Shareability As a Content Marketing Strategy

By Stephanie Diamond

One battle cry that can be heard throughout marketing departments today is the notion that sharing content should be everyone’s job. It used to be that only customer-facing employees were encouraged to share. Now everyone across all departments is expected to help the company gain a wider audience.

Understanding sharing patterns

There are two immediate ways for you to make content sharing a company-wide endeavor:

  • Focus some attention on your “employee channel.” A new term has cropped up — the employee channel — which refers to the pipeline of company content that you supply to your employees so that they can champion the company. Your job is to help your employees share content and promote the company regardless of which department they’re in.

    By encouraging what the Altimeter Group, a leading research and consulting company, calls the Culture of Content (CoC), you can develop a cycle of production and promotion that boosts the profile of all your content and makes your company smarter.

    The Altimeter report “The Culture of Content Best Practices,” by Rebecca Lieb and Jessica Groopman with Susan Etlinger includes the following recommendations:

    • Let an obsession with the customer guide content creation.

    • Align content with your brand.

    • Constantly evangelize your content among employees to maintain the CoC.

    You need to give all employees who deal with customers the most up-to-date information. Having an employee channel takes that idea even further, requiring that you help all your employees participate in sharing content regardless of department.

  • Be channel agnostic after developing content to share. The idea of being “channel agnostic” may seem counterintuitive. When you develop content, you want to pay attention to the audience demographics on that specific channel. Doing so is important, especially when you’re creating ads on that channel, such as through Facebook.

    What being channel agnostic means is that you shouldn’t be so channel focused after content is shared. For example, Copyblogger eliminated its Facebook account in 2014, yet still gets a lot of its content shared on that channel. Copyblogger understood that its audience would be sharing its content across all the social media platforms and didn’t want to expend energy directly on Facebook for what it found to be a minimal return.

Sharing as a bottom-line issue

Ratings, reviews, recommendations — doesn’t it seem that nothing can be sold without someone’s having first voiced an opinion? Actually, that is the case. If you see a product that doesn’t have reviews or ratings, you may be reluctant to be the first person to buy. Items such as books and movies have always been rated and discussed, but now every grocery product and children’s toy needs to have a host of opinions before it’s considered by a buyer.

So you need to have your products and services reviewed, but should you care about getting that content shared? Does it really make that much of a difference to the bottom line?

Two online companies — ShareThis and Canva — think so.

A study done by ShareThis, a company that makes sharing tools, set out to determine the answer to the question, “Does sharing matter to the bottom line?”

The ShareThis home page.
ShareThis.

The study, called “The Return on a Share,” found that, indeed, a distinct business case can be made for sharing. Findings include:

  • An excellent recommendation boosts the average value of a share by 9.5 percent over a neutral one

  • Positive shares created a 9.6 percent increase in purchases

  • Bad recommendations instigated lower purchases by 11 percent

  • Recommendations exceed price and brand when considering purchases

If you need to convince your manager that sharing is key to your content marketing strategy, show her these statistics as part of your argument.

Another interesting finding from the Return on Share study: “Mobile is considered two times as social as desktop.” Don’t forget your mobile audience!

Another company that presents compelling evidence for the value of sharing content is Canva, a design company. Andrianes Pinantoan, Head of Growth Marketing for Canva, details on the Convince & Convert blog how Canva increased the traffic to its design school blog by over 220 percent.

Canva Design School.
Canva Design School.

Canva decided to focus on shareability by testing everything it posted to its blog, and then it developed its content strategy by doing the following:

  • Looking at the content that was being successfully shared by its competitors

  • Focusing on writing in-depth posts

  • Using storytelling to make its content more interesting

  • Developing great headlines

  • Adding more visuals

In 60 days, Canva increased its traffic by 226 percent. Not bad for two months of effort! Can you apply some of these tactics? They are best practices that should help you make significant progress.

To encourage more sharing, you can create an inline tweet that is irresistible to share by using Click to tweet. It’s a WordPress plug-in by CoSchedule. All the user has to do is click the ready-made box within the post, and off the tweet goes. Now that’s easy!