Reaching consumers with your message is one thing. Persuading them to share it is quite another. As more and more content vies for the attention of the consumer, creating content that has a higher probability of being shared has become essential. Are there any factors that mark out highly shareable content? What are the tools and techniques are available to help the marketeer create more shareable content?
One of the most popular business books in recent year’s has been Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made To Stick”. The Heath brothers utilised copious research to try to work out why certain ideas and messages seemed to be more memorable or “sticky” while most simply never gained any traction at all. They even created a handy acronym — SUCCES — to help you remember what the six key factors are (in case you want to know, they are: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotion and stories).
Although this was helpful in working out what factors might make messages or content more memorable, it didn’t really explore why certain content had a higher likelihood of being shared. One of the Heath brothers’ protégés (Jonah Berger) picked up the cudgels and wrote his own book – “Contagious” – in an attempt to do for shareablity what “Made To Stick” did for memorability.
6 Factors Of Shareability
Berger also came up with a handy acronym to explain the key factors in shareability: STEPPS. He outlines the factors involved as follows:
- Social Currency: Does talking about your product or idea make people look good? Can you find the inner remarkability? Leverage game mechanics? Make people feel like insiders?
- Triggers: Consider the context.What cues make people think about your product or idea? How can you grow the habitat and make it come to mind more often?
- Emotion: Focus on feelings. Does talking about your product or idea generate emotion? How can you kindle the fire?
- Public: Does your product or idea advertise itself? Can people see when others are using it? If not, how can you make the private public? Can you create behavioral residue that sticks around even after people use it?
- Practical Value: Does talking about your product or idea help people help others? How can you highlight incredible value, packaging your knowledge and expertise into useful information others will want to disseminate?
- Stories: What is your Trojan Horse? Is your product or idea embedded in a broader narrative that people want to share? Is the story not only viral, but also valuable?
Why Is Shareability So Important?
Reach is no longer enough on its own. Or more specifically, the ability to gain organic reach through social media is becoming increasingly hard.
Simply publishing content through your own social and digital channels probably isn’t going to reach sufficient numbers of consumers to generate the sales behavior you seek. Yes, you can use paid-for options to improve the chances of your content being seen. But again, simply getting your content in front of people isn’t enough.
Berger’s book is a good start for helping you think about what factors should be considered when trying to create shareable content. But are there any tools that can provide practical insight into what kind and type of content you should be creating to increase the likelihood of sharing?
One tool that has been gaining in popularity this year is BuzzSumo. This is a tool that allows you to see what kind and type of content gets shared more often – and through which social platforms. Depending on the topic or sector you are interested in, BuzzSumo can show you if video or long form text content gets shared more often. Or if Twitter is the most popular platform for sharing rather than Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or Pinterest.
A whole plethora of tools and technologies all claim to help solve the increasingly embattled consumer marketeer. But perhaps more attention should be given to what approaches are more likely to get that all important shareability factor.
Creating a memorable message or piece of content is only part of the battle. Your content needs to have shareability hardwired into it. Stick and spread needs to become the mantra of today’s consumer marketeer.