Although global trust in brand messages and advertising has slightly increased over the last few years, a recent report by Nielson indicates that 84 percent of consumers still trust earned media above all other forms of advertising. If anything, this strong sway towards word-of-mouth and recommendations from family and peers highlights the importance of owning content people want to share with others.
The question is whether you’re developing content assets with shareability in mind, as well as setting up your publishing platforms with the tools necessary to make sharing easy. While focusing on useful topic ideas and user personas is a major part of content marketing, it’s critical to examine how you enable that content to spread. The following shareability tips can help improve your content for virality purposes and set you up for the widest reach possible.
1. Understand Why Content Goes Viral
In our blog post about the seven reasons content goes viral, we touched on some key emotional and mental factors in content that tend to resonate with people. Although marketers may never fully understand why one piece of content finds fame overnight while another lays dormant for months (perhaps never to be discovered), understanding these factors is an essential part of understanding why someone might want to share something. It’s also a huge part of emulating those factors in your own content.
In addition to these triggers, there are certain best practices you can follow when creating content with the potential to go viral.
Here’s a quick rundown:
Create short, compelling headlines
Think about your target audience
Trigger high-arousal emotions
Offer incredible value
Publish content in digestible formats
Ensure your content is useful
Be creative and unique
Ultimately, you should evaluate several pieces of viral content within your industry and define the common denominators of their popularity. This can help you figure out what type of content you should create for your audience, as well as what it should include to trigger a share.
2. Understand the Psychology behind Sharing
The New York Times Customer Insight Group released a thought-provoking whitepaper on the motivations behind sharing and the six personas of people who share. The study revealed that motivators include:
- enriching the lives of others with entertaining and valuable content;
- establishing or reinforcing a desired image of one’s self;
- building and nourishing relationships;
- and spreading the word about causes or brands.
Personas are segmented according to four factors, including emotional catalysts, the image an individual wants to present to others, the role of sharing in life, and the value of being the first person to share. The study also highlights the main channel each group prefers to share through, with email still claiming the number one spot for most.
Understanding the psychology of sharing is a crucial aspect of content marketing because you can’t expand your content’s reach if you don’t understand the careful consideration that goes into sharing or the key factors that influence sharing in the first place. Therefore, you should spend time researching these motivators so you create the kind of content people want to pass on to family, friends, and peers.
3. Allow For Personalization
Make certain that when people share your content they have the ability to customize the share. Although you may have compelling text you’ve created to pre-populate the message box, readers should be able to change the message, add their own hashtags, and alter the share for their specific audiences.
4. Optimize Your Site for Sharing by Buttoning Up
Sharing buttons make your content both actionable and shareable. They also make sharing easy for users who can interact with content in the context of your site rather than leaving your page to copy and paste URLs to their open social media feeds.
HubSpot have a great cheat sheet for creating Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest buttons. Alternatively, you can check out Social Media Examiner’s post on customizing social share buttons for increased traffic. If you’re not already making use of them, optimize your sites with sharing options today and start building your brand credibility through valuable recommendations.
You want people to spread the word about your content? Sometimes there’s little more effective than a strong call to action that asks for a share. Craft a powerful CTA that reinforces the value of sharing—not just liking—and you may find your reach widens a little faster than usual.
As a final note, you shouldn’t forget to consider your distribution channels and supporting platforms. Not only do you want to promote your content via appropriate social media outlets and websites, but you also want to ensure your audience can share and view it on multiple platforms, including mobile.
Do you create content with shareability in mind? Have something to add? Let us know your thoughts and tips in the comment section.