By understanding what motivates people to share content, we can plan for shareable content before ever starting to create it.
Why is it that people are excited to continually share content from certain sites to friends, while not at all for other sites?
These are some of the main factors at play when it comes to why people pass on certain pieces of content.
Emotion Over Logic
Really great marketing gets people to take action by having them think emotionally rather than logically.
For example, if a video gets someone really shocked and outraged about some political position, they might post that video on their Facebook wall without necessarily double-checking any of the facts in the video.
It wasn't necessarily that the video presented shocking facts. It's more about the fact that the content managed to get the viewer in an outraged emotional stage.
If you can get your content to really get people fired up, they'll often be much more willing to pass it on to their network.
Easy, Positive and Overall good Experience
This principle is very basic. It's the same reason why we recommend restaurants and movies to friends. We just want them to have a better experience.
If you create a website that helps people in a certain industry do things faster and cheaper, there's a good chance your content will get passed around simply because people want their friends to have a better experience.
To make this process easier, it often helps to have “sound-bite sized” pieces of information.
For example, if you run a website about how to repair your credit, create a shareable infographic in addition to the blog content.
If your reader has a friend who's on the verge of buying a car or house, it's much easier for them to pass on an infographic than a full post. It's also much more likely to be seen and read by the second person, too.
You Helped Them, Now They Want to Help You
Have you ever had the experience of getting such great customer service that you wanted to return the favor?
For example, you go to a restaurant whose service is so spectacular that you're encouraged to bring more people to their establishment just to make sure their business thrives.
If your clients get the sense that you're really looking out for them and that you really care about them, they'll often be willing to return the favor.
Ordinary service doesn't elicit this kind of loyalty. But if you provide exceptional service, this kind of marketing can be one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal.
Many viral campaigns work just based on using one of these principles. A few of them activate all three principles and really take off. Which ones make the most sense for your business?