You may have noticed that some of your articles get a lot of shares and others, in spite of the fact that they are viewed, don’t. This difference is significant and can affect your popularity as a blogger and your rank in SERPs. Fortunately, it is – not easy at first – but quite a doable job to make slight changes to how you shape your content to make it more appealing and shareable.
1. Why do People Share?
With your friends and loved ones, you share because you want them to feel as good as you felt when you had a certain experience. When you share things with your colleagues, you do it to enhance your reputation as a person of taste as also to define your identity. Sometimes you share out of the goodness of your heart – you want others to know what you have learned so that they can also benefit from it.
Agreed, these are generalizations, but they more or less sum up why people share at all: emotional reasons, egoistic motives and sheer altruism. Assuming we are right, your content becomes shareable when it evokes at least one of these responses in the reader’s mind.
2. What do People Share?
- The next step, then, is to determine the kind of content that can evoke these responses. Something nice, something that makes you feel good – a good narrative, perhaps, a story that moved you to tears and made you feel emotions that you are not normally in touch with while continuing to battle the mundaneness of daily living – these are the things that you’d normally want to share with your loved ones.
- As for what you would share with your colleagues or even with your ‘Facebook friends’ – things that are really interesting, news that is bound to take everyone by surprise, something that you have stumbled upon before others have (you believe), and something that makes you look really smart and well informed. These include jokes.Oh yes, we did not include jokes in the first category because very often (though not invariably), jokes are shared to show off your sense of humor. The idea that your sense of humor can be ‘shown off’ may itself be a big joke, but it is also a truth that we don’t always choose to recognize.
- And finally, the type of content that is shared for altruistic reasons – this could range from an article on alternative medicine that might prove to be a better alternative to conventional and intrusive modes of treatment to a ‘How to’ article on arranging flowers. It could also be some injustice that you want everyone to take note of (and do something about).
We have tried to categorize because that makes our job simpler and not because there is some kind of rule set in stone governing the act of sharing. What we need here is to take note of the reasons for sharing.
3. Specifics of Shareable Content:
An article does not have to contain all the ‘elements’ that we have mentioned to make it shareable. We are not trying to bake a cake with alternate layers of chocolate and vanilla. Things merge, dissipate, and come together again when you are trying to express (abstract) emotions or ideas through the (concrete) medium of writing. However, certain things like a good opening paragraph could make people want to keep reading.
Researched facts with citations written succinctly and in an easy to understand language could be reason for sharing. The subject could be anything, but if it is something that you are genuinely interested in, your passion will most likely go into what you write – and if you have a reasonably good style of writing, people will be touched.
It is also about your attitude – are you trying to impress everyone with your knowledge, or are you passionate about writing something people can actually use or / and enjoy? If it is the former, you will almost never have any shares. People don’t like pretentious and condescending authors who seem to think they know better (not even when they may actually know better).
Don’t write to impress – write to inform and entertain, instead. If possible, review the content 48 hours (just an approximation) later and see if you still like it as much as you did when you created it.
Try to understand why someone would spend any time going through it leave alone sharing it. Is it exceptionally informative? Exceptionally entertaining? Makes for excellent reading because of its style (literary value)? Is it fun to read? Does it have a racy, captivating style? And did you ramble too much, or end right before the reader’s concentration and interest failed them?
And that last point prompts us to conclude before we fall into that trap. But one last word: never skimp on your research when you create your content, be it an article or an infographic, and remember to practice your craft regularly while being your own best critic.