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Share this: 5 tips you must learn to create sharable content

During last month’s webinar on how to use web analytics and search marketing, Rob Petersen, Mike Moran, and I talked about how offering sharable content to your customers boosts both traffic and search engine ranking. The challenge, of course, is creating and curating sharable content that your customers want to share with their friends, family, fans, and followers. How can you do that? Read on, friends. Read on…

Take a quick look at this post on Tumblr from Holiday Inn:

Sharable post from Holiday Inn

Now look at this one from Whole Foods:

Sharable post from Whole Foods Market

Which post do you think more people shared?

Photo credit: SHAREconference

If you answered the second, you’d be right.

Why did more people share the second item than the first? Here are 5 quick tips to help you create and curate sharable content for your customers.

  1. Quick, clear title. Whole Foods post offers a clear indication of what the post is about — to say nothing of its appeal to a large group of people. The Holiday Inn post, by contrast, lacks any sense of what it’s about. It’s just an image, presented without context.
  2. Strong visual. Speaking of images, the Whole Foods image (technically a video), is bright, well-framed, and whimsical. Holiday Inn’s photo is of what exactly? The hotel itself appears mostly out of frame, while the pool remains covered in shadow. I’m not picking on Holiday Inn, by the way. The palm trees and ocean in the distance seem inviting and the pool looks like an OK place to enjoy that view. But they could have shown so much more to attract potential customers.
  3. Funny/entertaining. Again, there’s little to surprise or delight consumers in the first image, while the second… c’mon, who doesn’t want to see art done with coffee and hot milk? It immediately draws the eye and invites sharing (“Dude, you’ve got to see this…”).
  4. Simple, easy-to-read. See item #1 above. Obviously, this is more important in text posts. And it doesn’t necessarily mean short. For instance, J. Crew typically gets dozens, if not hundreds, of shares from its posts on Tumblr, despite their length (though, when in doubt, shorter is usually better).
  5. Ask your customers to share. OK, this is one place where neither of the highlighted posts shine, actually (it helps that both posts started out on Tumblr, a blogging platform designed for sharing). But there’s nothing wrong with asking your readers to share what you’ve created and curated on their social channels. And be sure to include links to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and any other social channels that matter to your brand (much like Biznology does).

Because of its built-in sharing tools and open access to the Internet (particularly compared with Facebook), Tumblr offers brands a great look at what works to drive sharing. The following brands in particular represent great examples to learn from:

Of course, the best way to learn what your customers care to share is to do it wrong quickly, testing a mix of content, images, headlines, and calls-to-action that support your brand story and support your customers.

Oh, and if you have a minute, don’t forget to share this post with your friends, fans, and followers using the tools below. They’ll be glad you did.

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Tim Peter

Tim Peter built his first website in 1995 and loves that he still gets to do that every day. Tim has spent almost two decades figuring out where customers are, how they interact with brands online, and delivering those customers to his clients’ front door. These efforts have generated billions of dollars in revenue and reduced costs.

Tim works with client organizations to build effective teams focused on converting browsers to buyers and building their brand and business. He helps those companies discover how marketing, technology, and analytics tie together to drive business results. He doesn't get excited because of the toys or tech. He gets excited because of what it all means for the bottom line.

An expert in e-commerce and digital marketing strategy, web development, search marketing, and analytics, Tim focuses on the growth of the social, local, mobile web and its impact on both consumer behavior and business results. He is a member of the Search Engine Marketers Professional Organization (SEMPO), HSMAI, and the Digital Analytics Association.

Tim currently serves as Senior Advisor at SoloSegment, a marketing technology company that uses machine learning and natural language processing to improve engagement and conversion for large enterprise, B2B companies.

Tim Peter’s recent client work covers a wide range of digital marketing activities including developing digital and mobile marketing strategies, creating digital product roadmaps, assessing organizational capabilities, and conducting vendor evaluations for diverse clients including major hospitality companies, real estate brands, SaaS providers, and marketing agencies.

Prior to launching Tim Peter & Associates, LLC, a full-service e-commerce and internet marketing consulting firm in early 2011, he worked with the world’s largest hotel franchisor, the world’s premier independent luxury hotel representation firm, and a major financial services firm, developing various award-winning products and services for his customers. Tim can be reached at or by phone at 201-305-0055.

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