Perhaps you already write online content pages for your clients. Or, maybe you plan to do so at some time.
Either way, you will be riding a huge wave of opportunity.
Companies large and small are waking up to the fact that if their content is widely shared across social media, they will get in front of thousands of new prospects, and have the opportunity to convert those prospects into customers.
As an example, imagine a small company making a new tool to remove dandelions from lawns. If they were to create a really good content page, showing how the tool works — perhaps including a video clip — that page could be tweeted and retweeted on Twitter, shared and commented on through Facebook, and recommended on YouTube.
Suddenly, that company’s new product could get in front of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of potential buyers.
But, to achieve that kind of exposure across social media, an informational content page has to be optimized for shareability.
Therein lies the opportunity for you, as an online writer.
If you can demonstrate expertise at writing content that is social media friendly, you will never lack for clients.
Here are five ways in which content pages can be optimized for social media.
#1 Write eye-catching headlines
Whether people are looking at email subject lines, browsing headlines, watching their Twitter stream, or spending a few minutes on Facebook, they are deluged with choices. There are dozens of short headlines competing for their attention.
To hook a reader’s attention, your headline needs to be eye-catching. Or perhaps I should say, brain or emotion-catching.
For example, “ABC Corp announces new dandelion removal tool” is unlikely to win the battle for attention.
So, with social media in mind, I might write something more like this: “5 year old digs up 22 dandelions in 57 seconds.”
That’s much more likely to be read, and far more likely to be shared through social media.
#2 Include multimedia early on the page
Sticking with the dandelion story, I would recommend that the client create a short video. In fact, a 57-second video. With a few seconds extra to let people know where they can learn more about this amazing product.
Obviously, the video would show the 5 year old using the tool.
I would then change my headline slightly. “5 year old digs up 22 dandelions in 57 seconds. [VIDEO].”
In other words, I would signal to the reader that they can watch a video. Why? Because people not only like to watch videos, they also like to share them.
Not every content page lends itself to video, so you could also consider adding photos, charts or diagrams, slide shows, or infographics.
The bottom line is … people are more likely to look at and share content that includes multimedia elements.
#3 Write about what is new, or topical
As you know from newspapers, TV news, and news sites on the Web, people are always drawn to what is new, topical, or simply in the news.
As a result, web content that is about something new, novel, or topical is more likely to attract attention and get shared.
Now we can change our headline again. “5 year old digs up 22 dandelions in 57 seconds. [NEW VIDEO].”
Yes, it’s just the addition of a single word. But, it makes a difference.
#4 Evoke people’s emotions
Make your readers excited, angry, happy, amazed, anxious, outraged, or thrilled.
Make them smile, laugh, gasp, or frown.
As soon as you evoke an emotion, you set in motion a far deeper level of engagement, and drive people to share their feelings with others.
Now we can add another word to our headline. “Cute 5 year old digs up 22 dandelions in 57 seconds. [NEW VIDEO].”
The word cute evokes emotion. Who can resist a cute 5 year old?
#5 Write more “how-to” pages
Millions of people come to the Web each day in search of how to do something, whether that be how to bake a cake, how to fix a bicycle, or how to find the love of their life.
And, when you create how-to content, a text-only page is rarely the best option. You can almost always add value to the page with some kind of multimedia element.
Also, people are often intrigued by finding out how to do something, or how something works.
So, now we can make our final change to our headline. “Cute 5 year old shows how to dig up 22 dandelions in 57 seconds. [NEW VIDEO].”
Summing it all up …
With these examples, I have been focusing on how to write the headline. And certainly, getting the headline right is a big part of making content pages more social media friendly. But, you should also consider the body of the page. Make it easy to read. Make it useful and valuable. Make it interesting.
In other words, create a page that people will really want to share.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is a growing opportunity right now for online writers who choose to increase their skills in writing shareable web content.
With these skills in hand, you might choose to specialize primarily in creating shareable content.
But, you don’t have to. Your main gig might be writing online sales copy, or writing e-newsletters, or SEO copywriting. And, that’s fine. You can simply add your skills at writing shareable content as an additional service you offer.
Always keep one thing in mind … social media is becoming the driving force behind commerce online. Whatever your writing or copywriting specialty, your prospects and clients will expect you to help them leverage social media in every area of their marketing activities.
In other words, starting now, you need to know social media and how to help your clients profit from the opportunities it offers.