Marketers have been aggressive in creating content through blogs with the average number of blog posts increasing by 800% per month for each brand. Now that’s a lot of content being churned out on a regular basis. But despite all that, the number of blog shares is decreasing by 89%. So how can we ensure that our content gets the exposure it needs?
According to the “How to Build a Better Blog Than Your Competitors: 2017 Blogging Report” done by Track Maven, shareability is dependent on many factors. From timing to titles and even punctuation, all of these little details can make or break the exposure of your content. Over 18 million blogs and more than 20 million social shares (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest) were analyzed in order to get this data, covering September 2015 to August 2016.
Let’s look at these research-based tips to increase your blog shares:
1. Time it right.
The report said that the best way to time your publishing is by avoiding the days and hours when everybody else is posting. Track Maven revealed that the most competitive day is Wednesday, which is when most blogs are published. While the busiest time is 12 noon EST.
You would want to publish on the least competitive day which is Sunday! And the best time to post is 3:00 pm EST. In the graph below, you will see that there are few blogs published on Sunday but the social shares are skyrocketing.
2. Say no to long titles
The study showed that there is an ideal number of words that gets more shares than others. Short titles guarantee that Google doesn’t need to cut it when showing search results. Track Maven used two metrics namely the number of non-space characters and the number of words to determine the ideal title length.
And the magic number is (drum roll please)…seven! Blog posts with seven-word titles averages 412 social shares per post. If you do it per non-space character count, the optimal number of characters is 41. In the graph below, you will see that there’s very little room for error. One word more can greatly affect your blog’s shareability.
3. Show emotions with superlatives!
Blog titles with superlatives easily grab the attention of readers. Superlatives like most, best, biggest, highest, lowest are some of the words that pique the interest of netizens. However, this should be done in moderation. The ideal number is two superlatives in a blog title, generating an average of 317 blog shares.
4. Punctuate titles properly
This may come as a surprise but punctuation marks in titles can affect the shareability of your blog. The vertical bar is the runaway winner with an average of 5,859 shares per post. Here’s an example of a blog title with vertical bar “Presidential Politics | World First News” with the line separating the headline from the brand. Quotation marks (single and double) come in second and third, showing that direct quotes in titles get a lot of shares as it implies a credible source.
In terms of punctuation in the actual text, it comes as no surprise that blog posts with quotes perform best with an average of 200 shares per post. The ideal number is 31 to 40 quotes per blog post. It doesn’t necessarily mean direct quotes. Special terms or titles can sometimes be in quotation marks. Commas come in second as the most optimal punctuation in the text. In fact, articles with one comma per sentence garners the most shares at 143 per post.
4. Pronouns matter
Second person pronouns in titles comprise the top five in the most blog shares. This means that readers want to be addressed directly. They want to know that you’re talking to them and that the article is for them. Bagging the top pronoun is yourselves with 1,253 shares followed by I’m with 1,064 and ‘You with 951. Coming in at 4th and 5th place are “You with 749 and ‘you with 733 shares.
Also, blog titles with two pronouns get the most number of shares at 446. Three pronouns come in second followed by one pronoun. The more, the merrier doesn’t apply here. Shares get lower as more pronouns are seen in the title. The best way to go is settle for the median which is two pronouns.
5. Long-form content wins
When it comes to blog length, you may be surprised that longer ones get more social shares! Blogs with 1,200 to 1,400 posts have an average of 428 shares. This proves that people read long-form content. Readers value substance and well-researched posts as these indicate quality and credibility. It’s important to note that 500 to 600-word blogs get the lowest shares.
In terms of paragraph structure, blogs with two sentences per paragraph get the most shares with 151. The study also broke it down further, revealing that sentences with 20 words perform best with an average of 145 social shares.
6. More media, more shares
It’s already a given that using images and videos help increase blog engagement. But the question is, how many do you actually need for the images to affect the shareability of your post? The answer to that is 11 images, garnering an average of 200 social shares. For videos, the optimal number is eight per blog post, which has an average 506 social shares. It’s important to note that images work best with 800 to 1,000-word posts and videos go well with 1,200 to 1,400-word posts.
7. Headers make a difference
Headers make your blog posts easy to read. While there is no optimal number of headers that correlates to the number of shares, the data showed that blogs with 1,400 to 1,600 words with headers gets the most social shares at 522.
8. Lists are here to stay
Readers will never get tired of reading lists. They are bite-sized information that can be understood and remembered easily. Blogs with two lists gets the most shares with 601 followed by one and three lists. These can range from listicles (list articles) to enumerating items within the blog post. However, more lists don’t automatically mean more shares. Blogs with four and five lists have low social shares.
By incorporating these data-backed tips and doing it continuously, you can increase your blog shares over time. There is no instant success in content marketing. It takes time, effort, and consistency to achieve the results you want. The great thing about proven tips like these is that you can make concrete steps with measurable results. Time to apply those little tweaks and give your quality content the much exposure it needs!