Admit it, hardly a day goes by without you checking how many shares your blog posts got. Every marketer and content writer does this, even if we know that shares might be vanity metrics. The truth is, behind the vanity, lie some business opportunities, too.


Granted, most of the shares you get won’t bring in any new business. But they will bring in traffic and brand awareness. Plus, every new share is a chance for your content to get into the right hands — the hands of a potential customer.


Whether you’re blogging for business or you run an affiliate marketing blog, social shares mean more than validation. Popularity is contagious, as proven by a recent study that showed Internet users were 32 percent more likely to up-vote a comment that was previously liked by other people.


Even B2B marketers agree that social media can actually bring in revenue, so focusing on shares is about more than vanity. Facebook is still the king of social networks for B2B as well as B2C. Take a look at this graph showing marketers’ preferences among social networks.


Whatever social network you fancy (although I recommend being on as many as possible), let’s take a look at how you can make your content shine on it:


1. Create Content that Is Relevant and Evergreen

I know you’ve heard this one before, but don’t dismiss it as an obsolete cliché – it is, in fact, more relevant than ever. With the millions of blog posts published every day, you need to come up with ways to make yours stand out from the crowd.


To accomplish that, let’s look at what people typically share:

61 percent of social media users share interesting content;

43 percent of social media users share funny content;

43 percent of social media users share important posts, like news.


If you’re not a news outlet or an entertainment blog, your focus is on the 61 percent of shares of “interesting” content.


But how do you know what’s interesting?

BuzzSumo is just one of the places that can help you answer that question. Type in your subject of interest and see what other people wrote and how many shares they got. The idea is not to copy their content, but to get inspired into creating your own take on the subject or adding to their articles.


Next up, head on to a keyword planner to find out what people are searching for. If you can attract more organic traffic, the social shares will follow naturally.


2. Start with a Pain Point

Head on to Quora and see what questions people are asking about your industry. Answer them and become a thought leader through social shares. Even more, starting with a potential customer’s pain point also increases your chances of turning visitors into buyers. After all, you have the solution they’ve been searching for, don’t you?


I also like to take a quick look at Reddit. This social network is too often overlooked by marketers. If you head on to a relevant subreddit in your field, you will find a goldmine of discussions that you can create valuable content around. Most subreddits have very strict policies, so your research job will be quite easy, as you don’t have to cut through the noise (like you sometimes need to on Facebook or Twitter).


Looking at Twitter’s trending hashtags is also a good starting point, especially if you can produce content relatively fast. If you’re trying to become part of a time-sensitive conversation, there’s no point in doing so after the subject has died off.


Bottom line: your goal is to get social shares so, logically, your research starting point should be social networks.


3. Go Visual

Tweets with images get 150 percent more retweets than those without. Also, Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times higher engagement rates than those without, according to a study conducted by BuzzSumo.


You need to have at least one image to pair your content with when you share it on social media. But what about the blog post itself?


It turns out that adding one image after each 75-100 words of your blog post helps you double your amount of shares. We all know Neil Patel uses this strategy and now we have the numbers that explain why.


As visual marketing is growing in importance and relevance, so are the tools that help you create engaging visual content. There’s no reason to despair if your Photoshop skills could be better. Here’s how to get images that, in turn, get you social shares:


Head on to Canva and create custom images – you need no graphic design skills to use it.


Link to graphs and infographics published by other thought leaders in your field (ALWAYS add sources).


If you’re a Buffer user, you’re in luck. You can create custom photos from its Web interface.


Use stock photos. However, be sure to read the fine print before using free ones – nothing is really free.


4. Write Killer Headlines

According to a recent study, 59 percent of social shares aren’t clicked on. This means that people share articles without reading them; they only base their decision on the headline.


While this may seem a bit discouraging (why bother writing an awesome article if people are just going to read the headline?), it is, in fact, a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Here’s how to write headlines that get shared:


Use numbers (like this article’s headline does).


Make a promise: “Learn how to write highly shareable content” (and keep it.)


Keep it short: ideally, your headline should have between six and eight words. If you can’t keep it that short, try to never go beyond 15.


Refer to the audience: “All copywriters need to read this article” is a great way to get both traffic and social shares.


Use a question: “Want to know how to write sharable blog posts? Read this!”


Bottom line: The headline should be actionable and give your audience a clear idea about what they will read if they click on your link. Being creative is great, but don’t overdo it. You don’t need fancy words, just a very short summary of what people are about to read.


5. Use Social Share Buttons and Ask Readers to Share Your Post

Having the social share buttons handy is always a good idea. They allow your readers to share your post without too much effort. Plus, they are very easy to add on any CMS that you may be using for your blog. Ideally, you should use the ones that also show the number of shares you’ve had so far. Remember what I said earlier about popularity being contagious? When people see that your article has already been shared several hundred times, they’ll be more inclined to press the button, too.


If the buttons are too subtle or you notice they don’t work, "Source: -" it never hurts to ask your readers to share your post. Don’t worry; this is won’t make you look desperate, especially if you do it the right way. The truth is that, no matter how much they enjoy your content, people sometimes forget about the sharing option.


I remember that one of my favorite travel bloggers used to end his posts with something like this: “If you found my article useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends.” This reminder was actually useful in my case – I know a lot of my friends love travel tips, but I don’t always remember to share every single one I see.


It’s not that hard to create sharable content

Contrary to popular belief, highly sharable content is not reserved solely for websites like BuzzFeed or CNN. Irrespective of your industry, a great copywriter can always make your ideas shine using the five secrets above.