Social sharing is to bloggers what newspapers are to journalists. Without it, a lot fewer people would be reading your articles.
There are many ways to optimize your blog to boost social sharing statistics. The obvious one is to limit your title to 100 characters, so people can share it on Twitter and include a link to the article, while still leaving enough space for others to retweet.
But perhaps the best-known trick for encouraging retweets is to use a number in the post title. ‘15 tips for…’, ‘20 things … should never do’ or ‘10 ways to …’. People love to share easily-digestible tips. Just have a quick glance at the most popular articles on PR Daily: lists are immensely popular.
Why shouldn’t they be? Lists can help readers to process information more easily, in bite-sized chunks. There is one tiny pitfall, however: some bloggers seem to use lists to avoid having to dig deeper into a subject. If you write an article with tips for PR professionals and one of them is ‘Don’t miss deadlines’, that hardly contributes to any discussion. Still, this article was retweeted nearly 100 times within 24 hours. The reason why is not hard to guess: by retweeting such an article, you demonstrate that you know what a PR pro should or shouldn’t do.
Well, here’s our own list: 5 tips for writing worthwhile ‘top tips’ blog posts:
- Skip the obvious. Everyone knows PR pros should not miss deadlines. Surprise your readers instead with things they didn’t know (or even better: can disagree with).
- Elaborate. Although blog posts shouldn’t be too lengthy, it is better to explain why you chose a tip than to be superficial.
- Limit yourself. It is better to stick to 5 do’s and don’ts than to name 30 without being able to elaborate.
- Link. Probably, others have written about the same subject before. Link to these articles and explain why you agree or disagree. After publication, let the author know you are referring to their article.
- Co-create. Before you start, ask people in your network to think along and share tips with you.
Once published, it is likely that the people that gave useful input will share the article with their network – meaning more retweets.
So, do lists work for you? Tell us your own tips list for tips lists.