Every law firm hopes their content will be well received and shared widely. It’s a great feeling when you see articles you’ve thoughtfully crafted spread to new audiences by appreciative readers. Validation + added exposure = WIN! Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t happen as often as you think it should, and that’s not always a result of less-than-stellar writing or other obvious factors.
What makes some content more sharable? If you’re publishing well written, useful and accurate information, is its ultimate reach simply a matter of luck? While luck and the size of your original audience play a role, there are other factors that contribute to how frequently your content is shared. If you’d like to see your content go farther, consider these issues:
- Visual appeal. Take an objective look at the page where your article lives. Is it busy and chaotic, or disorienting? Stark and desolate? Are you reminded of web pages dating back to the 1990s? Humans are visually oriented creatures, to a significant degree, so the sheer attractiveness of a page will have a powerful impact on how we feel about its content. Fair? Maybe not, but it’s a fact. Choose lovely graphics that complement the subject matter and haven’t been overused. Look at the page layout and the elements on it to make sure they’re an asset, not a detraction. Select readable fonts and pleasant colors. Content may be king, but the setting in which it appears matters mightily.
- Respect for readers’ time. Your readers are busy people, just like you. They’re interested in your content because it offers them useful information to help them with issues that matter to them, but if it takes too long to access that content, the value it contains decreases significantly (and they’ll look elsewhere). Page load times play a big role in bounce rates, so it’s important to minimize wait time. Compare your article’s load time with that of your favorite website. If yours has a perceptible lag, consider talking to a web developer about how to increase your load speed. Also remember that making your points in the fewest words possible is usually the best approach. Unless you’re a novelist or a poet, try to get to the point quickly without being terse.
- The frustration factor. Readers click on a link because they want to see the promised content. Barriers between the first click and the actual content rank somewhere between rush hour commutes and four-hour waits in the dentist’s office on most people’s lists of favorite things. Pop-up ads, autoplaying videos that must be manually turned off, and “continue to site” or other annoying interstitials are often death blows to what might otherwise be perfectly delightful content – if we could ever get to it. Even interesting content that’s been tasted before the interference begins, as in the case of overly paginated articles, won’t lure most readers to deal with the hassle of reading it.
Give your content the best chance at a long and well traveled life by making sure it’s easy to access, quick to load and visually appealing. You’ve worked hard to find the right words; don’t let the internet equivalent of the TSA hijack it before it ever leaves home.