- Infographic: Holiday shopping on Twitter
- 4 things to Tweet about this Halloween
- 5 influencer marketing myths holding your growth strategy back
- What businesses around the world can learn from Japan
- Device and conquer: Global consumers let their fingers do the shopping
- 5 ways marketers are building better brands
- 5 ways to increase your Tweet engagements with emojis
- 4 steps that drive success with personal branding
- How to create and use hashtags
- How valuable are your followers?
- 3 ways to tap into trending topics on Twitter
- How to: Advanced search on Twitter
- How Quick Promote can get you noticed on Twitter
- See successful followers campaigns
- Top hashtags and keywords to use for Halloween
- 4 ways businesses can use Twitter Polls
- How to get your Twitter profile ready for the holidays
- The holiday marketing calendar you need
- How a retail company increased holiday sales with Twitter
- Have your holiday questions answered by the experts
- How a startup found success with Twitter Ads
- 6 things to Tweet about this Thanksgiving
- What to Tweet about this fall
- How to use Twitter to increase foot traffic
- How to prepare your business for Cyber Monday
- How to tap into mobile trends and increase in-store holiday purchases
- How to create stand-out Twitter Ads this holiday season
- Small Business Saturday checklist: How to get your business ready
- Top hashtags and keywords to use for Thanksgiving 2016
- The top 10 trends driving marketing in 2017
- See how to reply to customers on Twitter
- #TweetHour recap: How to stand out during the holidays
- What to Tweet this winter holiday season
- How to: Make a Twitter Moment that shows off your year
- 5 tips to make your holiday promotions stand out
- How to incorporate video into your content strategy
- See how to Tweet about gift giving holidays
- Recap: Twitter Ads experts answer your campaign questions
- Top hashtags and keywords to use to bring in 2017
- 4 ways to use the New Year to promote your business
- Our favorite articles of 2016
- 10 tips for choosing the best graphic designer
- 3 ways to create a consistent visual brand on Twitter
- 10 tips for launching your first mobile app marketing campaign
- How to plan for success in 2017
- Periscope tips: a conversation with @BoopFashionista
- 5 ways to step up your brand in 2017
- How to do influencer marketing right in 2017
- Customer journey mapping: What you must know
- The secret to more effective paid campaigns? Better organic content.
- How to manage your Twitter Ads campaigns with Flightly
- February lineup: Your essential marketing calendar for the month
- #TweetHour recap: Building your personal brand
- What to Tweet this Valentine's Day
- 4 do's and don't's of Twitter images
- Want to build strong influencer relationships? Focus on ease and value
- Top hashtags and keywords to use for Valentine's Day
- Tips for entrepreneurs: A conversation with Larry Kim
- Courting an influencer
- 8 ways to energize your B2B content marketing strategy
- Interviewing marketing freelancers? Ask these 6 questions
- March lineup: Key dates to help plan your marketing campaigns
- Hidden Twitter tricks from a social media manager: the media library
- How brands can reach a second screen audience
- Meet the awareness campaign
- 6 things to Tweet this spring
- Spring clean your Twitter profile
- How better quality whitepapers can improve lead generation
- Top hashtags and keywords to use this spring
- It's now easier to manage the payments and billing of your Twitter Ads
- 5 Periscope tips for your brand
- #TweetHour recap: How to leverage influencer marketing trends
- How to use Tweet threads
- 5 tips for writing effective Twitter Ads copy
- How to use Periscope 360 for your brand
- How to spread your message with the awareness objective
- April lineup: Key dates to help plan your marketing campaigns
- 5 things to Tweet this Easter
- How to create evergreen content with lasting engagement
- What micro-influencers can do for your brand
The psychology of shareable content
Arrow down icon
- Top hashtags and keyword to use for Easter
- 7 tricks to produce content on a budget
- Data-driven tips for B2B marketers on Twitter
- What is relationship marketing?
- Mobile shopping doesn't mean skipping the store
- Content marketing myths that businesses need to stop believing
- How to fill holes in your content calendar
- Are you ready to handle your next company crisis on Twitter?
- Who to follow for National Small Business Week
- Is your marketing strategy protected against changing buyer behavior?
- 6 articles to help you craft your Twitter strategy
- How to start a content marketing campaign with no money
- How to make announcements on Twitter that build engagement
- Twitter named one of the top trusted brands for social and digital marketing
- May lineup: Key dates to help plan your marketing campaigns
- 4 must-read articles for lean marketing teams
- What you can learn from your agency's social media feed
- 4 articles to help your brand succeed with smart design
- 5 things to Tweet this Mother's Day
- Top hashtags and keywords to use for Mother's Day
- 6 things to Tweet when attending a conference
- How to choose your hero stat
- Why goals matter to influencer marketing success
- 5 interesting ways to share your brand story
- 5 tips for more effective influencer marketing
- 5 things to Tweet this June
- Why you should focus on native and video advertising
- 7 tips for creating engaging content every day
- Before you hire a video production team, answer these important questions
- June lineup: Key dates to help plan your marketing campaigns
- Top hashtags and keywords to use this June
- Hidden Twitter tricks from a social media manager: Tweet scheduling
- 3 ways brands can harness video on Twitter
- How to use Twitter analytics to plan more impactful Tweets
- 5 things to Tweet this Father's Day
- 5 tips for responding to customer mentions on Twitter
- Is your company giving video the love it deserves?
- Top hashtags and keywords to use for Father's Day
- What people want out of video content
- 3 ways to incorporate video into your everyday content
- Brand yourself — personal branding for business owners
- #TweetHour recap: How to incorporate video on Twitter
- 3 data-driven, engagement boosting ideas for lifestyle brands
- Need Tweet ideas? Here are 6 things to Tweet this July
- Repurposing your influencer marketing content for maximum value
- 5 data-driven tips for scroll stopping video
- Short video content: Creating a strategy for snackable videos
- July lineup: Key dates to help plan your marketing campaigns
- Top hashtags and keywords to use this July
- #TweetHour recap: How to produce engaging video
- Video success story: MailChimp
- Need blog post ideas for your business?
- Creative, less-than-obvious ideas to promote your whitepaper on Twitter
- 3 reasons videos capture Twitter's mobile audience
- How do I create a blog editorial calendar that works?
- How to tighten up your content marketing strategy during a slow summer
- How to improve your Direct Message conversations with customers
- 7 articles to help you craft the perfect Twitter Video strategy
- How ClassPass does customer service replies
- 7 blog post ideas that will engage your readers every time
- August lineup: Key dates to help plan your marketing campaigns
- 6 tips for nailing your chatbot content strategy
- How to create personas and map content to the buyer journey
- 6 PR trends to check out in 2018
- 5 demand generation problems B2B marketers should be prepared for
- Organize your Twitter strategy around content pillars
- Artificial Intelligence: Terms marketers need to know
- Get help with Twitter Ads
- How often should I publish content? Content marketers on their cadences
- How to promote your Twitter chat
- 5 Twitter content formats that influence purchase behavior
- Customer care: 7 ways to provide stellar customer service on social media
- September lineup: Key dates for Twitter marketers
- Defining your brand voice with Tweets
- Q&A: HelloFresh's Sr. Social Media Manager shares tips on developing your social strategy
- 10 creative ways to repurpose your data visualizations
- August roundup: Creative Tweet examples and marketing campaigns
- The do's and don’ts of hashtags
- Email marketing strategies to drive ROI
- How to align Twitter content to your marketing objectives
- A thank you to our community
- Q&A: How fashion start-up Rothy's uses Twitter to drive brand awareness
- How to say more with short Tweets
- 3 reasons content is still king in the age of influencer marketing
- Get to know your followers with Twitter audience insights
- The 6 essential elements of an effective marketing strategy
- October lineup: Key dates for Twitter marketers
- Everything you need to know about Twitter Moments
- 3 ways to build a brand narrative with short-form content
- September roundup: Creative Tweet examples and marketing campaigns
- 7 key steps to choosing the right social media influencer
- Q&A: How Sticker Mule creates Tweets that drive engagement
- The most important media and PR trends for 2018
- How to build an editorial calendar that gets results
- 5 brands that created Tweets for omni-channel marketing campaigns
- How to use GIFs to strengthen your brand
- 9 ways to turn ebooks into fresh content
- 3 things to consider when planning your 2018 ad budget
- Create a successful content marketing strategy
- Do you have a goal for your marketing email
- 5 effective ways conference presenters can use Twitter
- #TweetHour recap: Content Marketing Institute shares blogging tips for B2B marketers
- Q&A: How InVision uses Twitter Ads for event marketing
- 7 ways to create Tweets that support your omni-channel marketing
- November lineup: Key dates for Twitter marketers
The psychology of shareable content
This article and expertise was originally published on Forbes.
Sharable 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 thousands of new potential followers, earn tons of referral traffic, and you’ll gain permanent links that boost your domain authority, and 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, and how can you use this to your advantage?
A couple of years ago, Moz and BuzzSumo teamed up to examine a million pieces of content and determine the science behind content earning links and shares. They found a handful of correlations worth noting about content that gets shared frequently.
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, presumably for the same reasons. On the other end of the spectrum, even though 85% of content contains 1,000 words or fewer, the 15% of content that contains more than 1,000 words gets far more shares and links.
Most importantly, they found that the number of shares different posts receive do not represent an average; instead, there are a handful of “outlier” posts that get a disproportionately large number of links and shares, while the majority of content gets nothing. This is important to note, as it suggests that you’re better off creating a handful of standout 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 three main “types” of content—those that fulfill one or more of the following functions:
- Utility. We like to share content that we deem useful or helpful in certain situations. This is one reason “life hacks” became as popular as they did; these are small tricks that make your daily life easier, and because they’re useful, we want our friends and loved ones to share in their application.
- Entertainment. It shouldn’t shock you to learn that entertaining pieces of content also encourage us to share. We like to laugh, or be amused, and it makes us feel good to share that positive experience with others.
- Inspiration. Interesting and inspirational content is also highly sharable. 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, and perhaps unsurprisingly, 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 sharability—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 sharable? 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. Accordingly, it’s tough to form any one conclusion from this, but 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.
Evolutionarily, this makes sense; sharing surprises with others is a good way to update the group about a new threat or a new resource. But it also 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 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—there’s very little middle ground for sharability.
- Consider your purpose. Useful, entertaining, and interesting 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 each other.
Obviously, there’s no surefire formula for success in creating sharable, “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.
This article was written by Jayson DeMers from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Twitter or its affiliates.