What makes people share content (and how can you take advantage of it?)

by Dean Evans

Öl 2

The health properties of olive oil can make for a viral story when pitched correctly.

If your content is good enough then your readers will promote it for you, sharing links via social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Reddit and StumbleUpon.

They might even share it by email with their friends. This is the ‘word-of-mouth’ aspect and it can be a powerful force for good content.

But to take advantage of this viral approach, you need to have readers who love your content enough to pass it on.

The DNA of good content

So we’re back to the DNA of good content again, things like valuable resources, entertaining videos, breaking news articles and problem-solving tutorials.

Not all content is worth sharing. The key is finding those triggers that will make somebody click your ‘Like’ button, fire off a Retweet or give it a social bookmarking recommendation.

Who’d have thought that some of those triggers would be sex, curiosity and the little robot from Star Wars?

Take a look at these popular shared articles on Digg.com:

  • Girls in R2D2 Swimsuits…That is All (Pics)
  • The History of Green Lantern Explained
  • Olive Oil May Help Protect Against Strokes
  • Top 5 Female Athletes Who’d Be Great in Bed

Why these stories work

They have all risen to the top of the Digg site for different reasons. ‘Girls in R2D2 swimsuits…’ combines sex, curiosity and a fondness for Star Wars. ‘The History of Green Lantern Explained’ taps into the theatrical release of the movie starring Ryan Reynolds. It also solves a need, providing a handy backgrounder for anyone not familiar with the DC Comics character.

The ‘Olive oil’ story connects on a psychological level with our fears about illness. A Stroke is a life-shattering occurrence and if there’s the slightest chance that olive oil might help protect against it, wouldn’t you want to know?

Finally, the ‘female athletes’ story takes the popular list mechanic, adds sporting, celebrity and sexual components plus the curiosity element to tempt you to read. Who are the athletes? You won’t know until you click…

What can we learn from this small sample? How about that lists are effective, sex sells, a picture is worth a thousand words and unlikely pairings (olive oil and strokes; R2D2 and bikinis) can really catch the eye.

Here are some more observations to consider:

  • Shareable content should be something that nobody else has
  • It should be comprehensive and well-researched, making it difficult for somebody to emulate
  • It should spark a response from whoever sees it, whether they agree or disagree, like it or dislike it
  • Above all it should be easy to share

Next: Good content writing tips: “Be comprehensive”

Creative Commons License photo credit: 96dpi

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment