by Shari Finnell
Are people tweeting about your web site? Sharing your content with friends? Leaving comments on your blog posts? Recommending your site to others? Here at Slingshot SEO, we think there’s no reason your content shouldn’t be shared if it’s worth talking about.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it takes for someone to bother to make a couple of clicks … via a Facebook Like, a Tweet, a StumbleUpon, or a Digg … to share content with their friends.
The truth is, whether it’s in the real world or the “virtual” world, people won’t bother sharing something with friends unless it’s out of the ordinary. Yes, it’s that simple.
Something to Talk About
That hit home with me during a recent encounter with a fast-food clerk. I’ve come across plenty of them, but this one was different. She was positively cheerful. Upbeat, even. Several times during our extremely short conversation, she suggested alternatives that would give me a better bang for my buck.
When I pulled up to the window to pay, I complimented the woman on her service. Jessica then pleasantly suggested I call the number listed on her window if I wanted to report her performance to “corporate.” I thought about that for a moment and started dialing the number on my cell. I guess this surprised her. She gave a little jump and said, “You’re going to call? Really?” Actually, I surprised myself. I was in a rush. Why else would I be ordering dinner from a window? But Jessica stood out. I felt compelled to tell someone about it.
As it turned out, giving a report on an employee’s service takes longer than it does for you to order dinner and wolf it down. After being placed on hold for about five minutes, I was asked for the employee’s name, the location of the fast food restaurant, and the time of my order, and then was asked for my name, address and telephone number. I could have hung up after two minutes of listening to really bad elevator music, but I didn’t. I wanted Jessica to get the recognition she deserved.
With the internet, it only takes a few seconds for a user to click on a symbol to bookmark, share or recommend a site to a friend. Think about it. Just a few seconds. No need to hold. No need to listen to Muzak. No need to hand over all your personal information to a complete stranger.
What Makes You Click?
OK, so the question is, is your site worth someone bothering to make a click? Does it stand out from the crowd sort of the way Jessica stood out from among hundreds of fast-food clerks?
It’s a good question to ask. Actually, it’s one Google posed in its list of 23 Questions , issued in the wake of a series of algorithm changes that boosted content as a factor in search engine rankings. Google wants to know: “Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?”
1.Engage your audience. Your content, particularly blogs, should have a conversational tone. Don’t write as if your 6th grade English teacher is standing over your shoulder. As a user, I want to feel as if you’re talking directly to me. Write your headlines to grab some attention as well.
2.Take your time. Too often we’re just concerned with just getting something “out there.” Change your attitude. If you’re just rushing to fill a page, there’s no doubt your audience will pick up on it. If you don’t care, they won’t care. It may take an extra hour or two to produce quality content, but the payoff could be significant.
3.Do some research. Your content will come across as more timely and meaningful if you’re keeping up on trends or events related to your industry, and sharing them with your readers.
4.Be a thought leader. Yes, that term gets thrown around a lot. What does it mean? In the business industry, it simply means that you’re known for having innovative ideas. Take that research we just talked about and give your view on what it all means. Don’t be afraid to take an out-of-the ordinary approach. Think outside of the box when conveying your ideas and opinions.
5.Be willing to get feedback. Ask a small army of your staff, co-workers or friends to give honest feedback on what you’re producing. The truth may hurt, but the feedback could be invaluable in helping you transform your content into something that’s worthy of sharing.
By devoting a bit of extra time and attention to your content, you will produce material that will stand out from the crowd … something worthy of a click.