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6 Simple Ways to Get Your Posts Noticed

  1. From the outset be thinking about how this piece is going to make its presence felt 
  2. Spend quality time on ‘framing’ your idea to maximise its appeal
  3. Get a feel for the search queries to which your piece is the answer
  4. Identify the best format or formats for the idea
  5. Think creatively about the visuals – stock photos aren’t going to be enough
  6. Link intelligently to other content

1. Face up to reality: the need for a network mindset

Like it or not, algorithms drive the majority of your traffic. Every decision you make has to bear that in mind. The good news is that, deep down, we’re all experts in navigating networks, we just need to use that expertise.

Winners adopt a network mindset, which recognises that it’s not enough just to produce a piece of content, it needs to be shaped at every stage with the needs of social networks and search engines in mind. 

What’s going on here?

Most organisations suffer from channel vision – they behave as though the new world of digital networks is no different from the old world of channels. You can force it to behave as such through social advertising, but that’s expensive. Far better to recognise that the time has come to sacrifice control for influence. 


2. Read the roomframe your content so it resonates with your target audience

Framing is more than choosing an angle, it’s about putting yourself into the shoes of an audience member and thinking about what kind of emotional trigger is most likely to cut through their general indifference to the content within the streams that they scroll through.

Studies suggest that anger, surprise and positivity are particularly powerful. What you need to do is to stress-test your content idea for emotional appeal. That’s probably best done within a small group. 

What’s going on here?

One of the traps that organisations fall into is of failing to frame their ideas with an audience in mind. The organisation’s structure is hierarchical – it’s hard to introduce experimentation and the workshopping of idea. So a brief comes down from the top and there’s no chance to suggest a smart way of framing the idea so that it will appeal to an audience. 

3. Think of Google’s search algorithm as your most important reader

In my experience, Search tends to be an afterthought and even a topic left to technical experts. But it’s almost certainly the biggest driver of traffic to your website and as such deserves to be at the front of all your decision-making. 

The surprising thing here is that nearly all of us use Search all the time and far more than the superficially more attractive social networks. In a way, everyone is now a search expert and you need to channel this expertise into content decisions. 

A few examples: 

  • Think about the search queries you would hope would take people to your blog post
  • Use some of those queries to structure your post including sub-headings
  • Explore what sort of questions are being asked about your topic area

4. Experiment with the ideal format 

One of the features of digital content is the evolution of a wide range of formats. The ones that have attracted the most attention are:

  • Listicles
  • Explainers
  • How to posts
  • Curated posts that summarise a range of things
  • Graphics-led posts

Many successful posts combine two or more of these qualities. This one, for example is part listicle, part ‘how to’.

What’s going on here? 

One of the features of online life is that of finding that you are wasting time being sent to pages that are not what you are looking for, or are poorly produced. Nearly everyone has an inbuilt concern of having their time wasted. As a result, they are looking for signals that their time will not be wasted. Post types that generate titles, which suggest a tight structure do particularly well. As do those that look like they are straightforward answers to frequently asked questions.

5. Think about the visuals

We’re a visual species and posts with strong visuals outperform those without. In tests at the World Economic Forum, posts with a graphic outperformed those with a stock photo by four to one

Visuals tend to get introduced at the end of the production process. But they are so important that they need to be brought to the front of the decision queue.

What’s going on here?

There are at least three factors at play here:

  1. Making social posts ‘pop’: Almost all posts on social media now have images. But the overwhelming majority are stock photos and by now users have started to screen them out. Anything visual that isn’t a stock photo tends to draw attention to itself.
  2. A signal of quality: Diagrams, tables, infographics and other visual devices suggest that the underlying material has been properly thought through and made accessible. This is a signal that it won’t be a waste of a user’s time.
  3. Optimised for mobile: Users on mobile phones find large screeds of text offputting – the smart use of illustration again sends a signal that the piece has been produced with mobile users in mind.

6. Link intelligently to other content, including your own

Linking intelligently is partly about making life easier for readers. If you mention something interesting then save users the trouble of having to Google this themselves and just put the link in. But this is mostly to do with Search. If you link to authoritative third party sources then the evidence is that Google will see this as enhancing your own usefulness. But don’t do it too much. Likewise, the more internal links you have to a page, the higher the ranking of that page in the eyes of Google.  

What’s going on here?

Google is looking for the most authoritative source on a topic. It partly does that by judging the content itself and partly by seeing how it fits into the wider network of content. It’s looking for how well connected the piece is:

  • Does it link to high-ranking sites?
  • Do high-ranking sites link to it?
  • Do links within its own site suggest this is an important page?

Decisions, decisions

Historically, writers have taken commissions, often in the form of a brief and target length, and produced to order. The piece has then been edited, possibly illustrations added, and then it has been published. It’s a relatively simple linear process that has stood the test of time in a world of channels. Crucially, the number of decisions to be taken was pretty limited. But life is more complicated in a world of digital networks. Content has to be optimised to work effectively. And that introduces a whole new range of things that need to be done and it disrupts the linear model from start to finish. In short, producers need to have good answers to a much wider range of questions than ever before.