When it comes to people sharing your content, connections can be grouped into three circles. Ultimately, you want to reach your third circle, the Holy Grail, by initially captivating your first circle, who, conveniently enough are the connections closest to you already.
Let me explain.
The first circle.
These are the connections that are closest to you. They share your stuff regularly because they know and trust you. They could be part of your personal life, loyal customers or dedicated followers. They are what is known as your ‘brand fans’.
The second circle.
These are friends of your brand fans in the first circle. They see your stuff regularly too, but only because the first circle keep sharing it. They are your first circle connections’ brand fans.
The third circle.
These are connections of your second circle. They are even further away from you. There is no sentimentality here. These people don’t know you and they don’t know your closest friends (or fans). But, they are the most important connections if you are looking to get the most out of your content.
To put it simply, third circle group members are who you should have in mind when you’re making content. If you get in front of the third circle (many never really do), people there most likely have no prior connection to your business at all. When someone in your third circle shares your content, they’re doing it entirely due to how great an informational source it is. It is worthy of being shared, completely on its own merits. When that happens consistently, you’ve found the Holy Grail of Content Sharing.
These third circle sharers may be your social influencers, but not necessarily.
How to reach the third circle
- Slow and steady progress.
Remember how the tortoise beat the hare? Slow and steady. That huge content hit is very very rare. Usually, when something goes viral it was preceded by a consistent and gradual stream of excellent content.
- Captivate your first circle.
They are the ones who share your stuff most consistently.
- Start with email.
Reaching the third circle should always start with email, not social media. Your pieces of web content must all focus primarily on getting the email as the call to action. Social sharing often starts and ends with email.
- Don’t gate your content.
Don’t hold your content hostage, waiting for people’s information before you’ll free it for them to see. You can ask for the email address in a variety of ways, but you should still allow them easy and free access to the content. For example, you don’t need their email address before they can download your lead generation guide. Start with getting them to opt-in to your content, they’ll want to stay in ‘touch’ and then continuously send them the best information for your chosen niche.
- Become the leading information provider for your niche.
Content which is OK will never get you further than the first circle. Third-circle content requires thought leading and industry dominance. At a minimum, set this as your target. Why else did you get into the business? For more information on becoming a thought leader, check out my article Questions Are the Number 1 Tip for Your Content Strategy.