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What Makes Irresistibly Shareable Content

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes courtesy of Josh Haynam, the co-founder of Interact, a platform for creating lead capture quizzes. He frequently writes about using content effectively and getting the most from it. Follow Josh on Twitter @jhaynam. This is an adaptation from the book“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”.

So you wrote an amazing post and it’s time to get it out to the world. Your article has case studies, statistics, and even a testimonial from someone who used your method with success – it’s a doozy of an article. There’s only one problem; despite all the time you put into crafting the post, you have no idea if it’s shareable. Sure, it’s a piece that adds a ton of value and is useful for your target audience, but that still doesn’t guarantee sharing. There are a few things you can do to make sure your new article is share-worthy, check them out

1. Make your content Practical and Personal. The great writer Malcolm Gladwell has this to say about what is worth sharing. “Practical and Personal Advice is Memorable” We like things that apply directly to us.

One thing I’ve learned from making over 1000 quizzes at Interact is that people like to share things about themselves. Harvard University ran a study and found that we actually get a “brain buzz” when talking about ourselves.

Quiz

There are neurons that fire off in the brain when we are relating stories of our own lives. A full 40% of our normal day-to-day speech has to do with ourselves, and we are more relaxed when talking about ourselves.

To take advantage of our hard-wired desire to talk about ourselves, employ a quiz in your post which will spit out some sort of information about the taker, whether it’s how good they are at marketing or how much they know about America, the result will be both personal and somewhat practical.

2. Make your content understandable: The University of Kansas ran a study and found that we are much more likely to share things we understand. When we feel as if we are “on the inside” for a topic and can explain it easily, we like to tell other people about it.

To ensure the simplest message, here 4 best practices to follow.


  • Get organized: Figure out what you want to communicate and how you want to communicate it before starting the writing process

  • Remove unnecessary words: Being overly descriptive can detract from your core message

  • Forget long sentences: To be clearer, keep your sentences short and to the point.

  • Consider formatting: Use no more than two to three sentences per paragraph to keep the white space nicely balanced and minimize clutter.


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Empower your readers with understanding and they will return the favor by sharing your content.

 

2. Make your content take a stand: In an article explaining the success of social sharing on their site, Upworthy talks about how they turn every article into a controversy with their writing style.

It’s also very important to note that Upworthy takes their content very seriously and will dig through 500 pieces before choosing one to share with a controversial style. If you can’t back up your title with great content, it’s nothing more than clickbait.

For example, here are three headlines which Upworthy turned into share-able content. You’ll notice that the regular headline (the original one) is more focused on being descriptive whereas the controversial one casts the article in a strong position.

Upworthy Headlines

Whether or not your content gets shared doesn’t necessarily have to do with how much time you put into it or how many statistics it contains. Even if you put in a massive amount of effort, your post can go unnoticed if it’s not optimized to be shared. To get shared, be practical and personal, simple, and controversial.

Which tactics do you employ to encourage your audiences to share your content?

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