This past week, Social@Ogilvy announced on their website a new study it conducted in partnership with SurveyMonkey on what and why people share content online. Their study, called “Why is your Facebook feed covered with BuzzFeed posts?,” surveyed 6,500 people in 16 different countries, including China, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Japan, and the United States.
You can read many of the results in the article I linked at the top, but what I want to address are some of the answers Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey received when they asked respondents why they share content online. From the article:
Overall, 13% of respondents feel that content sharing helps to define their personality
What’s The Takeaway?
Blog posts and new content need to focus on the personality, not just of the people whom the content is about, but also on the readers/viewers themselves. When you’re thinking of new ideas and angles, ask yourself, “Why would people share this?” And even, “Why would I share this if I ran across it?”
Let’s get a little more specific. Let’s say you’re the content developer at a premier motorcycle shop called Handlebars, and you’re working on your company’s content calendar (you do have one, right?). A possible post you want to have published in two weeks is “10 Reasons Your Life Depends on Handlebars’ Helmets.” Now, this is arguably a solid post. It’s a list, and people love lists (see Buzzfeed for examples). It begs a question that can only be answered by reading the post. Thus, it’s likely to be read by many of your subscribers.
But will it be shared? Possibly. By many people? That’s harder to say.
Allow People to Share Their Personality
But let’s go back to the Ogilvy survey. Does “10 Reasons Your Life Depends on Handlebars’ Helmets” allow people to express their personality? That’s debatable.
So let’s run a test. Let’s write another post, similar in goal and context, but with a new, reader-focused personality spin to it. Let’s try, “10 Reasons Bikers Who Wear Helmets Will Rule the World.” Now granted this title includes obvious hyperbole, but I think you get the point.
With this latter title, we’re appealing to the personality of bikers who consider themselves safety-conscious. These people are more likely to share this content because they know it will reflect positively on themselves. They’re social network of friends will see them as bikers who care about motorcycle safety as well as bikers with a sense of humor.
Let Your Brand Become the Backdrop
Also, notice this alternate title doesn’t mention Handlebars like the former. That’s because your brand, the esteemed bike shop Handlebars, is the secondary element in this post. The important piece to this reader-personality writing is that your first job is to write for the reader.
As you describe the 10 reasons bikers who wear helmets will rule the world, you casually mention/include Handlebars’ helmet descriptions and photos as need be. Handlebars moves out of the spotlight and into the backdrop for these reader/viewer-focused posts.
So run the test. Split your enews subscribers into two groups and send them both posts and see which article gets more shares. What do you think the results will show?