social media toolsDo you want more blog readers?

Are you looking for creative tools to increase your exposure?

When people share your blog content with friends, they help build your readership.

In this article you’ll discover four often-overlooked tools that encourage social sharing to draw more readers to your blog.

#1: Reveal Content After Shares

When a person clicks a social share icon on your blog, your post shows up in their news feed where their friends can see it. This explicit endorsement (social proof) of your content draws in new readers.

After all, those friends probably have similar interests. When they see a trusted friend recommend your blog post, they are more likely to click through and read it.

If you want more shares—to get that all-important social proof—you have to ask for them, right? Including a specific call to action in your blog posts is an effective way to get shares, but have you thought about adding an incentive?

Social Locker is a clever WordPress plugin that allows you to show part of a post, and then ask your readers for a social share in order to see the rest. It’s a win-win exchange. Your reader gets access to additional content and you get the social shares you need to reach more people.

social locker plugin

Social Locker lets you reveal content after a reader shares.

Incentivizing social shares is a surefire tactic for rapidly growing your blog readership.

For this trading tactic to work well, you have to convince the reader that your post is so valuable it’s worth the trade—and then deliver on that promise. Try it out with a comprehensive list post packed with useful information.

I’ve tried this plugin myself and had success. Here are some stats from my top posts this year.

social locker stats

Trade access to awesome content for social shares.

As you can see, 32% of the people visiting my top blog post shared it with their audience. Based on these numbers, I plan to use Social Locker in future posts to jumpstart sharing and attract more readers.

This plugin isn’t just for new posts. Try it out on evergreen list posts to get more eyes on that useful content.

#2: Make It Easy for Readers to Share

I love big, fat, yellow highlighters, but since I can’t mark up my screen, I often cut and paste passages of text into my notepad or Trello for future use and sharing. I’ve discovered that many others do this as well.

SumoMe (a WordPress plugin) helps streamline that process for your readers. When a reader highlights a sentence in your article, SumoMe opens a window that’s pre-populated with the highlighted passage—along with Twitter and Facebook share icons. You let your visitors share the most interesting bits of your post with a single click.

sumome highlighted tweet

Make it easy for readers to share the most important parts of your blog post.

If you want to keep track of how many times people use SumoMe to tweet your posts, here’s a hack to append some tracking information to each tweet.

When you configure the SumoMe settings, add a hashtag along with your Twitter username. See below:

sumome tracking

Get credit for your great information when people share it via Twitter.

You can search for the hashtag on Twitter to get a quick look at how many times your readers used the tool to tweet snippets of your post.

#3: Automatically Distribute Articles offers a number of ways to automatically publish your blog posts to popular social platforms. But did you know it can publish Google Alerts in your RSS feed?

google alert tracking

Set up topic-specific Google Alerts to share via RSS.

Yep. pushes your Google Alerts content to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn company page or Tumblr accounts.

Publishing targeted, keyword-specific Google Alerts could have a big impact on enticing readers to click through to your blog (and, we hope, share the information in their social feeds).

It also helps people find you through search. When they click through and like what they see, they may become regular visitors.

Increasing your sharing frequency with increases the reach of your blog post promotion tweets and brings in new readers.

#4: Share Evergreen Content

Just because a post is old doesn’t mean it lacks value. In fact, some of your oldest posts may have some of your best content! Unfortunately these evergreen posts are often a neglected resource.

The Evergreen Post Tweeter WordPress plugin selects older articles from your archives and tweets them to your audience for renewed exposure.

evergreen post tweeter settings

Configure Evergreen Post Tweeter to tweet posts that are older than 30 days and have been published within the last year.

Schedule your tweets at times you’ll be online so you can respond to any follow-up retweets or replies. Automation is great, but it isn’t a substitute for engagement.

I like to tweet posts from specific categories so I can be sure my best content is seen. For example, I categorize posts with date-constrained information (e.g., Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie) as “News” and configure Evergreen Post Tweeter so it doesn’t tweet posts tagged with that category.

Wrap Up

Building your blog traffic is an ongoing exercise, but new readers will come as long as you’re persistent and systematic.

Use the tools in this article to encourage existing readers and new visitors to share your blog posts more often. As your articles find their way into more social news feeds and streams, you’ll attract a growing readership.

As you track your success with each tool, you can decide which ones work for you (maybe they all will!) and stick with those.

What do you think? What tools do you use to attract new blog readers? Do you have advice for growing a blog audience? Share your insights in the comments below.

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  • igor Griffiths

    Well hello Stan, great list and I was considering doing something similar to the social share with a free membership site to gain new members, will have to take a look at testing this for my most targeted actionable blog content.

  • I love the idea of #1, but I get stuck. How can you ask people to endorse something they haven’t read?

  • Jimmie

    I have the opposite reaction, Michael. Whenever I come across a SocialLocker-type post (or their cousin, the “Take this short poll to read this” post). I immediately stop reading and go somewhere else. They make me feel like the site owner is tricking me into a transaction. If the post is useful to me, I’ll share it. If it’s not, I won’t. I’ll decide that for myself.

  • Stan, nice list of tools. absolutely. social proof is the #1 way to build credibility. I like your idea of force-share in #1, but have a strong feeling it will only work for bloggers who are already popular – have a big enough audience “waiting”. its hard to negotiate the luxury of read in-return-for a share for others. What has been your insights ?

  • Stanford Smith

    I’ve found that placement of the Share call to action is key. I recommend delivering 50% of the content before the prompt. This gives the reader the opportunity to evaluate the content before being asked to share.

  • Stanford Smith

    Readers will share content that is helpful and relevant. In my experience, blogger popularity isn’t critical for shares but information usefulness. Read my Response to Michael Hyatt for placement ideas.

  • Stanford Smith

    I’m a big believer in Test, Evaluate, Act. Test the Social Locker and see if your post generates the shares. Let the data inform your decision. Almost every marketing decision I’ve made on a hunch or personal preference has been wrong.

  • Jimmie

    Agreed. Clearly, Social Locker works for Stan. I’m suggesting, though, it might cause a strong negative reaction you might not get from other means. I don’t quite know how to test that reaction, though, save to use my own feelings toward the method. If I’d hate it with the heat of a thousand blazing suns, I have to assume some portion of my readers will, too.

    Are the extra shares worth the unknown, but surely present, level of hate?

  • popping it half way down the content is a good idea. thanks Stan.

  • Good points @JimmieBJr:disqus. I have used Social Locker for a while on my own site on some posts and I think it has a place.

    I think the key is being transparent with readers on what they are getting.

    For example, when used in the right context such as offering a free ebook for social sharing, this can reward both the reader and the site; however, I also can see your point on how this can be abused when not used in the right context.

  • Jimmie

    That’s a good point, Christian. If you teased a chapter or two, then dropped the Social Locker on it, fair play to you! You’d have done what a lot of authors done, but in a more immediate and controllable way.

  • Marquita Herald

    Re Social Locker I’d be interested to see your social share stats before using the plugin because there’s no way to know from what’s shown how much of an improvement you’ve seen. In any case, a blogger I knew tested this plugin for while and while I normally read and share her content, this just put me off too much so I stopped following her until she removed it.

  • I love and I think those are good ideas and I’ll definitely be trying them. I have a very strong visceral hatred for things like Social Locker, and I would never inflict them on my followers, but I respect that others think they’re worth a try. I don’t, and I won’t follow someone who uses those tools. That’s enough information to me to know I wouldn’t be comfortable using them myself. But Sumo. me and look amazing, and I can’t wait to try them.

  • First: #4 is my favorite, and from my experience, it’s totally underutilized. People spend so many resources on generating content, it’s in their best interest to get as much playing time for it as possible.

    Second: I’m the same, regarding letting the data inform my decision, but the tricky thing about it is that you can’t measure what you can’t see, i.e. how many shares you would have naturally gotten without using Social Locker, and is the improvement enough to warrant continued implementation? Also, you can’t measure the number of people who bounce because of Social Locker, nor the change in sentiment towards the brand. Such a limited amount of data can’t tell a truthful story. Daniel Khaneman refers to this logical bias as “What You See is All There Is” in his book Thinking Fast and Slow. Here’s a snippet about WYSIATI for anyone who might be interested:,_Fast_and_Slow#Optimism_and_loss_aversion

    Third: I really like Christian’s use case as described below. Spot on. 🙂

  • The main problem with the plugin comes from the fact that people use it in all kinds of nasty ways associated with fake titles: “Guess who was seen flirting with Emma Stone”. After you click the like button you see it’s only a picture with her sitting at a table with a random guy.

    There is no good side to the plugin, you exchange your true followers for one time visitors. If you are building a brand that’s a huuuuuge mistake.

    @ckarasiewicz:disqus, you, sir, are one of the very few that use this plugin in a smart, non-intrusive way and i applaud you for that (presuming you show a teaser of the ebook and calculating that in an ebook you put more effort than in a normal article)

    Else, it’s just terrible to rate something before you would read it.

  • For “Social Locker” there are plugins (Chrome/Firefox) that can disable it and unlock the content without any like/tweet/share

  • Thanks Stan for the tips

  • This is a nice one information about blog content, i am glad to read this information and sharing every one to increase web optimization.

  • Thanks for the kind words @disqus_8Xseq23qJn:disqus.

  • Jitendra Padmashali

    Hey Smith, Great one, Content publishers all have the same goal in mind when it comes to building their website: get more followers! If done correctly, more followers can mean more loyal visitors and brand advocates of your site and content.

  • Stanford Smith

    That’s a great example Christian!

    What I appreciate the most about your approach is that you took the tool and found a way to make it work with your strategy and audience. This way you benefited from it rather than losing out on potential traffic.

    Great work roomie!

  • Stanford Smith

    Excellent points Melissa!

    In the case of Social Locker I tried to minimize the blowback by delivering most of my post’s content before requesting a share for the rest.

    Christian’s use case is instructive too. In his case, Social Locker was used as a “payment processor” pay for the ebook with a share.

    Using the same theme you could use Social Locker to deliver “Action Plans” for webinar participants, Worksheets to supplement blog posts, etc.

    The key as I mentioned in my reply to Christian is to ask “How can I make this work for me?” before discounting the tool or tactic.

  • Thanks for sharing Stan. I was wondering how that tool would be called (Social Locker), and as much as I hate it, I am going to test it on 1-2 articles on my blog. If I can get a few more shares with something like that every now and then, I wouldn’t mind at all. But I will most definitely not place that on every article.
    Love the comments about this topic. Lots of great pros and cons.

  • Thanks @stanford_smith:disqus, great job on the article.

  • My gut reaction was the same as what you describe here, Jimmie. Asking me to share something before I read it sounds manipulative, and I almost always click out of pieces that ask me to do such things.

    In fact, I click away from nearly every page that asks me to do any sort of second step before reading the content. Maybe I’m just stubborn that way, but I would rather go through additional steps elsewhere — e.g., Google search — than click something that makes me feel like I’m being used.

    That said, it sounds like the tool/tactic works and taking Stanford Smith’s recommendation into account — i.e., “delivering 50% of the content before the prompt” — sounds like a way to get past feeling like I’d be turning away readers.

  • Great article Stan! Curious if you’ve ever tried other twitter publishing platforms such as or ?