How to Create Buzzworthy Content That Users Share
Shareable content is your gateway to success in content marketing. If you can get your users to share your content regularly, or in high enough volume, you'll gain access to 1000s of new potential followers, earn tons of referral traffic, and gain permanent links that boost your website's potential to rank higher in Google searches.
But what makes a piece of content "shareable" in the first place? Logic would dictate that there are certain qualities that shareable pieces have in common, and if they do, it should be possible to replicate those qualities in your own work.
So what makes people want to share content with others on social media
, and how can you use this to your advantage?
Videos, quizzes, and list-based articles tend to get more shares than other types of content, possibly because they're relatively quick and easy to digest. However, they earn fewer links for the same reasons.
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On the other end of the spectrum, even though 80% of content contains 1,000 words or fewer, the 20% of content that contains more than 1,000 words gets far more shares and links.
Most importantly, the number of shares different posts receive do not represent an average; instead, there are a handful of "outliers" (to use a Malcolm Gladwell term) that get a disproportionately large number of links and shares, while the majority of content gets no love. This is important to note, as it suggests that you're better off creating a handful of outstanding pieces than a large number of mediocre ones.
According to one report by researchers at UCLA, more "buzzworthy" ideas are associated with specific regions of the brain, indicating there's a neurological component to the types of content and ideas we like to share. Overall, this urge to share tends to creep up with 3 main types of content - those that fulfill one or more of the following functions:
1. Utility: We like to share content that we deem useful or helpful in certain situations. Because they're useful, we want our friends and family to share in their usefulness.
2. Entertainment: Entertaining pieces of content also encourage us to share. Shocking, isn't it? We like to laugh, and it makes us feel good to share that positive experience with others.
3. Inspiration: Interesting and inspirational content is also highly shareable. Things that pique our curiosity or stimulate our creativity naturally encourage us to reach out to other people who may end up feeling the same level of interest or motivation.
The Role of Emotion
According to research from the journal Psychological Science, our emotional responses to content can play a massive role in whether or not we choose to share that content with others. But it isn't exactly a straightforward relationship.
You might think that positive emotions, like joy or excitement, are the most likely to increase sharing - and you're partially right. When readers experienced strong positive emotions, they were more likely to share content, but they were also more likely to share content associated with strong negative emotions, like anxiety or arousal.
So does this mean that any strong emotion is enough to make a piece of content more shareable? This isn't necessarily the case either; the study found that some types of negative emotions, such as sadness, actually decreased an article's propensity to be shared. As a general rule, stronger emotions lead to higher share volumes, as long as those emotions evoke energy or positivity.
The Role of Surprise
Our tendency to share content may also be linked to how our brains are wired to process surprises. Surprises are an experience of novelty, meaning we saw something we didn't expect or learned something we didn't know.
When a surprise is strong enough, it triggers a specific reactive sequence in the mind - freeze, find, shift, and share. We stop what we're doing or halt our other tasks; we try to find an explanation for the surprise we just experienced; we shift our perspective to accommodate that explanation; and then we share that experience with others. It works well for a surprising punchline at the end of a long video.
Surprises are also linked to memory, which gives you the added benefit of making your brand more memorable in the process.
Pulling It All Together
What does all this mean? How can you create content that people want to share?
- Opt for digestible posts (or pack them with detail). Short and concise posts work well, as do long, detailed, rich posts. Choose one or the other - no inbetween.
- Consider your purpose. Useful, entertaining, and inspirational posts tend to perform best.
- Evoke strong emotions. Positive emotions work best, but most strong emotions result in higher share volumes.
- Give your readers a surprise. People love to share surprises with one another.
Now, there's no secret formula for success in creating shareable, "viral" content, but these points can steer you in the right direction. Keep producing high-quality content, and you'll earn higher customer loyalty and more traffic, regardless of how many shares you get.About 40Billion.com
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