In order online content to be shareable, it must meet countless requirements. Interesting to viewers, usefulness, calls-to-action, and so on. Sometimes, it seems like making the content viral requires magic because it is difficult to surprise people. While it is completely true that viral content is not achieved easily, there are some secrets that could be used to succeed. By using these secrets, it becomes possible to create content that will be shared on social media. Moreover, it will make the desired impact.
Many social media experts say that the viralness of the content posted on social media, blogs, or other platforms depends on the effectiveness to engage a desire to share. This desire is a certainly intrinsic one. Psychologists suggest many mechanisms involved in producing the motivation to share something with others. For example, someone might be seeking an approval from others by showing that they have expertise. In other words, social media marketers have a lot to learn. The secrets of the human psyche and previous experience are at the play here.
Do not worry, though, there is no need to panic because we are going to share these secrets with you.
Secret 1: Informative valueBesides being entertaining or surprising, the content needs to carry a practical value. People tend to share something that they never heard about before to be innovative and stay up to date. The findings of a research completed by NYT Insight Group support this secret. It concluded that over 90 percent of social media users verified the practical value of the content before sharing it. A good example of useful content is how-to articles. Imagine that you need to make a coconut cake: The Food Network might be a good place to go. It has the recipes for this particular cake, thus it has an informative value.
Secret 2: Positive natureOften, people are looking to entertain themselves and use the Internet for this. For example, to find something funny that could be shared with friends. A post that has positive news will most likely to go viral than the one that carries negativity. According to a study of a Journal of Marketing Research, positive articles were more shared among the visitors of the New York Times. This applies well beyond news sites, all the way to social media and blogs. People are looking for excitement and delight, which is provided by entertaining positive posts. Thus, if you need content to be popular, make sure you won’t produce deactivating emotions.
A good example of an entertaining piece of content is this article from Fox. It tells about The Simpsons about to set to mark a new milestone with 600th episode. Wouldn’t that be cool to share? It would trigger an avalanche of positive emotions! Let’s face it, there are lots of people who enjoy the Simpsons!
Secret 3: AestheticsYes, you read it right. A good shareable content needs to be appealing and organized. If the people are provided with a solid chunk of text that does not even have a single subheading, they won’t appreciate it. The reason is, they will find difficulties with comprehending the information. But, if the article uses blocks of text and subheadings, the perception will be different. See this article from Mashable on Google Metrics. Every paragraph is separated by extra clear line to differentiate the ideas. This is an example of the content that has a clear eye path that enhances the interest of the reader. And, it was shared by 1.3k users.
To make your content shareable as well, do not use big chunks of text and make it easily comprehensible. This also includes bullets and subheadings.
Secret 4: Causes and BeliefsOnline marketing has long established the truth that people often share content with something they care about. This content shows who are and mirrors their image by defining them to others. For example, people in the U.S. shared the content related to a recent hurricane Matthew that left some of the towns under water. People who cared about the populations that suffered from the disaster shared the content to raise awareness about it. This CNN article, for example, tells the story of a small North Carolina town that has been hit hard by Matthew. It showed how people coped with the problem and stayed strong to survive. Others who care about the victims will share this content to show that someone needs help. A good cause to share, right?
The same could be said about events, books, and everything people could share strong feelings about.
Secret 5: Need for validationIt is human nature to want to be approved and accepted for our actions and words. According to Stephen Mitchell, an online marketer from Aussiewriter, this secret has positive implications for online business. It tells one important thing: sharing should be made easily available on every page of their site. This knowledge is supported by a range of customer behavior studies. For example, there is a higher chance of the content being liked if it has been already pre-liked, says the study published in Science journal. The social media sharing tools therefore should be visible and accessible to the visitors. This persuades them to like or share the article.
The content will be shared more if sharing options are visible. Use this for your own content, too.
Secret 6: Engaging HeadlinesBoring and ordinary headlines cannot contribute to higher sharing rate. Well, they make the content look like news. But, if the headlines are engaging and attracting, the content will be shared more. Would you click on the article “Make One million dollars in one hour”? Of course not, because it is impossible to make this kind of money that quick. Or, does “Regular sex increases chances for pregnancy” sound interesting? No, because it states the obvious. Let’s see the headlines that work. For example “5 Signs the Online Trading is not for you” is good because it presses the emotion button. Many people want to get into the trading business and it might be useful for them. Next, “7 Types of Boyfriends – which one are you?” is also a great one. It appeals to the young audience that often uses the internet.Plus, it helps to target specific groups of visitors.
Need more pointers? Here is a great resource that helps to write deliciously seductive headlines.
Secret 7: Proven contentAre you familiar with the concept of evergreen content? It is the type of content that does not lose relevance over time. It is widely popular among online marketers today. For example, the article that describes how to make pizza sauce is more relevant than the one that tells about 2004 Summer Olympics. The first one is more sustainable and lasting because the recipe does not change. On the other hand, we have had many other Olympic games after 2004, so that one is history. What this means to online business is that the content that was shared earlier can enjoy the same popularity now. Past popularity of the content is one of the best indicators whether it will work today.
Therefore, create a content that has a proven history of being popular in the past. Here are some tips on evergreen content with examples from Hubspot.
The Anatomy of Shareable Content
The Bottom LineUse these tips to make your content engaging, useful, and relevant. If the content is irrelevant and cannot engage the viewers, no one will share it. Just remember, you are there to make the lives of others better! This should be showed by the content you post out there to be seen by others.
Scott Ragin is a social media specialist and blogger working in multi-channel marketing, content strategy and connecting social media to business initiative. He loves guiding other people through their marketing practice and shares his ideas as a blogger. Feel free to contact him at Facebook.