There’s no substitute for great, compelling content. Great content is timely, clear, and relevant to its intended audience. But once you have it, what's the best way to share it?
Successful online content isn't just a good idea—it's a good idea, well executed. With a great piece of content in hand, you need an equally thoughtful way to roll it out. You can build a powerful digital annual report or craft a masterful request for donations, but that doesn't mean much if no one sees it.
That means crafting tweets, Facebook posts, subject lines, and headlines that will interest and engage your audience. These are tips for successfully sharing your content—based on invaluable industry benchmarks.
Blog post length
If you want your audience to read your whole post, how long should it be? A study by Medium concluded that 1,600 words, or 7 minutes worth of content, is a good benchmark. But just as they taught in high school, don’t add unnecessary filler to meet that mark. Write as much as you need; then stop. (And then go back and edit. This post started as 873 words, but what you’re reading is only 551!)
Blog post headlines
The title of a blog post matters—it’s what displays prominently in Google search results, and when you link to a post on Facebook or LinkedIn. Keep it clear and short. Beyond that, there’s room to play: with action verbs, questions, and lists. In the same way that we scan the body of web content, we also scan their headlines, often only taking in the first three and last three words of a headline.
Email subject lines
When sharing content in an email or as part of an email newsletter, a successful subject line is your ticket to getting the email opened. Statistics indicate that keeping your subject line within 28-39 characters is ideal. But most importantly, be genuine and friendly in your subject line. We all get spammed enough—you can probably spot a mass mailer from a mile away. Test your subject line by imagining you’re sending it to real people in your life and consider what would make them click.
Sharing on social media
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine—each form of social media differs in its audiences and its features; not every post needs to be shared on every platform. But whatever your organization is using, the trick is to show the clear value of clicking on your link. Is it intriguing? Does it offer knowledge or opportunity? Is it asking something of your community? Answering the “why” helps you share that in your post.
Twitter: Tweet lengths
140 characters may not seem like much, but you’re better off going even shorter than that. Research shows that 100 character tweets have the best chance for engagement—they’re most likely to get read, liked, and retweeted.
Facebook: Post lengths
There’s two good ways to reach people on Facebook: Going really short, with a post around 80 characters (and always a video or photo to accompany the text), or going really, really short, with 40 character posts (again, always with video or photo).
Trying to craft that perfect blog headline? We'd love to help. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking at the bigger picture? Check out part one and two in this series, about creating great content and the right content strategy to support it.
Image Credit: Mkhmarketing| Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.