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The 5 Es of shareable content: How to go viral

The 5 Es of shareable content: How to go viral

Known as the Buzzfeed effect in content marketing circles, sharing content is big among social media users – and it’s only going to get bigger in 2017.

A few years ago Buzzfeed was the king of shareable content – whether it was a ‘Which emoji best sums up your personality’ quiz or a hard-hitting news story about the global refugee crisis, what they wrote was quick to go viral. But it hasn’t taken long for other media agencies to get in on the action.

Many have realised that complicated psychology isn’t what’s behind getting people to share their content time and time again. In fact, the answer is far simpler – the strongest factor in influencing whether readers share is how much they think their peers will benefit from it.

And this doesn’t just apply to C2C content sites – B2B marketers can just as easily tap into this new culture of content sharing.

Put simply the act of sharing is a series of decisions, so what motivates people to share?

We reveal the five E’s of shareable content:

  1. Make it enjoyable

One of the biggest considerations for a reader around whether to share or not is deciding if their friends, colleagues or social media followers will enjoy it. This isn’t rocket science – the more enjoyment the sharer perceives people will get from consuming the content, the more likely they are to share. Use entertaining language and work hard to find interesting ways to make it a satisfying experience to read.

  1. Make it enriching

For the person weighing up whether to share what they’ve just read, maintaining their relationships with those around them is a major motivator. They’re driven by wanting to enrich the lives of those people whose opinion they care about and are ultimately looking to add value to their network. So help them do that.

  1. Make it educational

Many share content because they want to bring about awareness of a cause or issue. Implicit in this is the desire to educate about something others may not fully comprehend or cast a new insightful light on a misunderstood subject so always strive to make your writing informative.

  1. Make it emotional

It’s easy to understand why emotional responses influence people to share. If they feel something resulting from reading a piece of content, they’re far more likely to want other people to feel the same thing. The intensity of emotion is key to this, so creating feelings of awe, anger, anxiety or humour can increase the chances of the content getting shared more often. While remembering that using biases can nudge people to share, it’s worth bearing in mind that in studies of the psychology of sharing, positive sentiment is found to drive far more sharing than negative sentiment.

  1. Make it engaging

When it comes to encouraging people to share your content, information overload is detrimental. Even the most switched on of individuals will get bored of content that seems to endlessly drone on. If it’s too long, the reader’s mind will simply switch off and they’ll defer making a decision about what they do with it. Once that happens, it’s easier to simply disregard the content than share it. So avoid long articles or lengthy paragraphs – keep it pithy and engaging.