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The Secret Formula for Shareable Content

ImageMeasuring the success of an SEO online marketing campaign used to be as simple as analysing conversion rates and Google ranking positions but reporting on performance now has to consider high quality content and brand engagement as social media becomes an integral part of almost any campaign.

So what’s the secret formula to creating shareable content that will drive forward an online marketing campaign?

Does big content perform better on social media?

“Big content” is the buzz term on every industry expert’s lips when it comes to creating an appealing marketing strategy, but is size everything with it comes to engagement?

The vague phrase of big content does little to tell us what it actually does – but think more along the lines of something that will actively engage a user such as an infographic or video content.

For example, digital marketing agency Jellyfish created a quiz that tests a user’s knowledge of social media and presents a result once completed. The content requires active engagement, therefore involving the user on a deeper, more personal level than something smaller like a blog entry would.

A scaled down example of big content is the Step-by-Step Guide to Social Media success by Simply Business. Whilst this may look like just a flowchart at first glance, an interactive element is introduced with clickable links that provide resources to explain more on each particular area.

The success of big content such as this speaks for itself, as even the smaller scale content from Simply Business attracted around 4,000 social shares.

But what hook does this big content have that makes it so shareable?

Appeal to emotions to increase engagement

Although it would seem that size matters, it’s what’s inside that also counts. Based on a recent study, appealing to the emotions of users could be what attracts social shares.

Henly Wing from BuzzSumo, a social media monitoring tool, analysed the top 10% of content shared on social media and found that the way that the content made a user feel had an impact on how likely they were to share it.

Henly found that 32% of content shared online made a person laugh or feel amused and 25% made someone feel in awe.

The advantage that big content may have here is that the more interactive and engaging it will be, the more likely it is to entertain or amuse and therefore mean that a user is more likely to share on social media.

Also according to BuzzFeed’s editorial director, people like to share content that’s about them as it makes a statement about who they are. And they should know what makes something shareable – 75% of BuzzFeed’s traffic comes from social shares alone.

This is where content such as the Jellyfish social media quiz comes into its own, as it produces a result based on the information that a user provides which therefore tells others something about them as a person which, according to BuzzFeed, is more likely to encourage social media shares.

The same can be said for the Simply Business social media guide, as it incites a feeling of awe with genuinely insightful resources.

Harnessing the power of big content

From looking at several examples, it’s clear that big content that a user feels an affinity with is important when producing something shareable. However what may not be so clear is how to actually create this content.

When creating the initial concept for your big content piece, it is important to use initiative and encourage creativity. Although the content should be representative of a brand, it doesn’t necessarily have to mirror everything about it.

For example, Concert Hotels are a company who offer accommodation close to concert venues, but created a big piece of content that visualised an iPod in vinyl records. This isn’t strictly linked to the service that they provide, but plays into their connection with music and made something that was enjoyed by a wider audience outside of their customer base.

So far the tool has gathered 25,000 Facebook likes, over 2,500 tweets and 16,000 shares on StumbleUpon.

Moz defines several key steps in creating big content once a concept is formed:

  • Determine who your target audience is
  • Build relationships with this audience
  • Find the right place to stop between “done” and “perfect”
  • Take breaks to reward hard work and encourage creativity within the work community
  • Leverage the content into blog posts, case studies or other tools to ensure longevity


When planning a marketing strategy to increase social engagement, consider the following points:

  • Is the audience involved?
  • How does it make the audience feel?
  • Who is the content aimed at?
  • How can we leverage it?

Despite it being difficult to guarantee anything as a success, making bigger, more creative content to appeal to the emotions of an audience would seem to be a successful formula for brand engagement via social media.

Building a bigger asset for a brand can be a successful long-term strategy for building brand engagement and social sharing if the correct formula is followed. 

Join The Conversation

  • Daniel Green's picture
    Jun 30 Posted 2 years ago Daniel Green

    Great article Rosie. I would add that consistency is also key when building brand awareness- you want to have a consistent tone when publishing your social media content, this will help new audiences become familiar with your brand and slowly build relationships with customers online.


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