When it comes to getting their content shared, some websites have got it and others haven’t. But what’s the difference between a site that has its content shared daily on a global scale, and one which struggles to reach beyond Tina in accounting? To answer this key content marketing question, it may help to take a closer look at a site which is clearly excelling at spreading its content far and wide.

The BBC News website may not be a commercially driven site, but it certainly appears to be doing something right in the social sphere. According to research conducted by PeerIndex and published on Econsultancy, the Beeb’s site was the most shared news website on Twitter in the UK during the month of January. With approximately 4.3m article shares by UK Twitter users, it dwarfed the efforts of its closest competitor, the Guardian with just 2.4m.

So what is it that makes Auntie Beeb’s content so shareable, and what can businesses do to emulate her success?

The bedrock of content marketing: variety 

Variety is the spice of life, and should be at the heart of a good content strategy. The BBC News site offers a mixture of news articles, more in-depth features and other content. In a similar way, businesses may benefit from producing a wide spectrum of shareable content, from topical blog posts and ‘how to’ articles to white papers.

Intriguing, non-polarising headers and titles

A quick look at the BBC’s current list of most shared articles reveals short snappy titles which are designed to provoke interest without polarising opinions, including ‘Northern Lights illuminate the UK’ and ‘Woman in coma told to “find work”.

Compare this with the longer, more emotive headlines of the Daily Mail’s website (which received less than 500,000 Twitter shares in January), such as “Shocking moment heroin couple kidknapped terrified quadriplegic man and robbed him of just £6 to fund their drug habit’, and the difference is plain to see. While the Mail plays to the perceived sensibilities of its core audience, the BBC adopts a more inclusive and straight-forward style which businesses may be able to learn from.

Highlighted key points and statistics

While the main body of the content flows smoothly, the BBC makes extensive use of pull quotes and inset statistics to get key points across more quickly. This helps to grab the attention of the initial reader, and makes the more content more accessible to those arriving through social media channels. Being able to engage readers quickly, whatever channel they access your content through is a key point of content marketing.

Prominent social sharing buttons

There’s probably a roughly five-second window between someone deciding to share a piece of content, and them deciding it’s too much effort. Make it quick and easy – put your social sharing buttons somewhere noticeable and obvious, such as above your text or just below it.

Opportunities for comment where appropriate

The most successful social content gets people talking. If you think it’s appropriate, give readers the opportunity to get involved by commenting on the subjects discussed, as the BBC does on selected pieces of content.

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