At last, at the age of 22 I can truly be an expert on something: knowing if your blog posts are successfully circling the internet. The number of unique page views for a given article is just one piece of understanding the online impact of your article. In order to get the full picture, you need to consider how many “Internet Points” your article is accumulating.
Internet Points represent all the social media shares and likes a given article accumulates over time. It’s a colloquial term I came up with that approximates your article’s online visibility. Facebook shares, retweets and upvotes on reddit all achieve the same thing: getting your article out to a wider audience online.
Look up any article. It could be a satirical piece from The Onion, a lifestyle article on Forbes or a list of fun facts about The Avengers on BuzzFeed. All of them have a section where you can share the article on a social media platform of your choice (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, reddit, etc.). Next to the individual social media icons you’ll see numbers indicating the unique shares and likes: those numbers are the article’s Internet Points. To be clear, Internet Points are not the be-all and end-all in determining whether or not you’re a good writer. However, understanding the significance of Internet Points is invaluable to gauging the success of your blogs at a glance.
Know Your Own Turf
The first step for properly using Internet Points is checking out the average number of Internet Points for your past blog posts and the posts of fellow authors on your website. You could create an exhaustive list to get an exact number of Internet Points, but a general number works just as well. Knowing that general number for your website is essential before you start comparing the success of your posts to competitors’ websites and other websites in general: Just because a successful Forbes article averages 157 Facebook shares, 212 tweets, and 50 LinkedIn shares doesn’t mean your blog posts have to reach those numbers to be considered successful.
Beat the Average
Once you know the average number of Internet Points per blog on your website, it’s time to beat the average. If blogs average 40 Facebook shares, 26 Facebook Likes, 31 tweets, and 14 LinkedIn shares for a total of 111 Internet Points, find out how many of your blog posts top that number. This step on its own is a very quick and effective way of gauging the popularity of your blogs against your previous works and the works of other team members.
Improving Your Score
Now that you’ve got the scoop on the significance of Internet Points, how can you acquire more of them? First, look over all of your blog posts and see which one of them has the most Internet Points and which one of them has the least. In terms of content and structure are there any similarities? Is one topic in particular generating a ton of social shares? Are articles with infographics falling flat? Are your top five lists all big hits? Outside of identifying popular and unpopular trends and themes in your previous blog posts, there are some surefire ways to improve your score.
A little self-promotion can go a long way. After your post goes live, give it a share on your own Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Include a brief, but descriptive blurb about your post that doesn’t sound like you’re begging for views (i.e. the words “please read!” should never pop up). This will easily bring in friends of yours that might not have been initially interested in the topic, but interested in your take on it.
Link your previous posts in new articles where appropriate. Why boost the score of one article when you can potentially double down and give your old works more visibility as well? If you’re working on a piece about copywriting, provide a link to your big hit (or not so big hit) article on headlines in the relevant area. Make sure you’re presenting the link in a way that shows it’s there to provide the reader with additional important information, rather than fishing for more hits.
Search engine optimization is something to always keep in mind for improving your score. Make sure your piece has common keywords that a potential reader would type into Google, and that your title has everything to do with your article. Don’t be afraid of a little bit of repetition when it comes to using keywords; keep things common. You can vary your sentence structure and bust out the thesaurus elsewhere if you feel the need, but if you’re writing about graphic design, keep saying “graphic design” not “artistic architecture.” Similarly, if you’re writing about building social relationships, your title shouldn’t be “Handshakes with a Dog.”
Hashtags are very similar to keywords in blogs, but play a large role in giving your article more visibility when you’re sharing them on Facebook or Twitter. You don’t want to go overboard and start hash tagging unnecessary things like #goodread #sharewithyourfriends, but hash tagging a few keywords will always increase your piece’s visibility. Some appropriate hashtags for this article would be #socialmedia #betterblogposts and #socialshares.
So, after you digest this information, get back out there and break some personal high scores! Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and keep on writing.