraphics: Consider altering your dense research reports into visually appealing and easily understandable infographics.
- Summarize Articles: When you post an article, list the highlights in your description. Make it easy on your connections to decide if it’s worth reading or sharing. Be concise.
Have you ever received an email that reads more like a fictional short story? It hits your inbox and you stare at the paragraphs of endless text and wish you could get to the point? Think about the content you share online the same way. You have a few seconds to get to the point. It’s a wild content jungle out there. If you don’t get to the point, someone else will.
Kevin Nichols is a thought-leader with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. Follow him on twitter @KevinANichols www.Oechsil.com