Writing shareable content is damn hard. 😓
The stats make for sad reading.
According to the Buzzsumo Content Trends Report 2018, based on a sample of 100 million posts, 50% of all content gained a mere 4 shares or fewer across all the main social networks.
So if your post gets only five shares, throw a party because you are above average. That’s insane.
The bottom line? Most content is ignored.
Your brand’s precious words you and your team thought would ignite social media, brushed aside without a perfunctory glance, let alone a share.
Today that’s about to change.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to write share-worthy content using 11 proven content frameworks that provoke high-octane social chatter. Plus, there are plenty of viral content examples so you see how it’s done.
Firstly, let’s answer a few basic questions.
Shareable Content: Q&A
Let’s quickly run through a few fundamental but crucial questions.
What is shareable content?
Content so good it moves readers to share it with their peeps on their social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
It spreads fast through the ripple effect. People who consume the shared content pass it on to their friends who also spread it to their friends.
Why is shareable content important?
- It increases brand awareness as more people see your content.
- It boosts engagement with your company as many people interact with your content.
- It improves chances of getting organic backlinks from new people exposed to your content.
- It boosts your brand’s trustworthiness as people see your brand plastered all over different social channels.
- It attracts the attention of industry leaders and opens up opportunities like collaborations, guest post requests, or podcast interviews.
How do you get people to share your content?
- Write useful content.
If it’s helpful, they gladly share it with their friends so they too get help.
- Appeal to their senses.
Aroused emotions push people to share more.
- Give them the opportunity to share.
Place share buttons in strategic places so they are visible and accessible.
- Tell fascinating stories.
Stories are part of the human psyche. Everybody loves a good story.
- Take advantage of User Generated Content (USG)
Content based on your audience’s feedback resonates.
- Take a clear stand on important subjects.
If you reaffirm people’s beliefs, they’ll feel good and share your brand’s content.
- Craft more visual content.
Studies show people share visual content more than plain content.
- Be original.
If you repeat what’s already out there, you’ll be ignored but if you find unique angles, you’ll be pursued.
- Latch onto a trending popular culture topic.
Tie your content into a trendy topic and ride along.
Here are 9 easy ways to write content that gets shared like crazy and spreads like wildfire 🔥🔥🔥Click To Tweet
How do I make content go viral?
Sorry, you can’t make your content go viral.
That’s up to your audience to decide.
But you can write amazing content worthy enough to go viral and dominate social media conversations.
Which leads us to the next question…
How do I write amazing content?
Here are 10 shareable content ideas:
- Write captivating headlines.
- Craft tantalizing sub-headlines.
- Keep it simple and straightforward.
- Avoid jargon and complex language.
- Use the active voice, not the passive voice.
- Use short sentences (around 12-18 words)
- Use short paragraphs (up to 4 sentences)
- Inject ginger and fizz- your irresistible personality.
- Make them laugh.
- Address issues your audience cares about.
5 Examples Of Shareable Content
Research shows popular content fall into 5 categories.
Here’s the list graded in order of performance.
- List posts aka listicles.
- How-to articles.
With the essentials out of the way, let’s move on to the shares-friendly content recipes.
11 Top Shareable Content Recipes You Must Try
Now, let’s go over 11 content frameworks of popular content.
Recipe #1: The Hot Sex Magazine Editor
Blockbuster magazines, especially sex ones (no need to blush), have one thing in common- scintillating headlines.
The kind that grabs you by the collar and never lets go until you take a peek at the content they are advertising. Yes, your headline is a mini ad.
Here’s a good example from Cosmopolitan.
Besides gorgeous Khloe Kardashian, the magazine’s headlines are alluring.
- 99 Sex Questions: We Answer The Naughtiest Questions On Your Mind-In 20 Words Or Less
- The Smile That Makes Men Hit On You
- Feel Great Naked! 9 Foods That Burn Fat While You Eat
How’s that for simplicity, candor, and intrigue?
No wonder you can’t help yourself at the grocery store book rack.
Your post rises or falls on the quality of the headline. If nobody clicks on your headline, your post won’t get read. And if your post isn’t read, it won’t get shared, period.
I won’t bore you with headline stats you’ve heard a bazillion times like 80% of people only read the headline blah blah.
Instead, I’d like to show you a recent shocking statistic from a study by Authority Hacker:
Yes, 10% of headlines account for 90% of social shares and engagement. Another analysis by Backlinko revealed 1.3% of articles generate 75% of all social shares. Worse, 59% of people share content based on the headline alone without reading a single word more!
What’s the lesson of all this?
Write a great headline, or forget about shares.
Here’s how to write irresistible headlines
- Lean towards clarity, not cleverness. Don’t over-complicate things.
- Follow tried and tested headlines templates, don’t start from scratch.
- Hook readers by including a clear benefit in your headline.
- Lure readers through emotion-dripping power words but don’t be clickbaity.
- Slip in click-through rate boosters like numbers and parentheticals.
- Scour through comments of popular niche articles to glean headline gems from your audience.
- Test your headlines with a small group first and use the winner.
- Polish up your headlines with headline analyzer tools like CoSchedule, Sharethrough, or Advanced Marketing Institute, but still use your judgment.
- Overall, people respond to headlines that give (or promise) them an answer to a topic they care about.
Basically, a humdinger of a headline kick-starts your shares journey.
Recipe #2: The Captivating Campfire Storyteller
Nothing pulls people’s heartstrings like a well-told story.
Stories evoke strong emotions, engage readers, and get people talking.
Master blogger Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger knows how to work touching micro-stories into his content.
An avalanche of shares and comments.
His post ‘7 Life Lessons From A Guy Who Can’t Move Anything But His Face’ generated a lot of buzz.
He shares some major challenges he has gone through to get to where he is:
“Not to imply it’s been easy, mind you. During my 34 years, I’ve had pneumonia 16 times, recovered from more than 50 broken bones, and spent literally years of my life in hospitals and doctor’s offices.
But I’m still here. Not only have I survived my condition, but I’ve built a life most people only dream about.”
This mini-story dares readers to pursue their dreams in spite of seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Here’s how to incorporate stories into your content
- Massage simple but fascinating personal anecdotes into your content to illustrate your points.
- Be vulnerable and share personal stories of your failures so readers see you’re authentic… even Superman has his kryptonite but fans still adore him.
- Target a particular emotion in your story and harp on it.
- Make your audience the hero of the story so they identify with it.
- Tell your audience success stories.
- Follow proven storytelling frameworks like this one.
Weave gripping stories into your content.
Thereafter, you’ll open the shares faucet.
Recipe #3: The Firebrand Rabble-rouser
Controversial content triggers a deluge of shares.
A strategic no-holds-barred attack of a popular stance in your niche:
- Evokes a reaction from both supporters (because it reaffirms their beliefs) and detractors (because they want to prove you wrong).
- Attracts the attention of influencers in your niche.
- Allows you to lead the conversation – gives you a voice and recognition in your industry.
Controversial content triggers a deluge of shares. A strategic no-holds-barred attack of a popular stance in your niche evokes a reaction from both your supporters and detractors. 👎👊👍Click To Tweet
Research conducted by the renowned Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania concluded:
“Content that evokes high-arousal emotions awe, anger, and anxiety, regardless of their valence, is more viral.” (Source)
Contrarian content fits the bill perfectly.
Be careful though.
Rabble-rousing is more than an attack of an opposing view. It’s taking a stand for what you believe in and letting people react however they want to react.
The post opens by making a bold provocative statement that goes against common advice.
“It’s common wisdom. Near gospel really, and not just among young people and founders. Across generational lines, sentiments like those from Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement at Stanford have been engraved into our collective consciousness:
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
In other words, follow your passion. There’s just one problem: ‘Follow your passion’ is dangerous advice… nearly everything you’ve been told about following your passion is wrong. “
But don’t raise a furore over anything.
That’d make you a jerk.
Yours must be a case of much ado about something. Something your audience cares deeply about.
Here’s how to write antagonistic content
- Identify a popular stance or approach in your space you feel is wrong.
- Pinpoint exactly what’s wrong and why it misses the mark.
- Show the destructiveness of the prevailing thought.
- Support your argument with research from reputable sources.
- Use case studies to prove your points.
- Attack groups of people you audience hate.
- Point the right way… don’t curse the darkness, switch on the light.
- Share your convictions plainly, confidently, and unashamedly.
- Scared of stirring the pot? Start by writing a manifesto type of post where you focus on articulating your beliefs without poking those with different convictions.
So, start trouble and get people talking… fast.
Recipe #4: The Affable Home Shopping TV Host
Home shopping TV hosts are masters at showing how products work.
Whether it’s a toaster or vacuum cleaner the ever-nice hosts show how they work with precision and simplicity.
They don’t give you dry product features. They perform. They transform sterile products like a knife into a wonder.
Undoubtedly, well done how-to articles are very popular.
They’re evergreen and only need the occasional update.
As an illustration, renowned content marketer, author and speaker Mike Allton knows firsthand the power of how-to content. One of the most popular posts on his blog is a simple post titled ‘How To Launch Your Blog’s Podcast‘
The post includes fine details like:
- How to add a new episode
- Setting up iTunes
- Setting up Stitcher
- Setting up Google
- How to promote your podcast
As a result, readers get all the step-by-step info they need complete with screenshots. Doing the task in question becomes easy.
Here’s how to write how-to content
- Identify a nagging problem your audience is struggling with.
- Show them step by step how to solve the problem.
- Go deeper and further than most in your guide.
- Use a lot of graphics to make it easy for people to understand.
- Touch both ends of the spectrum, create guides for both beginners and advanced folks in your space.
- Target brand new tools or approaches in your niche and be the first to share a how-to guide on it.
- Identify hidden product features and explain how to use them.
By and large, good well-structured teaching spreads widely.
Recipe #5: The Naughty Piggyback Kid
Every industry has gatekeepers who hold the golden keys of influence.
By including niche influencers in your content, you get them to share it with their myriad followers.
Big assumption: your post is seriously-good. Only then will big shots in your industry say yes to your request.
For example, Brian Lang of Small Business Ideas Blog put his business on the spotlight early in his career through a widely shared roundup post.
His post featured well-known figures like Peg Fitzpatrick, Ana Hoffman, Brian Dean and Joost de Valk:
These industry heavyweights boosted his shares in a big way.
Here’s how to include influencers in your content
- Connect with influencers and learn from them before you need them.
- Give 10x before you make one ask so you’re not seen as a pesky parasite.
- Get into influencers’ radar by sharing their stuff, commenting on their posts, or the big one that never fails, buying their, ahem, pricey products.
- Quote influencers publicly available work like blog posts, podcast episodes, and books. Tag them on social media once the post is live. You get tons of shares without the outreach headache.
- Get into an influencer’s inbox by signing up for their newsletter and hitting reply after receiving the welcome message and thanking them for the value they provide. I’m amazed at how many content marketers don’t use this easy hack!
- Ask influencers to make original contributions to your content. Make sure the question is sharp.
In summary, ride on the back of influencers and watch your shares soar.
Recipe #6: The Fervent Weight Loss Marketer
Weight loss marketers are masters of showing the impact of their products by revealing the before and after.
You can steal this approach.
Share product success stories… yours and your peeps’.
Case studies are stories on steroids.
Byran Harris of Growth Tools rapidly grew his audience to 300k by trying various list building tactics and sharing the results with his audience.
His most shared post ‘How to Create a $6 million Webinar’ is a case study of how ConvertKit has used webinars to grow their business.
Evidently, the piece is filled with facts, figures, and frameworks like:
- 2 outreach emails to show how ConvertKit pitch potential partners.
- Webinar email sequences for pre and post webinar follow-up.
- Webinar framework example from title slide to closure.
- Overview of the 5-step process to hosting a successful partner webinar.
In the end, the pathway to building a webinar funnel is clear for readers.
Here’s how to write case studies
- Identify your (or associates) amazing results.
- Interview all people involved in the success story to get all the juicy details.
- Give details of the before and after… and the exact process you followed to get the results. Think TV makeover shows.
- Do an experiment to find solutions to a pressing problem faced by your audience and publish the results.
- Publish both good and bad results, it’s more authentic.
- Make sure the hero of the case study matches your ideal prospect or customer so they identify with the story.
Undeniably, because everyone loves winning, case studies are always a big hit.
Recipe #7: The Colorful Graffiti Artist
Graffiti artists woo you with breathtaking color-combos.
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.
What’s the point? We are visual beings.
The more visuals we see the more engaged we become.
In a study of over one million articles, Buzzsumo found articles with an image once every 75-100 words received double the social media shares than articles with fewer images.
Be a graffiti artist. Mesmerize your audience with rich visuals.
It’s easy to go overboard with images and flood your content with fluffy cats.
Resist the urge.
Only use relevant images. Choose substance over sizzle.
Choosing the right image is especially important when trying to get traction on a social media platform like Pinterest.
Nico Prins, the founder of Launch Space, who has had a lot of success getting content shared on Pinterest explains.
“While you might have an inclination of what might work on Pinterest you never really know. Using multi-variant testing, creating multiple social media images for each post significantly increases the chance of your content going viral.”
Use the right image, in the right context, and at the right moment.
Here’s how to create visual content
- Lead with a featured image at the top of a post to pull readers in.
- Include screenshots, diagrams, and charts to validate your points and claims.
- Use custom images to explain complex concepts and also to stand out (people become blind to overdone stock images)
- Embed short YouTube videos into your content.
- Craft quote cards to draw people’s attention to important points.
- Spice things up with GIFs and hot emojis. 🔥🔥🔥
- Turn your best-performing post into an infographic or slides.
- Check out these interactive content tools to make your work easier.
- Create custom images for each social media platform when sharing there.
In light of this, give your audience visual candy. They’ll gobble-up and share your content.
Recipe #8: The Showstopper Hollywood Star
People need info but they don’t want another Wikipedia.
The solution? Edutainment.
Give them tantalizing pizza, not plain veggies. 🍕
People need info but they don’t want another Wikipedia. The solution? Edutainment. Give them tantalizing pizza, not plain veggies. 🍕Click To Tweet
Turns out grandma was right after all. If you want the content medicine to go down well… add a bit of sugar.
Entertain. Dazzle. Enrapture.
And you’ll, like Hollywood stars, have thousands of followers who rave about you to their friends everywhere they go.
Enchanting Marketing founder Henneke Duistermaat knows how to delight, enchant, and teach her audience in one smooth stroke. Because they’re thrilled, they share her content.
From standout custom images to catchy unusual expressions like ‘crimes against readability’, Henneke hypnotizes her audience.
Here’s how to create delightful content
- Talk like a human: stamp out unintelligible gobbledygook and embrace natural everyday language people get.
- Write conversationally: drop the bone-dry sleep-inducing college thesis style.
- Use vivid language and imagery so people sense, see, touch, hear, and taste your spellbinding content.
- Throw in a dose of humor, and, while their mouths are wide open as they laugh pop in a valuable lesson or two.
- Survey your audience to find out what they enjoy and give it to them.
- Add a gobbet of personality into your content. Make sure it fits into your brand voice.
In a word, people pass on entertaining content with joy.
Recipe #9: The Meticulous Jumbo Jet Pilot
Do you know what keeps the Boeing 747, queen of the skies and darling of passengers for decades safe from takeoff to landing?
From before-takeoff checklists on the ground to emergency checklists mid-air, to before-landing checklists, pilots follow them religiously.
Checklists are popular with readers because they:
- Guide– nothing beats a checklist for quick guidance on a subject.
- Guard– checklists protect you from veering off course.
- Gist– checklists boil down complex subjects down to the core.
- Handy- checklists are portable and easy to use.
Checklists offer readers delicious bite-sized content. And, like all good food, taste better when shared with friends.Checklists offer readers delicious bite-sized content. And, like all good food, taste better when shared with friends. ✔✔✔ Click To Tweet
The most shared post of all time on the Content Marketing Institute blog is a checklist ‘21 Types of Content We Crave’.
With only 466 words in total, 163 words for the infographic itself and 303 for the surrounding copy, the original post is:
It’s easy to digest. Consequently, people passed it on all over the internet.
Here’s how to create a checklist
- Condense a lengthy best-performing guide on your site into a checklist.
- Identify a complex topic or process your audience cares about and compress it into an easy-to-understand checklist.
- Make it look beautiful, don’t skimp on design.
- Go narrow: be hyper-specific, not general.
- Create a list that answers your audience’s hottest question.
In brief, checklists are an easy way to make your content appetizing.
Recipe #10: The Fun-loving Quiz Master
Quirky, cheeky, amusing characters.
But their biggest strength is getting you so absorbed in the game that everything else becomes insignificant.
That’s what interactive content does.
Interactive content like quizzes, games, and contests is on the rise.
It’s great for education, engagement, lead generation, and enjoyment. It’s the enjoyment aspect that gives it the viral element. People dig sharing joyful experiences with loved ones.
Case in point?
A grammar quiz titled “Only 1 In 50 People Can Identify These 16 Grammar Mistakes. Can You?” generated a lot of engagement and organic reach.
Check out the comments section.
Since everybody loves a good challenge and a bit of fun, the quiz draws huge crowds. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I took the quiz and was duly crowned chief of grammar police. 😎
Here’s how to create interactive content
- Always start with a goal. Excitement on its own has no marketing value, use it to drive a specific action e.g. to fill a form or schedule an appointment.
- Remember: interactive content doesn’t substitute content, it supports it. Wrap your game around solid takeaways.
- Produce interactive videos.
- Use the opportunity to collect as much info as possible about your audience.
- Come up with unforgettable augmented reality (AR) driven encounters for your audience. Branded games, treasure hunts, and fascinating virtual User Generated Content experiences get people hooked.
- Gamify parts of your campaign.
In essence, interactive content appeals to our innate desire for involvement.
Lastly, let’s look at the treasure hunting content recipe.
Recipe #11: The Ever-searching Treasure Hunter
Treasure hunters are a curious determined bunch.
They don’t stop digging until they find a glorious fortune.
Like a treasure hunter, if you dig through gobs of data, you’ll unearth gems never found elsewhere.
Novelty is shares gold dust.
Brian Dean of Backlinko has had great success with this strategy. He publishes many original research posts like this search engine ranking factors study.
Accordingly, the article leaves readers with data-backed findings like:
- Getting links from a diverse group of domains is extremely important for SEO.
- Increasing the number of links to your site may improve rankings for other pages on your site.
- Writing comprehensive, in-depth content can help you rank higher in Google.
- Fast-loading websites are significantly more likely to rank in Google.
Here’s how to create original research posts
- Find a trending topic in your industry using your favorite SEO tool.
- If you have a big audience, do a study based on the hot topics you identified. If your audience is small, partner with someone who has a larger one.
- Redo a published well-liked old study that hasn’t been updated for a while.
- Reach out to influencers already talking about ideas your research proves. Present the results of your study to them and ask them to share if they like it.
- Reach out to popular podcasts to talk about the results of your study.
- Present your data in a visually appealing way.
- Remember to publish your results as a blog post.
Important to realize, original research is a linkable and shareable asset.11 proven shareable content recipes to inspire your audience to share your delicious content like never before! 🍕🍟🍔🍗Click To Tweet
Shareable Content Alone Isn’t Enough…
All in all, be careful with coveting shares for shares sake.
Doing so will turn your bumper shares into nothing but an empty vanity metric. Such shares do absolutely nothing for your brand, besides a few chest-thumping shameless brags to your peers.
Desire and drive shares from:
- your ideal prospects who turn into quality leads.
- the right channels frequented by your audience.
- your pillar content you want to spread widely.
- key optimized posts designed to draw people into your funnel.
Then, any shares you get will help grow your business. Even if they’re few.
It’s Your Turn To Write The Most Shared Content On Social Media A.K.A Viral Content
Your struggle for shares is over. Use these shareable content tips to write mouth-watering content that gets shared like crazy.
In summary, what’s the psychology of shareable content?
These content types inflame our primal emotions:
Fear, anger, joy, or awe.
By using these recipes, you take your readers on a riveting emotional experience. Charged emotions urge people to reach for the share button instinctively.
Fire up your audience’s strong base emotions.
Who knows, your post might go viral.