The Custard Blog

Words of wisdom from our team of online marketing experts

Why Shareable Content is the Key to Effective Journalist Outreach

Over the last few years, journalist outreach for marketers and PR professionals has changed dramatically. Google’s “crackdown” on guest blogging has made journalists and bloggers far less responsive to yesteryear’s outreach emails.

It’s also made journalists and bloggers pay far more attention to the quality of the pitches and content they receive from marketers, not just in terms of the quality of the written work, but the level of scale it can achieve when shared on social media.

Shareability is now one of the most important aspects to achieving success with an outreach campaign. This is because mass shareability leads to three results that are highly important for publishers:

  • Mass exposure, which results in improved earnings from CPM advertising
  • Mass sharing and links, which strengthens their website’s search visibility
  • Mass attention, which makes their website an authoritative source

Achieve these three objectives and you’ll deliver a piece that isn’t brushed off like most other outreach emails, but taken seriously and actively promoted by bloggers and journalists that receive it.

The rules of news are changing, and shareability is now a top priority

Over the last two decades, the economics of journalism have changed to an immense degree. With subscription revenue declining for print and online publishers, the goal has shifted from publishing highly engaging content to publishing shareable content.

According to research data from Muckrack, 76% of journalists feel pressure to share their work on social media in order to expand their audience and increase the level of exposure that their work receives.

Mudrack - Building Brands On Social

The reason behind this change is simple: publishers can no longer survive using the revenue that subscriptions used to bring in. As a result, a mass audience fuelled by social media sharing is the new key to achieving profitability as a publisher.

The best way to get your news noticed – whether it’s a press release, a sponsored blog post or a promotional video – is to make it as easy for journalists and online readers to share as possible.

What makes content shareable?

Not all content is equally shareable. Even extremely high quality content, such as an in-depth guide to a certain topic or an exposé with previously unseen information, can fail to reach a mass audience.

There’s no single “key” to shareability. A variety of factors, from a great headline to a link to an important or relevant topic, play a role in making content more shareable and likely to reach a wide audience.

According to Muckrack’s survey of marketers and PR professionals, the ingredients that matter the most for shareability include:

  • Images (82% of votes)
  • A subject that can be linked to a bigger picture trending story (66% of votes)
  • Content that’s localized and relevant to a specific audience (48% of votes)
  • Video content (33% of votes)
  • Brevity and readability (33% of votes)
  • Data and numbers that can be used in a headline (25% of votes)

Mudrack - Ingredients For Shareable Content

Content marketing analysis tool Buzzsumo recently analysed more than 100 million blog posts and articles to understand which elements played the biggest role in their shareability (or lack of shareability).

Their findings differed from some of the usual advice on shareability and offered an interesting level of insight into which features have the greatest impact on whether a blog post is highly shareable or not.

The Buzzsumo analysis discovered that:

  • Longer articles, particularly articles of 3,000 words or more, were shared far more often than short articles or 1,000 words or less.
  • Despite this, there were more than 16 times as many blog posts and articles of less than 1,000 words in Buzzsumo’s database than their work articles and blog posts of 2,000 words or more.
  • Articles with images are more than twice as likely to be shared on Facebook than articles without images.
  • Articles that create an emotional reaction, particularly awe, amusement and joy, tend to be shared more than content with no emotional component.
  • Lists and infographics tend to be shared more than How-To articles, videos and “Why” posts. On average, infographics are shared more than twice as much as How-To articles.
  • People are far more likely to share content that features a byline than content published anonymously, largely due to the level of trust and authenticity that a real identity provides.
  • Getting a public figure or an authority in your industry (an influencer) to share your content has a compound effect on its shareability, with a single share often enough to create a snowball effect.

Think about shareability before you create, not after

In response to the growing importance of shareability, many marketers have taken a bolt-on approach to shareability by optimising their headline and adding images to a post or article that’s already been created.

A far more effective way to make your content highly shareable is to map its target audience, from readers to potential influencers, before you start creating and then use this audience as a guiding influence throughout the creation process.

Are you creating a video for a client in the automotive industry? Look at what the biggest names in the automotive world are tweeting about and browse automotive forums to discover the questions people would like you to answer.

Our post on using Reddit to supercharge your content ideas offers some insight into how social communities can be a great source of validated, shareable content ideas for you to turn into videos, blog posts and guides.

By mapping out your target audience before you start creating and building large-scale shareability into your blog post from the beginning, you’ll create content that readers and journalists love to share with their networks.

How shareable is your content?

If you’re struggling to gain traction with content marketing and notice that most of your videos, blog posts and guides aren’t getting the attention they deserve, take a look at the shareability factor of your content.

Small changes to a concept can transform it from engaging but unlike to appeal to a large audience into a highly shareable idea that journalists, bloggers and readers are happy to share via Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.

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