Content creation is a massive and ever-evolving element of digital marketing. Dynamic content that offers value to consumers is shared. Fluff content that doesn’t is ignored.
Becoming a good copywriter or content creator takes years; you might have to create a hundred or even a thousand posts before you write one that strikes a nerve and encourages readers to share.
It behooves any content creator, though, to really examine the elements of shareable content—just what is it that takes a blog, infographic or meme past “meh” and into “I want to share this with my loved ones?”
Let’s take a look:
1. Have a Scannable Format
You can have the most fascinating topic ever. If your formatting is not shareworthy, no one is going to care.
There are some format features that are simply more shareable than others:
- Listicles (people love numbered lists)
- Use of bolding
- Including bullet points
- Short sentences, small paragraphs
- Content with videos or graphics
A scannable blog post that is easy to digest is simply better for the ever-decreasing human attention span.
Very rarely do people want to read long, convoluted sentences. Incorporating a scannable format can help your reader get to your point more easily…and because it was accessible and helpful to them, they’re more likely to click those social icons to share it with their networks.
2. Make a Pop Culture Connection
Pop culture is accessible and (at least remotely) interesting to most people. It’s not called popular culture for nothing, after all.
And in 2016, people are more connected to news, events and celebrities than ever before.
Content that invokes a hot pop culture trend or event is already eye-catching because it involves a topic that people are already thinking about.
If you can manage to take that pop culture trend and tie it in with your industry, you’ve got a uniquely shareable goldmine on your hands.
3. Make Your Social Icons Easily Visible
Another way to increase the amount of shares your content gets? Show your readers that it’s already being shared.
We’ve been suckers for social validation for a long time, and a recent study from the New York Times confirmed that.
According to Duncan J. Watts, a scientist at Microsoft Research, humans are persuaded by what is known as “cumulative advantage”:
“...the idea that something that starts slightly more popular will build upon that popularity until it is far ahead of its competitors—and conversely, something that doesn’t catch on will usually fade away whether or not it is good.”
If your viewers can clearly see that your post has been shared, liked and re-posted to sites like LinkedIn, they’re more likely to share it because, in their eyes, its quality and value has already been validated by other readers.
4. Make It Entertaining
Yes, educational content is the stuff that helps your website visitors and social followers see your brand as an authority. You have to offer them information that they want and need.
But if you want them to share that great information, you’ve got to make it entertaining.
Focus on a positive takeaway that your readers can latch on to. Studies have found that posts that invoke amusement or awe get more shares than those that don’t.
Make your writing punchy and engaging. If you can, incorporate a funny story as an example.
Writing that’s enjoyable to read is much more likely to be shared, and can often overcome a stolid topic.
5. Appeal to the Emotions
People are emotional creatures. We can experience fear, loathing, wonder and excitement, all within the span of a day.
If you can incorporate a strong emotional tie to a certain belief or issue in your writing, you’ll skyrocket its chances of being shared by like-minded people.
This is why researching your target demographic is so important.
When you know the causes and issues that many members of your target audience care about, you can create content that appeals to them emotionally.
Wrapping It All Up
The creation of shareable content is hardly a formula that just anyone can follow. It takes a mixture of great writing, sensitivity to your target audience and pure dumb luck.
But there are a few elemental truths that you can latch onto the next time you sit down at your computer. Who knows? Maybe your next blog will go viral.
What are some of your favorite methods for creating viral-worthy content?