Is Your Content Worth Sharing

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We’ve talked before about how to make sure your content is worth reading. Now, we need to talk about what makes your content worth sharing. After all, having the readers who already end up at your website read it is good, and having readers click on your content from search engines is even better, but the end goal of any content marketer is to create a piece that “goes viral.”

Going viral means different things to different people, but the essential concept is that, all of a sudden, the video or article is everywhere. For example, a good friend of mine wrote a piece thanking Carrie Fisher for her portrayal of General Organa in the recent Star Wars film, and speaking out passionately against Hollywood’s anti-aging demands. I loved the piece and shared it. I sent it specifically to a couple of other friends, asking them to share it.

But the piece took on a life of its own. By the end of the day, friends who had no idea that I shared a connection with the author were sending it to me, telling me they were sure it was something that I would love.

That’s what going viral looks like. A piece takes on a life far beyond its original audience, and creates exposure beyond the anticipated sphere.

Let’s look at why I chose to share the piece about General Organa. There were several factors in my decision (leaving out that I adore the author and want to see her writing career succeed).

I loved the piece.

If I’m going to share something, I need to have read it all the way to the end, and I need to either enjoy, or enjoy arguing with it. People don’t share articles that they hate reading.

Creating content that resonates with your readers should always be your first goal.

It can be tempting to write something just so that people will argue with it, but as a long term strategy, this won’t work. First of all, many people will “subtweet” or “vaguebook” about your article – complain about it without linking to the search. This defeats the goals of getting more eyes on your page. Second, if people only show up to argue, you’re not attracting your customers, which is the second point of content marketing.

I loved the way I felt sharing the piece.

Ultimately, this is the reason I share at least half of what I share on social media. Not only did I enjoy the piece and agree with it, I agree with it so strongly that I want my friends to see me agreeing with it publicly. It made a statement that I could co-sign by clicking the Share button on Facebook.

Some media outlets refer to this as “slacktivism,” but millennials and Gen-Xers who have grown up with social media as a big part of their lives look at this differently. By sharing these sorts of articles, they see themselves as inviting conversation and discussion, but also as making public statements that their parents would have seen as uncouth or impolite. They see themselves as revolutionary by discussing politics openly and passionately.

I felt that my friends could gain something from this article.
We’ve talked before about how content writers need to remember that their audience should come away from any piece of content feeling slightly more educated, passionate, or interested. When it comes to sharing an article on social media, this is even more true. For me to be share a piece, I need to believe not just that my friends might learn something, or enjoy something as much as I do, but I also need to think that they might not see the article on their own.

When you’re writing content, don’t chase after viral. You can’t predict what will go viral and what won’t; there’s no formula that makes it happen. What you can do is write great content, focus on making sure that the excerpts that will turn up on social media are top notch and engaging, always use high quality photos, and keep your content intriguing so that readers come away with something. Create regular content, so that your webpage is seen as regularly updated by search engine algorithms, and do the hard work.

You may never see a piece go viral, but you will see your shares improve, see your content gain in popularity, and see that you can influence your own trends over time.

1 COMMENT

  1. You hit on a critical element of content and the reason it gets shared. If our audiences come away from their interatcion with our content better prepared to solve a problem or improve our lives our content has acheived its goal. Content that is worth sharing gets shared. The dilemma is getting discovered! Thanks for the tips.

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