What Makes For Shareable Brand Content

What Makes For Shareable Brand Content

I always applaud brands’ ingenuity especially in this evolving world of marketing.

But I’m wondering if some brands are really are getting it right when it comes to social marketing?

Here’s an interesting Wall Street Journal story about Remington hair care products and its use of One Spot, a content technology firm, to expand the distribution of its branded content.

Remington’s goal is to spread their content “virally.”

OneSpot’s CEO Steve Sachs thinks “marketers are realizing you also have to pay for distribution.”

Distribution is important, but that seems to be “old school” marketing, which is more about “pushing” content rather than “pulling” or attracting followers and fans to your content.

Attractive content can go viral or as I prefer become “shareable.”  Content is shared when a brand earns customers’ trust and then engages them with something of value.

Sure, new content technologies and strategies can be valuable, but customers are not naïve. They eventually will resist and avoid content pushing as they do with conventional advertising.

Consider this New York Times Insights Group study about key factors that influence people to share content. No surprise, the study discovered sharing is all about relationships.  It identified these key motivations for sharing:

  • To bring valuable and entertaining content to others.
  • To define ourselves to others.
  • To grow and nourish relationships.
  • To get the word out about causes and brands I care about.

Sharing can be about deeper psychological bases. Psychological Science reports that touching certain emotions can help increase the chance of a message being shared.  Check out this quote from the research:

The sharing of stories or information may be driven in part by arousal. When people are so physiologically aroused, whether due to emotional stimuli or otherwise, the autonomic nervous is activated which then boosts social transmission.”

Similarly, researchers extended their study and considered what type of emotions were content-triggered. The top choices included awe, amusing, moving, illuminating, inspiring, shocking, cute, sex, fear, anger and controversial.

Sounds like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or Napoleon Hills’ ten mind stimuli. They also reflect my mantra that brand content will benefit from being informative, educational, entertaining and engaging.

I appreciate these shareable content tips offered by HootSuite’s Cameron Uganec in this post:

  1. Appeal to your audience’s key motivation — to connect with each other – it’s not just with your brand.
  2. Tell a story.
  3. Trust is the cost of entry for getting shared, so ensure you establish credibility.
  4. Keep the message simple.
  5. Appeal to positive emotions like inspiration, illumination or amusement — see above shareable factors.
  6. Embed a sense of urgency.

Now, I’m not saying that Remington’s strategy is ineffective. For years, I have endorsed its content of relevant “how to” advice not only in social but also in mainstream brand communications. This paid distribution method should certainly be part of your marketing strategy, if you can afford it. And if you understand its limitations.

And remember, many brands have created content that becomes shareable based on the reasons “shared” here.  Check out this Clickz List of top 50 content marketing brands.  Also consider how smaller businesses and brands like home entertainment systems, cupcake retailers and yoga studios have succeeded at content marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing content as I did with this “Ohio State Chase to 8” video to my fellow Buckeyes fans this morning. Well, it is 98 hours till kickoff.

What do you think about paying for shareable content?  What about sharing this post?




User Comments ( 2 )

  • Sydney B

    I completely agree with what the NY Times identified as the key motivations for sharing content. I really believe that “defining ourselves to others” could be one of the biggest motivators. People use their social media profiles kind of as a place to build and manage some personal PR and the content you share quickly lets your followers understand what’s important to you/who you are. For businesses, that means you’ve got to appeal to them as someone they would want to associate themselves with…a brand that is successful, trustworthy, and interactive with their fans.

    • Thanks Sydney for your insightful comments. Sharing content seems so simple, but it can also be challenging. And as we are all learning, it can be incredibly powerful for a company and brand when you hit on the relevant and beneficial for its customers. It’s no surprise that this content sharing direction is really what a brand is all about, right? Thanks again, and have a terrific day.

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