The Rocket Blog

10 Ingenious Ways to Create Sharable Content
By Tonya Thompson on Jul 31, 2015

Looking for a way to jump start your content marketing strategy through highly sharable pieces on social media? Try one (or all) of these 10 ingenious approaches to creating sharable content. 

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1. Focus on the good

Infamous for his wild antics but famous for his biting wit, writer Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.” We agree, and so do social media audiences, because good news tends to be shared a lot. In a media environment that is oversaturated with negativity, people respond positively to content that focuses on the good rather than the bad. In fact, Jonah Berger looked at nearly 7,000 New York Times articles and their share rates on social media to find that good news was more likely to turn viral. Another study by BuzzSumo found data showing that awe, laughter, and amusement were the most common emotions attached to content that has been shared frequently. 

2. Give them a list

For better or worse, we’ve all become accustomed to scanning information and reading it in quick bursts, so numbered lists automatically become highly sharable content by virtue of their basic structure. Garrett Moon, founder at CoSchedule, conducted a study in which he analyzed nearly 1 million headlines of content to see if there was a connection between certain words in the headline and how often a piece of content gets shared once published.  The results of his analysis showed that lists were shared more than any other format. You can read more information about his analysis here.  

3. Add visual interest

Put two books in front of a child – one without pictures and another with pictures – and you can bet that child will pick up the one with pictures. People like pictures.  It helps us understand what is happening in the text better and breaks up the monotony of words to make reading more entertaining. Photos, infographics, cartoons, and even gifs add increased visual appeal and help make your content more sharable on social media. 

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4. Parables

Content marketing should, at its core, tell your company or organization's story.  It is this concept of story that creates a more personable brand identity. And when you think of ways of storytelling, consider one of the oldest forms of it: parables. The parable format takes storytelling beyond basic narrative and inserts an object lesson to be learned.  Since your audience will be more engaged with a story that is relevant to their lives and experiences, parables are an excellent way to facilitate that process and can be written about almost any topic. 

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5. App, gadget, or productivity tool of the week/month/year

As an expert in your industry – whether that industry is technology, medicine, human resources or financial planning – you already know the best apps, gadgets, and productivity tools out there.  Creating content that focuses on these tools is not only highly sharable, it also provides valuable, relevant information to your audience that keeps them waiting for more content from you. Building and maintaining that anticipation is a large part of what you need to develop a wider audience and more recognizable brand identity across various social media platforms. This type of content is also useful in gathering followers on those social media accounts, especially if they are people within your same field who are looking for advice and professional development tools to make their lives easier.  

6. Appeal to emotions

Every content piece you create  should contain valuable information but it should also appeal to emotions, either through humor, story, interest or simple gut response. And considering how much information is available on a daily basis through social media, blogs and other news sites, the best way to attract your audience is a headline that pops with emotional appeal. In fact, marketing analysts have developed a free online tool to help you find the 'Emotional Market Value' of your headline. Simply enter the headline you want to use and it will return a score ranking the intellectual, empathetic and spiritual responses your chosen words are likely to elicit from a general audience. 

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7. Use humor

Noted satirist and author Mark Twain once wrote, “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing.  The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”  And he's right.  In the range of emotional content, the high-arousal, positive emotional appeal of humor climbs near the top of the list of something we all like to read, regardless of demographics or level of education. Even the staunchest audiences are attracted to humor, and tend to share it on social media because it says something personal about what they find funny and induces a lot of ‘likes’ and comments. You really can't go wrong with it unless it crosses the line to offensive, and even that works for some industries. If you want the data, consider this: A study by Ipsos showed that 61% of people shared interesting content, 43% of people shared funny content and 29% of people shared unique content.

9. Write about your community

Community engagement is something businesses and organizations could always use a little more of. Beyond helping you grow your brand identity and reputation, writing about important, affirming events shaping your community engages wide audiences because people like to hear about what’s happening around them. This is especially true if you live in a city that focuses on community as its inspiration. Add in some good news and emotional appeal and you have a 1-2-3 punch of highly sharable content. 

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10. Read the comments on other blogs in the industry

If a secret to creating highly sharable content is to create content that people want to read, then wouldn’t it make logical sense to find out what people want to read before the content is even created? We think so, too, and have found a really easy way to do it: read the comments of industry blogs and social media posts.  When you come across a piece of content that a lot of people are commenting on online, then the author has done something very right in writing it. Look at the comments, read what people are saying, and use that as a springboard for your own content creation efforts.