Online marketers have been defining and redefining what makes content shareable for decades. Trying to pinpoint exactly what causes someone to share something can be difficult but scientists and marketers alike have come up with a few commonly agreed upon factors that play a role in whether or not content gets shared. For the purposes of this article I am going to focus on these factors and shed some light on why they are effective.
#1 Social Currency
Social currency is a term used to illustrate a type of interaction someone has with content in which they share it to make themselves look good. A perfect example of this would be a vegan sharing a blog post about animal cruelty or a person sharing their results from a quiz that suggests they qualify for Mensa.
#2 Practical Value
If a piece of content has practical value or serves a useful purpose, it is more likely to be shared. You can see examples of this all over the web in how people share things like recipes, crafts and how-to tutorials.
Research by Dr. Jonah Berger consistently shows that content that brings out high arousal emotions (awe, excitement, anger, laughter) is more likely to be shared than content that causes low arousal emotions (like happiness). The main idea here is that high arousal emotional states cause people to take action and provoke people into sharing something.
Leveraging trending topics in your content creation strategy can lead to a lot of shares. Take for example a breast cancer research foundation publishing an article about Breast Cancer prevention during Breast cancer awareness month.
#5 Story Telling
Human beings are hard-wired to remember stories. When content is memorable it is far more likely to be shared. You can see instances of this in how brands have adopted narratives to sell their products. In this example Extra has used the narrative of the relationship of Sarah and Juan to create a memorable piece of marketing that integrates the brand in a creative way. The story is told through a series of hand written messages written on the inside of gum wrappers. This video went viral and has been shared over 19 million times in the past year.
So there you have it! If you want to make your content shareable you should take these factors into consideration. The most shareable content would be an emotionally charged story that would teach us a lesson that we would want to pass on to others. If you wanted to take this up another notch, try and incorporate some kind of trending topic into your content.