The aim of this post is to examine how readers have engaged with wind power social media content in terms of sharing, liking, and commenting on pages over the last 12 months.
Well, most wind companies have some sort of social presence. They throw links on these accounts whenever they publish something new on their sites. It’s a big opportunity for amplification but few of these social media posts really take off.
What a waste.
Because in addition to driving traffic, driving social shares and engagement of your site’s content is also an essential ranking factor for Google.
What you will learn from this post.
How many stories, containing various wind power-related keywords or phrases, were shared on social media this year. How they performed in terms of engagement (shares, likes, and comments).
How wind energy-related content is distributed across social media. The best social networks to share different types of an article on. What formats work best. What wind turbine manufacturer is best at sharing its content. What sites are most adept at pushing editorial through social platforms and how they do it.
Most of all it will show you how to make your own content distribution more effective.
Moreover, I’ve tested this approach with this post on Windturbiner, which received over 300 shares on LinkedIn.
Note. In the process of writing this post, Facebook announced it was removing Business Pages from Newsfeed. Although outside of the scope of this post, I’ve included a few thoughts on it here.
Index – how different keyword-focused articles fare on social media.
- Wind Energy
- Wind Turbine
- Wind Turbine Maintenance
- Wind Turbine Blade
- Vestas Wind
- Siemens Gamesa
- GE Wind
- Overall Conclusion and Learnings
According to SEO-tool Ahrefs, ‘Wind energy’ is one of the most searched for phrases related to the sector. It also delivered 19,000 pages that were published and shared an average of 210 times over the last year.
Most shared content (per article)
As this is a more general term it brought up generic articles. The most-shared article for the year was typical of this. It appeared in futurism.com and received 200,000 shares on Facebook, and just 9 on LinkedIn.
The word count was only 425. However, the positive angle and headline of the story played a big part in gaining it traction. Many of the most shared posts appear either as evidence of the growth of renewables, or the opposite.
Pro-tip: Studies have shown people are most likely to share or engage with content that provokes an emotion, regardless of whether it is happiness, anger, laughter etc. Or backs up something they agree with.
Platform – Facebook comes out on top
As the Futurism article shows, Facebook is the top platform for sharing content under this keyword, which is unsurprising given its generality.
The average engagement per page (shares, likes, comments) on Facebook is 113 compared to 31 on LinkedIn. In terms of domains, the strongest is Cleantechnica.com with over 727 shares across 191 pages.
It is also worth noting that Twitter also came out quite well. It beat LinkedIn with an engagement score of 82 for stories under 1000-words. LinkedIn scored 28.
Typical headlines for well-shared articles include:
- Wind power reaches 100K job milestone
- Google is officially 100% sun and wind powered – 3.0 gigawatts worth
- Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Make Money
Content Analysis – mostly short and positive
The high number of “Wind Energy” shares provided data on an array of formats, including ebooks and audio.
For example, one of the best-performing pages on this query was a 300-word story from the Economist that featured interactive graphics. Additionally, regular static infographics perform well.
Pro Tip: comments are an important ranking factor.
When it comes to comments, many of the best-performing articles take either a strongly positive or negative viewpoint towards wind energy.
The majority of the shared stories were positive, such as this story about free electricity in Germany that received 2,000 comments.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. One of the best stories in terms of comments was this article in Breitbart. It received a high number of shares and comments.
However, both this and the free electricity article are similar. They both appeal directly to the beliefs of a particular audience subset. One thinks renewable energy is great. The other the opposite.
Elsewhere, in terms of content length long-form content (1500+ words) performed better for wind specific inquiries (for example ‘Wind turbine blades’ or ‘Vestas Wind’).
But here only 4.2% of articles were over 2000-words long and scored an average engagement score (shares, comments, and likes) of 207.
While 500-1000 words have an average engagement score of 308.
Keywords: Wind Turbine is the most searched for wind power-related terms. At the most conservative, the phrase is searched for around 14,000 times a month.
Again, a large proportion of these shares and best-performing pages are from non-industry sources.
Most shared – wind turbine video comes out on top
There were 8,400 pages published with this word with an average share rate of 295 per post. Video is the most shared form of content with around 215 shares, comments, and likes per post, despite featuring only 6% of the posts analysed.
Articles come next with 270 shares per post, with infographics in third with 173 shares.
Popular subjects include the themes of ‘how’ and ‘why’. Typical headlines including:
- How to build a wind turbine
- For the cost of an iPhone, a wind turbine can power a house
- For the First Time, Wind on the Plains Supplied More Than Half Region’s Power
Despite articles coming in second in terms of engagement, they made up around 82% of the total pages shared through social media. While infographics scored an average engagement score of 169 despite only returning 16 results.
Tip: you have far more chance scoring a hit if you use alternative formats to text-based articles. Videos and infographics did well in this area and appeared to be underused.
This post from CNN showing a lorry negotiating a wind turbine blade around a corner is one of the most shared “wind turbine” videos of the last year.
The video received the bulk of its shares on Facebook (12,000), the bulk of the remaining went on LinkedIn.
But this is a general term. For example, in terms of engagement this video took first place:
While in the UK this anti-wind power piece was the most shared with 137k shares.
Content analysis – wind turbine social sharing statistics
Interestingly, despite the SEO experts telling us to go long and publish articles over 2000-words, posts of around 500 words with this keyword are the most shared. These are closely followed by those around 1000-2000 words.
But it is likely the pieces under 500 include video or some other media.
In terms of writing, the majority of articles are either moderate or difficult to read. This is likely due to a large number of technical terms in the copy.
Tip: There seems to be a large amount of scope for quickfire 400-word articles with an easy to understand hook. For example, a new wind turbine with a tower the is the size of [insert building here]. Yes, it is hardly Earth shattering but you can embed other links within this content that will bring people onto your detailed high-end content. However, in terms of SEO, this is ‘thin content’ and will struggle to rank highly.
Platforms – Facebook is the place to be.
Facebook is best platform for wind turbine-related posts with an average applause rating of 82. LinkedIn was in second place with 44. The three best domains were cleantechnica.com, offshorewind.biz, and heavyliftnews.com. These have an average of 330-200 shares per article.
“Wind Turbine Maintenance”
Keyword: according to Ahrefs this is the best keyword for wind turbine operations and maintenance.
Most Shared – getting more serious and wind specific
This time 341 posts or pages were selected from the last year. They had an average share per post of 8.7. Lower numbers but they are aimed at the target market – the wind energy industry.
The most shared article out of the selection was a piece by IEEE devoted to preventative maintenance on wind turbines. It consisted of 1,400 words and in terms of the reading level was rated as difficult. It received 768 shares across LinkedIn and Facebook, with the latter taking 575 of those.
Despite the lower engagement rates it is worth noting that many of these posts were highly specific and niche.
Headlines for successful posts included:
- How Drones Will Transform Wind Turbine Inspections
- Maintenance Partners – Maximize Wind Turbine Output and Performance
- Embracing energy transition at Bilfinger
- Consider Automated Machine Learning for Wind Turbine Asset Maintenance
Platforms – LinkedIn is the place to be
Despite Facebook coming out on top with the IEEE story, the best scorer for engagement was LinkedIn. It had an average engagement (shares, comments, likes) score of 21 per post compared to Facebook with 1. The two sites with the most shared content were Offshorewind.biz and Windpowerengineering.com.
Tip: it is not always about the numbers but who gets the message. If you want to drill down and get highly specific, LinkedIn is the place to go. Otherwise, use Facebook.
On the surface, video performed well with an engagement score of 88. However, all of this came from one video on YouTube. So it is impossible to form a solid opinion, although video undoubtedly has a number of advantages.
One curious fact was this 24-sec video. It only received 3 likes on YouTube and only had 60-odd views, yet it was shared 82 times on LinkedIn.
The most common type of content was press releases. They accounted for 53% of the content monitored but had a low engagement score. 43% were articles, which scored an average of 18.9 for engagement (likes, shares, and comments).
In terms of length, the best-shared articles were in the 2000-words and above category. Across shares, comments and likes they had a score of average score of 41. One reason for this increased engagement is both the specialist nature of the keyword and the desire for in-depth content from the industry.
Many content producers could be missing a trick with this sort of article, as only 2% of the articles were over 2000-words. Most pages were around 500-words, which only had an average engagement score of 3.
“Wind Turbine Blades”
Using the same criteria as above, this keyword revealed around 708 different posts that were shared across social media with an average of 283 shares.
Gizmodo’s story about the V164 breaking the 9MW barrier was the most shared story concerning wind turbine blades, which received 79,000 shares on Facebook. The V164’s blade is one of the longest on the market.
More directly, the best story actually related to a wind turbine blade was about a mere 59-metre blade being transported around a tight corner in Scotland.
The video itself was posted by the transportation firm on YouTube but was grabbed by two other sites, repositioned with some introductory copy and published on its own page. One was CNN and the other was Drivetribe.com. Both stories received around 15,000 shares.
Tip: You always have to produce your own content. The blade transportation video was produced by MacAlpine transport and reproduced on both sites with around 500 words of copy.
LinkedIn is the best place to run turbine component-related content. It has an engagement score of 454 compared to Facebook on 130.
But there are always surprises. In terms of domains, the biggest platform is the Daily Mail. It published four articles about wind turbines and against all odds three of them were fairly positive. The other two popular domains were Offshorewind.biz and Phy.org.
The trend seems to be for shorter content like news stories. 50% of the articles were under 500 words but received an average engagement score of 174. While 6% was over 2,000 words and had an engagement score of 125.
Despite wind turbine blades being one of the cutting edge technologies for the sector, many of the best-shared stories have become tied up with size. Sure materials and aerodynamics are a plus, but there’s no substitute for a 60-metre long piece of material going around a tight hairpin.
Keywords: Unsurprisingly, there’s not a lot of scope for different keywords here. Vestas is easier to rank for than Vestas Wind Systems. Most variations surround the V164 for those who don’t know MHI-Vestas manufacture it, and the V90. There is less on the V112.
Most shared stories
This search picked out 1,600 stories that had been promoted on social media over the last year. The most shared story was Vestas’ tie-up with Tesla.
Vestas’ stories averaged at 161.9 shares a post.
In terms of engagement (shares, comments, likes), Facebook comes out on top with an average of 41 per post. LinkedIn followed behind with 33.
The top three platforms for shared Vestas stories are Bloomberg, Offshorewind.biz, and Windpower Monthly.
In terms of content type, articles are the most shared type of content with just under 200 shares a post. Video is shortly behind with 184 shares per post.
The vast majority of articles appeared to be news stories under 500 words, around 60%. Whereas only 6.3% and 3% were 1000-2000 words and 2000-word and above respectively.
However, as with “wind turbines”, the number of article posts outnumbers video (82% to 7.5%). It would have been better to create infographics about Vestas (or any manufacturer for that matter) as these were shared an average of 83 times for each post.
Popular subjects tend to cover launches, deals, or in-depth technical analysis. It is also worth noting a large number of the stories are about MHI-Vestas.
- Vestas Wins Order to Supply Mexico’s Biggest Wind Energy Project
- Wind power firm Vestas creates 400 new jobs in Denmark
Keywords: Siemens Wind, as this provided the greatest scope. Ultimately, the main keyword is Siemens Wind Power, so Siemens Wind was fine.
We picked out 503 pages that were shared using Siemens Wind over the last year that received an average share per post of 102.
The most shared story of the year goes to Offshorewind.biz with Second Siemens RoRo Customized for Turbine Parts Reports for Duty It received 8,700 shares on LinkedIn. Not bad for a 155-word story about the customisation of a wind turbine parts delivery vessel.
Proof that not all shared content is positive. The most commented story was a video on YouTube about the closure of a factory in Canada.
LinkedIn is the number one platform in terms of sharing content. It has an engagement of 69 per post as opposed to Facebook, which has 29. The top three domains are Offshorewind.biz (unsurprising as Siemens is the number one offshore turbine manufacturer), Cleantechnica.com, and Reuters.
In terms of types of content, video comes out number one. Despite only 1% selected posts using it, it received an overall average engagement of 109 across the whole keyphrase selection. Whereas 94% of the posts were articles, they only received an average of 107 engagement. Press releases came a distant third with 14.6 engagement and comprising 4.5% of the overall selection.
In terms of engagement, the best article content was long-form and over 2,000 words or above. This had an engagement score of nearly 500. Articles with a word count of 1000-2000 were just below 200. Articles with lower words counts fell exponentially. However, shorter articles were shared on LinkedIn.
Keywords: GE Wind was used in order to break it away from other stories surrounding the conglomerate.
Overall, 624 stories that were pushed out across social media over the last year were examined. These received an average share per post of 136. The biggest story was in Techcrunch and featured a PPA story about Microsoft buying electricity in Ireland from a GE wind farm.
LinkedIn was the best network for distributing content about GE with an average of 800 engagement (shares, comments, likes) per post. Facebook followed in second place with 228.
The stand out fact was that the top three domains are GE-owned. These were gereports.com, gereports.com.au, and ge.com. This highlights its excellent role in developing its own social platforms.
None of the other manufacturers was able to do this. It just goes to prove how beneficial it can be if you build your own publishing platforms.
Again video performed the best. Again this is something GE excels at producing. Despite only 2% of the content being video it had an engagement score of 223. By comparison, GE articles only scored 91 for engagement despite making up 92% of the posts reviewed.
Another interesting finding was that interviews performed the best. This was especially true when compared to other manufacturers. While there is no way of proving this it seems likely that GE’s access to its own technicians and management allowed it to create its own exclusives.
In terms of article length, the best performing article content was long-form of over 2,000 words. Separating the long-form content from shorter news-led stories increased the article engagement score to 400.
More shared headlines:
- America’s first offshore wind farm launched with GE turbines twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty
- GE designs its biggest ever land-based wind turbine
What can we learn from all of this?
It is worth underlining the value in sharing content across social media. First, people are most likely to read something that has been recommended. So, it is an excellent way to bring new readers to your site and increase traffic.
Second, it provides an additional benefit from an SEO perspective in terms of social proof. And lastly, it highlights what people are interested in.
To underline the value of social sharing, an interview last year Coca-Cola content marketing supremo Doug Busk said the company measured content marketing ROI by social shares and engagement.
Yes, wind power is different from fizzy drinks. But in reality, content marketing and editorial is about boosting interactions with your target market and Coca-Cola is a master at it.
TLDR takeaway: This article is nearly 3,500-words long. Yet the key learning is this. If you are chasing engagement, keep your generalist articles short (between 500 and 1000 word), including video and other embedded content, and target Facebook for all it’s worth.
If it is wind industry-specific you need to go long, ideally 2000-words or over. Then you target LinkedIn. The other two are Twitter and Facebook.
General wind-related stories
This study breaks down into two sections. The first one is the generalised stories and shares around keywords like wind energy, wind turbine etc.
Typical successful examples cover subjects like the growth of wind power and renewables. Success here is governed by a simple rule.
If your target audience is pro-wind they want to share, like, and comment on content that reflects that position (the more overtly and simple the better). To achieve this the headline is all-important. In fact, I will stick my neck out and say a large percentage of these people aren’t reading the articles – at least not end to end.
Try not to be negative. It might be newsworthy but the evidence is it doesn’t work in terms of engagement.
Article length is becoming more important. The days of writing a 200-word news story (including a couple of press release quotes are long gone (and since Google’s Panda algorithm will give you a ranking penalty).
This post was mostly written before Facebook announced it was removing business pages from newsfeeds.
In essence, this will affect content distribution. At the moment though, no one really knows how that will play out.
Facebook plans a new ‘Explore’ tab where all these posts will go. On the negative side, that means your story will not sit next to the juicy newsfeed updates from your readers’ friends.
But to be positive, it is difficult to push onto newsfeed anyway. Who’s to say this new section won’t be widely read and more accessible?
Regardless, even if you are in B2B, when it comes to platforms you should be looking at Facebook. It has the lead in sharing cleantech content, but there is a catch.
So lets put the results from the last 12 months under the spotlight.
The astute of you will have seen the most-shared content on Facebook comes from the same sources, Cleantechnica, Offshorewind.bizWindpowerengineering etc. They all have huge Facebook followings.
Cleantechnica’s page alone has 36,000 followers while Offshorewind.biz has 25,000.
Thanks to the Facebook algorithm unless you have this kind of pull you will struggle to get people to look at your posts. Frustratingly, Facebook will only show a fraction of your followers any of your posts.
The best way around this is to spend your way out of the problem. There are plenty of options and Facebook’s allows you to drill down into whatever target market you want to hit.
Specific and in-depth wind energy stories
Specific wind-related or energy-related content like PMGs, blade maintenance etc, is a different game.
There are two standouts. First, if you are writing articles then go long. Aim for evergreen content of 1500-words and above. There seems to be a reliance on news stories right now. Aim long and write about subjects that people will return to.
Secondly, out of all the social media platforms, LinkedIn is going to give you the most success.
I feel bad about this. Five years ago I was a big proponent of the “bang out loads of 200-word stories” brigade. Now there, are so many reasons not to do this. Yes some of them might share well but you need to be aware of this.
Text-based articles are by far the most popular type of content when it comes to publishing. But in terms of engagement video is what you should be looking at.
It is now relatively easy to produce and edit video. You don’t need to bring in Ridley Scott (although I’m sure he would shoot a fantastic wind power video).
Wind power content marketers and editors should be looking at infographics, interactive content, polls, ebooks, audio, and even augmented reality.
Sharing is a vital element of SEO and help you to reach other readers. But it can also provide a useful indication of what works in terms of headlines, images, formats etc. Don’t go into it blindly. Measure what’s going on and what people are looking at.
One last insight. Think carefully before publishing on Tuesday.
Above all, challenge those assumptions.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article.
I am a content strategist focused on the produce and distribute renewable energy content and copy. If you are interested in finding out more about what I do, then get in touch via [email protected]. Alternatively, you can reach out via the form below.