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What makes content shareable?

Creating shareable content as part of content marketing Yesterday, we looked at tools to help you find content to drive your content marketing. But to achieve its greatest value, your content has to reach the right people. Happily, on the social web, your friends, fans and followers will share your content with their friends, fans and followers, as long as you give them something worth sharing.

So, what makes for shareable content? Let’s take a look.

  • Educate, enlighten or entertain. Offer your friends, fans and followers something genuinely interesting, informative or funny. Everyone’s drowning in information (or, at least, “stuff” masquerading as information). Look for content that truly adds value to the conversation. “Me, too” is never going to get shared. So why would you share “me, too” content with your friends?
  • Timing matters. your friends, followers and fans react to items that resonate with what’s going on in their world. Pay attention to what’s gaining traction among your social set, then offer information with an alternative viewpoint, new perspective or funny take while it’s fresh.
  • Talk to one person. Who are you sharing your content with? Seriously. Who is the one person that you most want to see your latest pithy post or tasty tweet? Write with just one person in mind to ensure your content truly resonates. And, of course, since we’re all a lot more alike than we care to admit, content that works for one, often works for all.
  • Call to action. What do you want the person you’re talking with to do with the information you share? Think about it. Then ask her to do it. Dan Zarrella notes that tweets with a “please retweet” message included, amazingly enough, get more retweets. And blog posts that ask for comments get more comments. Be careful not to overdo it but there’s little harm in asking for the occasional like, link or share. As long as your friends, fans and followers find value in what you provide them, they’ll be happy to support you. But only if you ask them to.
  • Show, don’t tell. Finally, we’ve heard for years that a picture’s worth a thousand words. A simple graphic (or, yes, the dreaded “infographic”) often presents your information quickly and clearly. Which is exactly what your friends, fans and followers look for, like, and share with their friends, fans and followers, too.

Creating shareable content takes some time and energy. But so does sharing content. If you want your followers to forward your content — to help you out — do them a favor and take the time to make it worth their while. The best way to ensure your content is shareable is to give them something worth sharing in the first place.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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