Everybody likes approval – especially marketers — so we take particular pride when someone shares our content.

We get some business benefits out of it too, of course. And while metrics like conversion rates usually help small business revenues more than social shares, many marketers are still focusing on the shares. It’s our favorite way to tell if a piece of content has done well or not.

Here’s the weird thing, though: If it’s shares we’re after, surely we’re getting them, right? Surely we’ve figured out how to entice people to share our content?

But that’s not what’s going on. In fact, several studies have found the average piece of content gets depressingly few shares. After studying a million articles, BuzzSumo and Moz discovered half of all articles published get eight shares or less. And CoSchedule surveyed its users and found even worse news: 77 percent of the people they surveyed share their content three times or less.

This is disappointing, but it has an upside to it for you. With just a couple of tricks and a little bit of software, you can get your content shared way more than average. Here’s how.

1. Only publish content that’s worth sharing.

I know you’ve heard this before, but please don’t ignore it. If you aren’t creating useful, interesting content, great promotion isn’t going to help much. In fact, it might do more harm than good.

How so?

If you do enough promotion, people will take a look at your content. Once they engage with it and find it to be less than great, you’ll have made a bad impression on them. And they’ll remember the experience. If you continue to promote weak content, you’ll be training your audience to ignore you.

So even if it takes longer to publish your content – even if you have to publish less often — please, make it good.

2. Use images.

When we’re talking about sharing content, we’re usually talking about social media, and social media loves images. Case in point: Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images.

So don’t fight this. Give your content at least one image that’s designed to look good for social media.

That’s just the beginning.

Level two for marketers is to convert part of their content into an image that works as standalone content. For example, if you have educational content, put together an image of the basic steps to follow, then bundle those steps into one image, like the ecommerce site Magnolia Market has done.

3. Use social sharing plugins.

This advice is mostly for blogs, but it’s too valuable to skip over. If you haven’t done so already, add social sharing buttons to every page on your site.

Then kick it up a notch, and start testing other sharing tools. Having the right tools and plugins can make a big difference in how many shares you get. That’s why most of the social media elite use tools like Social Warfare.

Related: 3 Cost-Effective Ways to Increase Brand Awareness

4. Ask people to share the content.

This is one of those bits of advice where you think, “Oh please – that won’t work.” Until you try it, and actually see more shares.

Related: Don’t Believe an SEO Expert Who Tells You Any of These 7 Lies

5. Mention people by name in your content.

You’ve heard of influencer marketing, right? It’s a way to promote your company through people, who are an authority in a given niche. But you can promote content through influencers, too, especially if you mention them by name. This lends a bit of credibility to your content.  Quoting experts makes you look smart.

There’s even a content promotion tool to make it easy to notify anyone you’ve mentioned in your content. It’s called Notifier.

Related: 12 Secrets to Pitching the Perfect Guest Post

6. Write great headlines.

Here’s a sour truth: Most people aren’t going to read your content. Even if they share it. Whether they share it or not is often decided by how good the headline is. Great headlines get shared. Boring or vague headlines don’t.


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6 Steps to Content That Is Easily Shared