Not too long ago, you could often bank on a high volume of social shares for well-written content and a subsequent spike in referral traffic. But as the 2018 BuzzSumo Research Report discovered, there’s been a massive decline in social sharing.
Here are the details and advice for increasing the exposure of your legal content.
A 50 Percent Drop
“Social sharing of content has been cut in half since 2015,” reports BuzzSumo. While the median number of social shares was eight in 2015, that number had fallen to just four in 2017.
This is a major blow for many marketers who use social media referrals to generate a sizable portion of their traffic.
What Caused This Decline?
BuzzSumo points out three specific factors:
- Increased competition
- A rise in private sharing (Business Insider explains that messaging apps have surpassed social networks, and many people are now sharing content through this medium)
- Facebook algorithm changes
In terms of Facebook algorithm changes, BuzzSumo adds, “Brands and publishers are gaining less organic referral traffic from Facebook and less engagement with their Facebook posts.”
According to a separate study by EdgeRank Checker, “Organic reach for the average Facebook Page was only 6.5 percent in March 2014.” And you can bet that the number is even lower in 2018. So in other words, fewer people are seeing your content in Facebook.
The Big Picture
What’s really happening here is legal sites (and sites across all industries) with strong reputations and original, authoritative content are winning and getting the vast majority of social shares. They’re flourishing, while others with less authority and credibility are languishing. The rich get richer, while the poor get poorer.
What You Can Do About It
Adaptation is essential here. It’s important that you understand the new marketing reality we’re living in and adjust your approach accordingly. There are three things that I recommend doing.
One is to create well-researched, authoritative content that’s borderline journalistic in its format. It’s all about delivering real value that’s backed up by sound data. What you want to stay away from is “hype-driven” content like clickbait titles and listicles.
If you can do your own original research, that’s even better. Longform articles, whitepapers and reports containing original research tend to dominate and often receive a surplus of social shares and backlinks. Of course these are inherently onerous, but should be well worth the effort. Even if you only produce one or two of these pieces a year, you should be in good shape.
Third, try to jump on a trending topic early in its lifecycle. Search Engine Journal explains, “If your site can establish itself in the early stages of a trending topic, as both authoritative on the topic and willing to take a stand on it, your content can buck the trend of declining shares and search engine power.”
Social sharing simply isn’t what it used to be. Unless you’re a big name publication with mega brand equity, you’ve got to scratch and claw your way to getting social shares and backlinks. But by altering your strategy, you should still be able to maintain a healthy traffic volume and steadily grow your legal brand.
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