What do you do when the majority of your audience utters one of these phrases — “I’m swamped… “I’m way behind”… “I’m overloaded”… “My email is out of control…” a half dozen times each day?
You have to work around it! Because there’s no stopping it. You receive five times as much information daily as you did in 1986. Every day the average person produces six newspapers worth of information compared with just two and a half pages 24 years ago – nearly a 200-fold increase. Yipes stripes! So, you see, people really, truly are overloaded.
What does this mean for the chances that your wonderful, painstakingly created content will “go viral?” That’s what your boss keeps asking you to get to happen, right? How will you get your nonprofit shared?
If your content isn’t getting shared, here’s what you do:
- You figure out a killer way to capture their attention in much less time.
- You don’t butcher your content; you make it super easy to read
- You slay your readers with how valuable your content is to them.
- You give readers a vital incentive to share your content.
- You figure out a way to make it drop-dead easy for readers to share your content.
Here are 4 Killer Ways to Get Your Content Shared:
1. Add quality visuals to your content to make it fly faster than a speeding bullet.
TIP: Embed photos, videos or infographics in your articles.
In a world where people have what seems like increasingly limited time (if you don’t catch them within the first 2 to 10 seconds (depending on who you read) of reading your content, you’re not likely to catch them at all). Eye-catching visuals – photos, infographics, and videos – can make a huge difference as to whether your content gets looked at and shared.
For photos, your best bet is usually to feature real people. Don’t have a big budget? I used to ask my employees to bring in their family photos, provided they gave permission for their use. They were usually much less “canned” than stock photos. Check out Heidi Cohen’s 3 Tips to Make Your Photographs More Memorable.
Publishers featuring infographics grow traffic 12% faster than those that don’t. According to Kissmetrics, infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than a text article. And a whopping 65% of people are visual learners.
This holds true, by the way, for your in-person presentations. A study by the Wharton School of Business found that 67% of an audience is persuaded by a presentation that includes visuals, compared with just 50% when no visuals are included.
Sadly, when people just read words, they remember 20%. When they just listen, they remember only 10%. But people remember 80% of what they see and hear!
If that isn’t compelling evidence in favor of taking the time to add relevant visuals to your content, I don’t know what is!
Want some tools and tips to help you create and distribute your super, visually-enhanced content? Check these out:
- Canva.[FREE Version] Super useful for creating visual content, and fun to use. You can feel like a professional creating slides, blog graphics, Twitter headers, and infographics, etc.
- Tips to Take Super Social Media Photos. These come from Daniel Lemin, a professional photographer and senior business consultant with Convince and Convert. My favorite: Unusual angles. The rest in a nutshell: Lighting; background, and off-center framing.
- Buffer. [FREE Version] You can use Buffer to schedule and post your blog content to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and especially Twitter. With the latter, it’s not enough to share your posts just once or twice. That’s why Buffer enables you to schedule tweets to post throughout the day. Buffer also has analytics, so you can keep track of which posts were clicked on, favorited, retweeted, etc.
- BizSugar. [FREE] This is a tip gleaned from Joe Waters of Selfish Giving. He’s the king of cause marketing and makes the point that, while not every post should be shared here, it makes super sense to share content that’s about a partnership with business.
Why spend countless hours slaving over and perfecting your prose when so few of your readers are going to enjoy it? It’s a bad investment of your time and money. Instead, allocate a large chunk of your creative time and budget to producing visuals to accompany your written content.
Not even kryptonite will deter your readers from sharing content containing awesome visuals. Llamas on the loose, anyone?
MAKE IT EASY ON THE EYES
Use language, style and formatting that breaks up content and makes it easy to digest.
TIP: Use headlines, subheads, boldface, italics and underlines. People don’t read; they scan.
TIP: Begin with an outline to avoid overly wordy content.
The last thing you want is an article that looks like you dumped every word in the dictionary into it in one big pile of text. You need structure, so people know where to direct their gaze. Our brains prefer scannable content – short sentences; headlines; subheads; bullets; underlining; bold face; white space – to large blocks of text. Too much of the same thing – even if it’s a good thing – is too much. I like to pretend my article is several articles within an article. If folks scan the headlines, they get the gist. If they scan the subheads, they get the gist. If they scan just what’s bold faced, they get the gist. And so forth. And break up your text into bite-size chunks. One-word sentences are perfectly swell.
And when it comes to language, write at between a 6th and 8th grade level. Forget what you learned in English composition class. Folks have not come to you for a graduate school seminar or a grant proposal. You can test the readability of your web page here.
Be useful, interesting and engaging
TIP: Ask your receptionist what peoples’ most frequently asked questions are. Write content to answer those questions.
No doubt you’ve heard that whenever one person has a question, many others have the same one. So… if you give people answers they know their friends want as well, they’ll share them. Why? People love to be seen as knowledgeable and “in the know.” If you make them an expert, they’ll share to make themselves look good. Oh, and also to be helpful to their friends. People like to do that too! Here’s an example of a number of valuable pieces of content, all found on the website of the Heart and Stroke Foundation:
Use your content marketing to build trust
TIP: Create list posts of “How to” and “To-do”.
People dislike brands and companies that they don’t trust. If you are running a conservation nonprofit, make sure the content you post on your website or blog provides visitors with something like “5 Easy Ways to Conserve Water.” If you’re a human services nonprofit, help folks out with “10 tips on how to baby-proof your home” or “How to assure your aging parent gets adequate nutrition.” If they have a son, daughter, mother of father who can use some of this advice, your article will probably get shared. Here’s an example of a list shared via Twitter by the Monterey Bay Aquarium: Use every opportunity you have to develop trust and rapport with your visitors, and you will be repaid in numerous ways. This is also a great way to establish yourself as an expert and leader in your field.
Next month another 6 ways to get your nonprofit content shared on Social Media