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The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating Content That Gets Shared Creating content is just one part of the equation. You then have to make sure people are reading it and spreading the word.

By Adam Toren

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating valuable content takes a lot of time and effort. Sure, anyone can throw together a string of sentences and call it content, but the stuff that gets shared is the content that really adds value to your business.

Great content will help solidify not only your business, but also establish your credibility in your space. To make a real splash out of the work that goes into creating content, you'll want to also make sure it's viral and sharable.

Related: 3 Often-Ignored Aspects of Content Marketing

Leveraging your content to its greatest advantage is crucial to your marketing strategy. So if great content is a must, how do you get your audience to actually share it?

1. Make it special.

When you personalize your content, you're ensuring that it will go viral because it's going to provide the most value to your audience. The saying goes that which is most personal is most universal, so don't be afraid to really hook your audience in a way that sticks.

One great tip is to identify your audience's "pain point" first and then write your content to meet and satisfy that special need. Once you've identified that pain point, write your headline as the exact question you're answering and solving.

For example, if you're in the content marketing business, one of your client's chief complaints might be that they have paid for content in the past that wasn't worth anything. So how can they tell when they're hiring and paying for a great content writer or a piece of content? Make the focus of your content meet that audience and hook them with a headline such as, "Tired of wasting money on lame content?" or something to that effect.

A company looking for content would be likely to at least click on and read your content. If what's inside is as good as your hook, then they'll probably share it because it added value to their lives and might do so for those in their circles. By focusing on your special niche and their specific pain point, your audience will be more inclined to share.

Related: 5 Ways Content Marketing Can Create Brand Loyalty

2. Make it easy.

You posts should be easily sharable. If your audience gets done with your post and is thinking how awesome it is, they should be able to click a single button to spread the word to their networks. If you aren't embedding share widgets into all your content then you are making a costly mistake. Optimize your site and your content to make sharing easy.

Readers shouldn't have to log in to your site to see content, much less to share it. Make sharing as easy as the click of a button and use widgets to auto populate the text for them. Explore in-text social share widgets, too, such as TweetDis, which highlights and shares specific passages of your content to Twitter. Also check out share widgets and plugins for WordPress such as Shareaholic.

3. Make the ask.

Don't forget the power of actually making the "ask" to your audience to share. At the end of your post or content, ask your audience to share with their circles. Sometimes a simple request to help spread the word is enough to get people sharing.

If you aren't seeing traction with the ask-nicely method, you can look into content lockers that actually freeze aspects of your content from further reading until your audience takes some action and shares the word. This isn't a tactic you should probably use on every piece of content, but it can prove effective for your most valuable pieces to get the boost they need. Look at tools such as Social Share and Locker Pro.

Related: Gary Vaynerchuk On Creating the Best Content Possible

Adam Toren

Serial entrepreneur, mentor, advisor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Adam Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Matthew, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Phoenix, Ariz.

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