Monday, October 27, 2014

What Makes a Blog Post Shareable?

In the previous blog post, we proposed that comics creators can start building an audience by creating and sharing comics blog posts as an alternative to the usual text posts.

The idea is that when a comics creator creates engaging comics blog posts, these posts have a high chance of being shared.

The shareability of a blog post is important. When people like something they see on the Web, there's a good chance that they'll share it, which leads to the comics creator's website getting more visits. This is an important step in attracting fans.

But what kind of blog posts gets more shares? It boils down to three things: Topic, Format, and Takeaway.

Topics for Comics Blog Posts

To know what topics are good for comics blog posts, we only have to look at our Facebook news feeds to see what people are sharing. Usually, these are general-interest topics, or topics that a wide audience is interested in:

Dating and Romance
Career and Making Money
Fitness and Health
Parenting and Home Life
Self-Help and Practical Psychology
Gadgets and Consumer Technology
Pop Culture
Politics and Society
Sports and Recreation

So it boils down to anything you want that's relevant to the general public. And that's the beauty of creating these comics blog posts. You don't have to create characters, or choose a genre. Your source of inspiration is your life and subjects that interests you, as long as the general public can relate to them. (If you're interested in nuclear science, that may not be a good topic to start with.)

Choose a few general categories that you feel comfortable talking about. In my case, for instance, I like talking about working out (or the lack of it), cooking, self-help, and writing. So I can create comics blog posts around these topics.

When you begin to focus on a few topics and regularly release comics blog posts that talk about them, you're building an identity. You're beginning to build a brand around yourself as a comics creator.

Format for Comics Blog Posts

Here's a list of formatting options for comics blog posts, based on information from marketing experts:

1) Lists
For Example: Five New Uses for Your Obsolete Mobile Phone

2) How-Tos
For Example: The Quickest Way to Pack for a Month-Long Vacation

3) What Ifs
For Example: What If Famous Historical Figures Could Tweet

4) Opinions
For Example: Why Fairy Tales Should Be Banned

5) Discoveries
For Example: What You Didn’t Know About Nursery Rhymes

The advantage the comics creator has in creating blog posts like these is that these posts are image-driven, and image-driven posts perform better overall compared to posts that are in plain text.

Takeaway for Comics Blog Posts

The Takeaway is, essentially, what is it that you want the reader to take from your blog post. The key here is providing value. If the reader doesn't see any value, if your blog post doesn't affect the reader in some fundamental way, then the reader may just move on.

1) Useful information. The takeaway is utility. Examples of this are wikiHow, HowStuffWorks, or websites and blogs that specialize in practical solutions. People visit these sites because they have a problem that needs a solution, even if it’s as simple as teeth whitening, removing a stubborn car stain, or which tools are best for inking comics art.

2) Cautionary information. The takeaway is also utility. These articles play on audience’s fears by essentially saying, “You have to read this or else...” Health and money articles are more often structured this way to encourage clicks.

3) Insight. The takeaway is a different way of looking at a life concern. Examples of this are Upworthy, ThoughtCatalog, or websites and blogs that provide inspiration, spiritual guidance, or a unique point of view. Commentary and opinion articles also fall under this category.

4) Positive Emotions. The takeaway is humor. These are your Buzzfeeds, 9gags, and CollegeHumors. Their main focus is not useful information or insight, but more on giving people something to laugh about, or at least something that’s not sad.

Choose a Topic, Format, and Takeaway to Make a Comics Blog Post

So, for instance, you're the guy who doesn't have a lot of time in his hands and you find yourself using the microwave a lot for your meals. That's something a lot of people can relate to. What kind of comics blog post can you create from that?

1) You could create a List post containing Useful Information, like Three Quick Microwave Meals For The Time-Starved Artist
2) Or a How To post to elicit Positive Emotions, like How To Microwave A Zombie For Dinner

All it takes is a little creativity, and a desire to provide value, even if it's just something that gives a good dose of amusement.

Add an Intriguing Headline

Look at the examples of headlines I've given above:

Five New Uses for Your Obsolete Mobile Phone
The Quickest Way to Pack for a Month-Long Vacation
What If Famous Historical Figures Could Tweet

Personally, I dislike click-bait headlines, or headlines worded in such a way that they compel you to click on them. But I only dislike them if I don't get a good pay-off.

So make your headline intriguing enough, but at the same time deliver on your promise.

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