Chapter 1 - The Basics

Why Do People Share Online Content?

Awesome online content can gain mass attention and spread virally across the Internet as readers share it with their social media friends and repost it on other websites. So it’s not secret that publishers and marketers love sharable content.

  1. Content gets additional exposure every time it is shared. This is obviously a good thing for any publisher/marketer who wants more eyes to see their content.
  2. Content gets higher search rankings when it is frequently shared. While not so obvious, this is also a crucial step in connecting with more readers.

Viral content comes in a variety of mediums. Infographics, memes, videos, photos, and blog posts are all just a few examples of the types of content that are frequently spread across the Internet. But all of these different types of content have one thing in common: a good idea.

In the CopyPress Ideation Guide, we look at what makes online content ideas shareable. It boils down to a few very important points.

People go to the Internet for two major reasons:

  • To Search – They go to a search engine, social site, website, etc. and search for something they want to find.
  • To Share – They go to a social site, forum, website, etc. and share what they find or what they know.

So when content is widely searched for and shared, it will gain mass attention and spread virally. It can only do that if:

It Is Emotionally Appealing

The most shareable, viral content is layered with emotional appeal. Audiences share this content because when people feel, they care. When people care, they act. Audiences most share content that leaves them feeling: happy, angry, and/or shocked. But there are many emotions to choose from.

  • Ecstasy (Serenity/Joy/Humor)
  • Grief (Pensiveness/Sadness)
  • Vigilance (Anticipation/Interest)
  • Amazement (Distraction/Surprise)
  • Admiration (Acceptance/Trust)
  • Loathing (Boredom/Disgust)
  • Rage (Annoyance/Anger)
  • Terror (Apprehension/Fear)

It Is Simple and Valuable

Great content is easy to understand. It is valuable and impresses, engages, and connects with readers by:

  • Fulfilling a need – by providing a detailed solution to a problem or answer to a question
  • Fulfilling a want – by providing satisfaction or something the reader was looking for
  • Offering enjoyment – by providing something unexpected—something the reader didn’t need or want, but was happy to find

It Is Concrete and Credible

Great content is not abstract. It shows, instead of tells and is full of concrete concepts including: examples, stats, stories, visuals, quotes, and strong supporting details. People must believe in content before they share it, so great content is always credible, true, and backed by real resources and references.

All of these elements must come together to create great content — content that audiences will search for and share.

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