8 Tips To Help You Write Content Worth Sharing
What Makes Your Work Worth Sharing? If You Don't Know, You Need To!
You can share your content on social media until your fingers fall off but it won't do any good unless it contains something worth sharing.
I'm not sure why so many people who aren't naturally writing geniuses don't seem to realize this or at least their actions don't reflect it. In my opinion, it's the most important thing you can possibly realize when striving for online writing success. Instead, many people seem to try to focus on how to get views without making sure that what they've created deserves to get those views.
There's something you need to do before you hit share, before you ask for a critique, and even before you start writing. You need to ask yourself how you are going to make your writing outstanding. I don't mean outstanding in the way people who like you and are trying to encourage you might say it, I mean actually outstanding, superb.
I have written several pieces of viral content, some with byline and some without. I tried to distill my process down to eight tips and you can find them below.
1. Determine What Topic or Style You Can Write Exceptionally Well
Don't make your decision based on what you like to write or what you think you write best. Base it instead on what your readers have liked in the past. Keep in mind it may not even intersect with your area of greatest expertise.
Determine which things you've written have the most natural social media shares. Natural social media shares come from people you don't know who are sharing strictly because they were impressed with the content, so don't count any shares from share and share alike groups.
Whatever pieces of yours others have shared the most will be a good place to start. Then think about what else you can write in that topic or style.
2. Narrow Your Topic Down Further
No, even further than that!
Now that you've determined what topics and styles you write best, decide what your next piece will be about.
Narrow it down to an extremely tight and specific topic. For example, an article about the best desserts is way too general. The best chocolate desserts would still be too general. You want to get to the subtopic level equivalent of the best gluten-free, no-bake, vegan chocolate desserts.
Yes, get that specific. Leave the sprawling, general information to the big boys, the established authority sites. You can't top them in that arena unless you have already become one of them somehow. And something tells me you wouldn't bother reading this if you had.
3. Take off Your Writer's Hat and Read up on That Sub-Sub-Sub-Topic AKA Niche Topic
Take a day and try to forget you're a writer. Forget you're an Internet marketer that day, too, if you are one. Now go be a reader.
Read anything and everything you can find in that niche topic you chose. Choose the most exceptional, cool pieces on that topic and bookmark them.
If you can't find anything exceptional on the topic, you may be onto something else. You may be able to see what's missing and fill that gap yourself.
4. Keep in Mind How Average People Use Social Media to Share
You may have used social media to promote your work, but have you used it as it was intended?
Have you used it to share funny pictures that made you laugh or news that has you outraged with friends? Have you used it to share amazing recipes or genius tutorials you didn't write? Have you used it to form relationships with like-minded people or to follow topics that fascinate you?
If you haven't, you'd better dive right the heck in for a bit. Relax, be a person first and leave the writing for later.
If you don't know what grabs a person and makes them really want to share something, if you haven't a clue you need to do it and feel it. If you haven't felt that indefinable something that makes people want to share something you can't even know what you're striving for.
Create a separate identity and find things you absolutely just have to share in the broader parent topic of that topic you excel at writing. Get sucked into at least one social media network for a while.
Do not share your own work during this time, not one single URL. Do that on your self-promotion accounts if you must but not on this one. Keep this one purely an exercise in learning what is amazing in your parent topic and what others find amazing in it. Share only what you think is absolutely fantastic.
5. Bookmark and Record Every Piece of Writing You Share and Perform an Autopsy Later
Once you've been fully sucked in and lost your evenings or weekends or lunch break to social media it's time to do the post mortem. Well, maybe analysis would be a better way to put it. Anyway, find the items that you and others shared that got shared the most.
Do not count your own stuff. Don't, full stop. I know I said not to share anything of your own but, well, some people can't do tip number four without sneaking one in just one little time where it seems it would fit or just one a day or just one every dozen... If you did that, don't count them. That is, unless one of them got at least 100,000 views within a week, a condition I'd call sub-viral.
So go back through what you shared and find out which of those items other people shared. Now try to see what made you love them.
Ask Yoda, There Is No Try...
The only way to succeed is to do and keep on doing until you can't. It's not a sure road to success but it's the only one. You'll never know if you'll get anywhere you're yearning to be until you travel it.
6. Write It
Now sit down and write your tight niche piece.
Make sure it is clear and understandable and delivers on all its promises. Cover your niche topic in a way that leaves readers wanting more without failing to answer the questions that may have drawn them to your page. There are no teasers allowed in this club.
Don't worry about anything but the craftsmanship at this point. Make the photographs beautiful. Check your grammar and read your work aloud to be sure it will sound good in other people's inner voices.
7. Bring out That Indefinable Something That Makes You Wild About Pieces in This Topic
I can't answer what this is going to be for you. It has to be what makes you passionate not what makes me passionate. You can't write my passions as well as you can write yours.
For me, it's feeling. If I can connect with what another writer feels, no matter the emotion, I will love the piece if it's written in a topic I care about. If a writer translates his ecstatic joy or profound grief or rage or fascination or pride into words I can understand, I will love the piece. An ability to share intense emotions can even transcend topics to the point I sometimes enjoy pieces in topics I don't even care about.
Sometimes understatement works better than emotionally charged language to convey emotions. Sometimes spelling out the right facts in the right way can have a greater emotional impact than gut-wrenching prose. Don't forget that what goes on in the reader's head is a part of the piece's impact.
By this point you will probably know what makes you feel when you see it. Keep working until you see it in your writing.
Give your readers credit; they are smart and they came to the page to feel something. If the emotion you are conveying is too painful or intense, cup your readers in mostly safe words and carry them along until they hit that "ah hah!" moment on their own.
8. Experiment and Write and Write and Write...
Just keep looking at the subjects from different angles and keep experimenting.
You're not even paying for paper and ink in the modern day. That word processing program of yours is like an endless virgin white sheet of paper in a typewriter whose ribbon will never run out of ink. You won't ever run out of space.
Write and write and write some more and then go back and chop out all the deadwood words that lie limp upon the page. You won't even need whiteout.
Please share what has worked for you or even things that made you love viral content you've seen and shared in the comment section below. The Internet can never get enough amazing content so we can all benefit from what you share.
© 2014 Kylyssa Shay