15 Tips for Creating Shareable Content

A website is only as good as its content. Without high quality, authoritative content, your site won’t rank well in search. And without content that is shareable, your site’s backlink profile will suffer. 

But how do you make shareable content? What do we even mean by that? Here is a guide to what makes content shareable, and 15 tips on how to make it. 

What is Shareable Content?

Shareable content is, in short, digital content designed to spread organically on social media and other websites. Think about viral memes: shareable content. Infographics that spread like wildfire: shareable content. A well-designed study or survey with interesting results: shareable content. 

There’s a formula for shareable content. In fact, following this formula when developing content can be a basis for sustained and measurable SEO success.  

In order to share our tips with you on how to create shareable content, we must discuss some pitfalls and potential hazards. The most common scenario is as follows: We’ll start working with a client, and we’re getting excited about our content marketing, outreach and SEO campaign. And then they say it. “What if we create the content, and you do the outreach?” 

This rarely works. Even if their content is awesome, it’s rare that it’s genuinely shareable. Think about why some ideas flop, while others spread contagiously. Our recent digital PR campaign is a great example of shareable content done right.

Here’s a look at one of its graphics that became heavily shared: 

Let’s take a look at how each element can help you create shareable content.

15 Tips for Creating Shareable Content

It might feel daunting at first, but there are several variables in play when creating shareable content. As such, we’ve compiled these 15 tips for creating shareable content. 

1. Keep the concept pitchable in a single subject line

It’s always important to start with your concept. While complicated ideas have their appeal, if you can’t communicate a concept briefly and succinctly, you don’t have the idea fully fleshed out. When performing outreach, ideas that can’t be communicated in a single subject line will fall flat and never see the light of day. 

For example, relatively few people can articulate the actions and purpose of the Large Hadron Collider. On the other hand, anyone who’s seen the infographic above will realize the United States loves a shade of gray for its interiors. This is the power of simple ideas communicated clearly.

the hadron collider - not a simple idea

2. The Content Must Have Something Surprising

In the increasingly saturated world of internet content, something needs to surprise the reader to stay in their mind. No one will share a headline that says “Water is wet, sky is blue.” But a headline that says that 1 in 4 Americans aren’t prepared to file taxes this year? That is very shareable.

Truly shareable content needs to offer fresh ideas, a thought-provoking statistic, or counterintuitive fact in order to pique curiosity and inspire people to click and share.

3. Highlight Universal Experiences with Data

As mentioned above, a headline like, “1 in 4 Americans don’t feel prepared to file their taxes” is something shareable and universal. As the adage goes, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Similarly, finding a way to use data to point to universal concerns or experiences is a great way to get that content shared. 

For example, in a recent campaign, we surveyed Americans nationwide and found that 41% are trying to drink less this year. Alcohol is nearly omnipresent in the U.S.; thinking about consumption is a universal experience. This campaign has been featured in everything from major corporate press releases to banner publications like AdWeek,  NBC affiliates nationwide, CNN, Newsweek, and Fortune. This is the power of capturing data relevant to everyone. 

4. Ground Your Content in Concrete Details

So often it’s easy to develop subjective content.  Content creators tend to do this from first-person narration, and even through the creation of surveys that ask respondents how they feel or think about certain subjects. The difference between subjective information and concrete data can be the difference between your content getting shared, or not. 

There’s a big difference in reading “Americans prefer gray and beige for their interior decorating” as opposed to “The most popular paint color in the US is Sherman Williams’ Swizzle Gray.” While both communicate consumer sentiment, there’s much more concrete detail in the second statement. 

In our decade-plus of creating shareable content, we’ve found that concrete data gets shared over subjective statements most of the time.

5. Create Relevant Content

Gone are the days where very tangential content will help your site. While there was a time where you could squint your eyes and stretch the meaning of ‘relevant’ to a given subject that, in fact, had nothing to do with the product or service you offered, Google’s Helpful Content update from late 2023 changed the game. 

A great example of this is a recent campaign about women using Botox in their 40s for a dermatologist. This highly relevant campaign skyrocketed to #1 in search results within days of upload. This is the perfect type of content for Google, and the perfect way to increase your visibility online. 

6. Establish Your Expertise on the Content

Not only must the content be relevant, but it must also be something that is in your brand’s area of expertise. You should always feel very qualified to explain not just the content itself, but why your site created it. A blog post featuring jewelry trend forecasts will make more sense on a jeweler’s site than from a steel wholesale warehouse. That jeweler would also be best situated to explain the nuances of what the content shows.

7. Don’t Come Across as Promotional

Content must be relevant and in your realm of expertise, but it shouldn’t come across as a sales pitch for your brand. Shareable content needs to provide value beyond pushing a product or service. It should educate, entertain, or offer unique insights that goes beyond a commercial agenda.

It takes a huge amount of brand loyalty for people to advertise for free– people won’t share content they think is an ad. Have you ever DM’d your friends an ad on Instagram? Neither have we. 

8. Use Emotions in Your Content

Content that plays on human emotion will at the very least keep people engaging with it for longer. Think about movie trailers: the ones that play at emotions– humor, fear, love, sentimentality, etc – are much more likely to turn you into movie goers. 

One such example is a recent campaign we did on the phenomenon of ghosting: something nearly all of us have experienced, and something that certainly elicits strong emotions. This content is continuously shared, even long after the cessation of active outreach. 

9. Tell a Story

Do you prefer an excel spreadsheet or an infographic to quickly digest results? Unless you provide context and a narrative throughline to the data you’re presenting as part of your content creation, you won’t be able to get that buy-in from viewers and potential sharers. 

A great example of this is a recent ranking piece we created for a client of the Best Small Towns in America; to do this, we pulled fairly disparate datasets around items that spoke to quality of life like walkability, prevalence of farmer’s markets, and student-teacher ratios in school. On their own, these datasets would only provide one dimension; cumulatively, they paint a picture of some of the loveliest small towns in the U.S.– and content that earned hundreds of links. 

10. Tap Into Trends

Popular phenomena function like snowballs: they only gather momentum, or, in this case, more content and shares. People want to learn about trending topics, especially consumer trends, since they have that key element of being universal, but also they’re specifically interesting at this moment in time. 

Some of the most shareable content taps into these trends in the early stages of the topic trending, and then rides the wave the whole way. 

For example, when “Barbenheimer” began to trend in 2023, we rushed to conduct a Google search trends campaign to see which states were more excited about Barbie, and which were excited about Oppenheimer. In just a few hours of outreach, our piece of content garnered several links because it was exactly on time.

11. Master the Calendar

Some trends happen every year: major holidays, tax season, back to school, etc. These moments in time are predictable and consistent: and the thirst for new content is perpetual. Content that captures a specific facet of a holiday or season can spread like wildfire. 

One such example of this is a campaign we executed on holiday shopping trends, released just in time for the full holiday buzz in the media. This campaign ended up netting over 175 links.

12. Create a Good Page Experience

Your content is only as good as people’s ability to engage with it. Does your page load? Do all the photos fit the size of your browser well, or does it all seem off? Does your content have images to break up text, or does it have interactive or moving elements?

There are so many ways to create a good page experience, and each helps your content be more shareable. 

For example, a recent client campaign on the sober curious movement included stringent design requirements and, due to the scale of information presented, also included a table of contents so readers could jump to the section of the page they were most interested in. This created a smoother page experience for the user, and it also resulted in hundreds of links. When we updated the study for 2024, the links kept on coming. 

13. Invest in Good Graphic Design

Infographics are like shareable content within shareable content: you might have a great report on a topic, and the infographic sums up your findings in a punchy, visually appealing way. A great infographic can make or break a piece: so it’s well worth investing in. 

For example, we created a campaign examining shifting attitudes on marriage and cohabitation that featured several professionally designed graphics. As of this writing, this campaign has earned over 270 backlinks- now THAT is shareable content!

14. Go Deeper Than Surface Level

So often content campaigns have a banner statistic that starts a conversation, but the campaign lacks data or insight to really finish it.

if you encounter a statistic like “the economy impacted purchasing in 2024,” your natural followup question is probably going to be how did the economy impact people? If you think like a journalist, you can better visualize the story that will make your content shareable.

Our recent Homeowner Forecast is a great example of digging deeper beneath the headlines: while it’s widely accepted that housing is unaffordable, also asking prospective homeowners if they even wanted a home anymore went even deeper into the conversation. 

15. Create Original Content

It is always awful to be scooped. It’s equally awful to discover that a large institution or, worse, a direct competitor made effectively the same content. 

This is why it’s important to always research your field and target audience a bit before creating content to ensure that what you will offer up is relevant and, most importantly, unique. 

For example, we conduct an annual holiday season study on the phenomenon of package theft, focusing on porch pirates on or slightly before black Friday. Every year, there are more copycat studies; every year, we release ours just a tiny bit earlier. 

Conclusion

Often, organic shareability seems to be dumb luck. But having an understanding of the different elements that make stories shareable can help you identify good ideas off the bat, and pick out areas of weakness for any content pieces that may need to be strengthened. So, once you know how to make shareable content, what should you do with it? Share it!

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