When I evaluate book proposals, one of the many factors I think about is a book’s shareability. I know that no matter how many ads or paid tweets or web banners a publisher creates, they will not have as much swaying power to a potential reader as a simple recommendation from a friend. Word of mouth works. As a consumer myself, I’m more likely to buy a book when a trusted friend, respected colleague, or favorite blogger recommends it than if it’s pushed at me by a company that doesn’t know me personally and doesn’t know what I might like.
So if you’re creating something that you want to be consumed in some way—a book that you want people to buy, a blog post you want people to read—you need to create content that inspires evangelists: people who will share your work for you in an authentic way. Shareability is completely based on what that content makes the reader feel. Sharing is an emotional decision. So what are those emotions? What is it that makes someone tap that “Share” icon? What makes a reader text a link to a friend? What makes your lunch buddy swear never to talk to you again unless you watch/read this thing?
After studying many blog posts that go viral and many books that suddenly become bestsellers, I’ve realized there are three qualities that shareable content has in common. I should note that this applies mainly to non-fiction content. I enjoy fiction, of course, but my area of expertise is really non-fiction. (I’d be really interested in hearing your theories about what makes shareable fiction, though!)
Shareable content needs to be relatable, aspirational, and reliable.Continue Reading