Creating sharable content is the basis of content marketing, and sharability isn’t hard to formulate. It all comes down to following a few key principles, and writing with a distinct purpose.
Take a blog like Buzzfeed, for example. When it comes to sharability, Buzzfeed is king. The reason isn’t just their writing, and it isn’t just their content. It’s a complete amalgamation of several different techniques, all of which tie into the psychology of sharing. And how does that psychology work? Here’s a couple easy tips modeled after it:
1 – Validate the Reader
When people are consuming media, one of the most common yet powerful techniques for catching interest is appealing to reader vanity. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. It could be a blog entry about fitness techniques, a new recipe, or an article on obscure travel locations.
People dislike snide writing, but frame your content in a way that it validates the reader’s lifestyle – e.g. “6 Ways You’re Already Losing Weight”, “12 Childhood Memories We’d All Want to Relive”, “8 Marketing Techniques You’re Implementing, but Not Polishing”, and they’re likely to like and share it – which, according to the New York Times, can lead to a bandwagon effect on your content.
2 – Focus on Distilled Information
Going into detail about a subject can be helpful, but it can also hurt your sharability. Focus on succinct, directly related information, and avoid tangents at all costs. “Losing a reader” isn’t the fault of controversy or anger. It’s usually the fault of boredom.
People don’t have very long attention spans when it comes to reading, and they jump between content quickly. According to the UKAOP, the average Brit visited 2,518 websites in November 2011 alone.
3 – Relate Facts in an Entertaining Way
The biggest factor in content sharability is entertainment. People are much more likely to share emotive content, according to a study published by the Journal of Marketing Research. In essence, good news and heart-felt joy share themselves best, although portraying information in an impressive, highly-visual or very funny manner also helps.
This doesn’t just relate to “good” emotions, however; it also relates to strong emotions. People are also likely to share content that makes them angry, either to protest, spread awareness, or raise discussion.
4 – Formatting Is Important
In line with focusing on distilling information is proper formatting. Keep your paragraphs short, your sentences smooth, and your content image-filled. The easier and more structured an article is, the more likely people are going to finish reading it.
5 – Tap into Something Fundamental
The New York Times published a study on the psychology of sharing, and they found out that another one of the key factors in sharable content is to ensure that it’s about a cause or brand people care about. If you write about a popular association, you’re more likely to get people interested in that popular association to care about your content. If it’s a righteous or important cause, social or otherwise, you’ll increase sharability as well.
A final tip is to polish up the beginning. A great headline accounts for a large percentage of readers, as it’s the title that ultimately needs to strike first and interest the reader.