Most of us can remember a day when the pinnacle of communication revolved around our beeper and a pay phone. This best effort at mass communication was unfortunately tied down to a newspaper, magazine, TV, radio, billboard, and word-of-mouth. Content shareability and "viral" content was strictly reserved for the global enterprises that could afford TV ads and national billboard campaigns. And even if a brand had a great national campaign, it might take weeks or months to attract the majority of their target segment, and by that time, they've most likely progressed to something else. In the 1970s, if a very good friend that lived in a different city had a baby, it may take days or weeks for you to even see a picture of this new bundle of joy. Fast forward to today, we see pictures instantaneously of people on different continents just seconds after a photo is taken, thanks to advances in social media. Let's venture even further into the past, shall we? "Gold was discovered in California in January 1848, but the gold rush did not really start until an article appeared in the New York Herald on August 19, 1848." (History House) You catch the drift. Good content begs to be shared, and its success is only as good as its shareability.
It's no secret that inbound marketing has become exceedingly popular over the past several years. "78% of chief marketing officers think custom content is the future of marketing." (Hanley-Wood Business Media) What makes this so interesting is that the increase in demand for superior content relies on one factor exclusively; social media. Without social media, content marketing would still be in the dark ages, wondering where it should go after it gets published. Twitter? No. Facebook? No. A blog? No. It would just sit in one spot, hoping someone might talk about it. Although, even if they did talk about it, that brand would never have any way of ever knowing. Physical conversation is immeasurable (and should stay that way). Content marketing relies directly on social media. Why? Shareability.
Shareability is the driving force for all content creators and inbound marketing strategies. "B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog." (Social Media B2B) Most, if not all, of the readers visiting these blogs didn't just happen to stumble upon them (unless they were using StumbleUpon). More than likely, readers found the content posted by a trusted friend or follower on a social site, with a link to the blog, which they then converted to. And this behavior is ubiquitous across B2B and B2C platforms. "82% of consumers like reading content from brands when it's relevant." (The CMA) People like good content and more importantly, people like to share good content.
So you probably already knew that people like to share good content, but it's important to understand why they share it. According to psychologists, Hazel Markus and Paula Nurius, every individual has two psychological selves. The first self is the "now" self and the second self is the "possible" self. Assuming these two ideas are clear by definition, we'll move on. "The illusion of our 'possible self' is the main motivation when it comes to sharing online, and it is this narcissism that marketers should attempt to appeal to in order to gain traction with creative campaigns." (Business2Community) The beauty in people sharing your content is once they share it, they feel an emotional ownership and loyalty to that content, because it has helped enhance others' illusion of their "possible" self. Their loyalty to a brand's content generally mirrors their loyalty to that brand. This is the foundational idea that inspires CMO's to be forward thinking in their content strategy.
Because people have an innate desire to engage, share, and take ownership of a brand's content, it is imperative to understand the influence that content is having on the user to, not only, engage in the content and recycle it on social media, but to ultimately convert to your brand, and influence others to convert to your brand. Across the board, in all industries of all shapes and sizes, the goal for C-level executives is to define how marketing efforts drive conversions and a return on investment back to the brand. When it comes to defining the value of content marketing and shareability as it relates to conversions for the brand, sign up for SocialRest, a tool that is able to monitor how users engage with your content on social media, how they influence others to engage in the content on social, then track a user's behavior as they move from your social sites to your website or blog, and ultimately define how a user converted to your brand because of the shared content. This ties the entire package together, from content creation to exact measurement of success.