One of the best ways to reach large numbers of donors is through your nonprofit’s fundraising blog, which is basically a free marketing platform! If you can write posts that get shared, your readers will do all the hard work for you. But it can be tricky to create shareable content, and finding the key to viral content is especially difficult.
BuzzSumo recently conducted a study of their most shared content, including 100,000,000 (that’s 100 million) pieces of content, and came up with some guidelines on what people share and what falls into the abyss to never be seen again.
Here are some tips from BuzzSumo’s study to help you create shareable content so your message reaches as many donors as possible.
There is a belief that the internet has a short attention span and that longer articles are death to your shareability.
Well, it turns out that is a myth.
Longer articles are shared more often. The article’s authors concluded that this fact shows that most people are simply not willing to put in the time and effort to create valuable content with lots of useful material, preferring to just put up short fluff.
You can stand out by investing thought and effort into crafting quality articles that share the story of your nonprofit.
The lesson: To create shareable content, put in the time and effort to write articles of 2,000 words or more of solid value, whether you’re telling a story, sharing an experience, or explaining a new way to tackle a problem.
Use a Picture
No surprise here: articles with pictures are shared more often than articles without pictures. What you may not have realized, however, is that the presence of a Facebook or Twitter preview thumbnail substantially increased shares on each of those networks in the BuzzSumo study.
CauseVox easily lets you customize the image that you use for social sharing for any crowdfunding campaign.
The lesson: Adding a picture is an especially easy way to create shareable content. Include a picture somewhere in the body of your article, and make sure that when you share it on Facebook or Twitter that the image is visible in the preview.
Focus on Positive Emotions
BuzzSumo’s analysis of the 10,000 top shared articles on the internet revealed an interesting trend about the emotions that featured in each article: for the most part, positive emotions were preferred, with the top three being awe (25%), laughter (17%), and amusement (15%), with joy coming in a close fourth (14%).
People want to be inspired, not scared or guilted, and are generally want to improve others’ days with content that will make them happy, too. People definitely aren’t going to rain on a friend’s day by sharing a doom-and-gloom article, even if it’s for a good cause.
The lesson: When you are sharing the story of your nonprofit’s work or struggles, focus on an inspirational story rather on the extremity of the problem you are out to solve. Even if you’re story is one of hardship and struggle, try to shift the focus or end on a hopeful note.
Give Your Audience a Voice
According to another shareability study by the NY Times, one of the top reasons people share content is to show others what they are all about. They use shared content to express their identity.
A great example of this is quizzes. People love to take quizzes, and they love to share the results (and the quiz itself along with it) because it lets other people learn something about them.
You probably won’t be putting quizzes into your nonprofit marketing blog, but there are other ways for you to help others express themselves.
One way is by being opinionated and appealing to a particular viewpoint. Remember, you already have a tribe of people who share your viewpoints, and they are just itching for a chance to share an article that highlights their views for all their friends to see.
You might as well be the one to write that article.
The lesson: Take a stand. Don’t be afraid to speak for a small group with a definite opinion. They are going to share your article widely to express their own views.
Make it Skimmable
It’s no secret that lists and infographics get tons of shares. The reason is that these posts are easy to skim and readers know what to expect.
For your own nonprofit marketing blog, you can also write list posts or provide infographics, particularly if they illustrate an innovative solution to a problem.
However, you may not have content that lends itself well to those formats. In that case, you can get the benefits of lists by using lots of headers and sub-headers, as well as bullet points and numbered lists. These elements make your content easier to navigate, less intimidating, and more digestible.
The lesson: To make your posts more shareable, break it up, either as a list or as with plenty of headers and section breaks.
Re-promote Old Content
Just because content has been shared once doesn’t mean its value is lost. BuzzSumo noted that articles that were repromoted after their initial publication still garnered new shares: if it was worth sharing once, it’s worth sharing again.
They didn’t measure the exact time frame, but it looked like about 1 week after initial publication was a good range for a second round of promotion.
The lesson: If you’ve got a piece of content that seems to strike a nerve with people, don’t be afraid to send it out into the internet for a second round of shares. Be aware of relevant events that tie into past articles as well.
Publish on a Tuesday
Tuesday seemed to be the best day for sharing on most social media networks. Maybe people are just more bored on those days.
Definitely do not publish or attempt to promote on the weekend.
Use these tips to increase the shareability of your nonprofit marketing blog articles and reach as wide an audience as possible.
Create Shareable Content Cheat Sheet:
- Aim for 2000 words or more
- Include a picture
- Focus on positive emotions, especially joy, awe, hope, and laughter
- Make it skimmable with lists and headers
- Repromote old content
- Publish on Tuesday
For the full article from BuzzSumo, click here.