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October 30, 2014

How to Choose Social Media Friendly Blog Topics

When you write a blog post, one of your main goals should be to make it interesting enough that people want to share the information with their friends and colleagues. The way they do it, of course, is on social media. And so one of the things you should be thinking about when you write for your blog is whether your topic is eminently shareable.

This does not mean stalking Google Trends and tossing the words “Kim Kardashian” into every post just to pick up the extra traffic.

What it means is giving real thought to what you are writing about, and not just how you write it, i.e. what keywords you choose, what headline you put on it, and all those other effective SEO tricks.

Why This Is Important

Duh, we all know social media is important. But here are some ways big social media sharing can benefit your blog:

  •  It establishes you as an expert. If you write the “Ultimate Guide to Wine Tasting,” then people will start identifying you as an expert wine taster.
  •  It brings new people to your blog. I’ve discovered some of my very favorite blogs by randomly clicking on a link from Facebook or Twitter.
  •  It can give you new perspective. Comments from people on social networks can help you come up with new ideas, which can translate into blog posts.
  •  It’s great for SEO. Yes, this is the biggie: Google loves it when your content is shared on social media.

All that said, here are six ideas that will help you to choose the best topics for your blog to drive social media sharing.

1. Make a How-To Guide

The web is full of how-tos for a reason: People search for them, people read them. When you offer practical tips on anything, whether it’s buying the right car or drawing a great picture, readers eat it up. People are always looking for ways to improve themselves and their skills.

By playing to that need, you will interest them enough that they will often share the post on social media, to help others as well.

2. Offer a List

People love to make fun of BuzzFeed, but let’s give credit where it is due: Listicles, or articles made up of lists, are a huge hit on social media. Anytime you can offer up “6 Ways I Fixed My SEO Problem” or “10 Reasons Why Your Blog Stinks,” people are going to read it. They love anything they can count.

These also get a large number of shares on social media because they are generally presented in a fun way. When you have a list, you automatically have a catchy headline,

and people love to pass on those pithy seeds of wisdom on Twitter and Facebook.

3. Use the Right Tools

You don’t have to be grasping around in the dark trying to find a topic that will play well on social media. Use helpful tools to find topics that are trending or people are sharing. Here are a few of my favorites:

  •  Social Mention: You can not only see what topics are trending on social media but also see how people feel about those topics through the sentiment rankings.
  •  BuzzSumo: Find the most-shared content on a topic and set alerts so that when content around the web aligned with your blog’s niche reaches a certain threshold of shares, you can dissect what is causing it to trend.
  •  Hshtags: Search any hashtag and find out what people are saying. The ability to sort posts by text, video or image is particularly useful.
  •  Boardreader: This search site is easily overlooked, since web forums aren’t as hot as they used to be. But I think it’s a terrific resource to find really original blog topics that no one has posted about before yet a lot of people are interested in discussing.

4. Resource Posts

Is there anything more time-consuming than having to compile a list of resources about a certain topic? I know I bookmark resource lists all the time so that I can come back to reference them in the future, and I often tweet about them to others in my field to share that knowledge.

When you create a resource list, you are giving people a reference, and that’s hugely valuable. They will not just look at it but return to it over and over, and that sort of utility is what earns you a social media share.

5. Checklists and Cheat Sheets

There is a lot to remember in this world, especially when your job involves something complex like graphic design. Blog about checklists and cheat sheets that can make your tasks easier. This might be something highly specialized to your industry, or you can make a checklist that applies to a broader audience, such as checklists for traveling overseas for business.

These lists will drive a lot of traffic on social media because they are so relatable. All of us have been in a situation where we needed to make sure we remembered everything.

6. Videos and Podcasts

Blog posts don’t always have to be about words. You can use videos or podcasts for in-depth interviews that are highly likely to be shared, especially if you manage to get someone big in the
industry to talk with you or appear on camera.

Creativity and Content

Ultimately the most-shared posts are going to be the most interesting and best-thought-out posts. So put some time behind your blog posts to ensure they are worth sharing. That, ultimately, is the key to getting your blogs a second life on social media.


Adrienne Erin writes twice weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter or visit her blog Design Roast to see more of her work or get in touch.