Creating Content That People Want to Share

In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Wharton professor Jonah Berger describes six types of content that people want to share. It’s a must-read for anyone engaging in content marketing because who doesn’t want viral content? So let’s review how to create content that people want to share.

Social Currency

People like sharing content that supports who they think they are or want to be. Creating content that, if shared, would advertise a specific expertise, or social standing, should lead to more sharing.

This requires you to know your target audience so the narrower you can get; the more success you’ll have at creating content this narrow group wants to share with others.


Berger found that some of the most viral content is shared because it’s useful. So you’ll find more shares with content that is more useful than similar content will encourage others to share with their peers.

Useful content can be viral, it’s most useful at the bottom of the funnel because it can include educational materials like product details, DIY, and promotions.


Emotions trigger a state of readiness, and action in the subconscious. But not all emotions are good for content. People act when they are angry, when they feel a sense of awe and wonderment, but emotions like sadness actually stifle action. So stick to awesome content.


Content that shows the desired behavior you want your audience to take: using your product, calling you on the phone, can be viral because it taps into the herd mentality of humans. Plus, showing people what you want them to do, leads them to do it.

Top of Mind

When people see the same content over and over again, they tend to share it. So make your content easy to find by amplifying it with advertising. Don’t hide content on your website, broadcast it and position it, and your business, at the top of your audience’s mind.


A lot is written about storytelling in content, and for good reason, it works! But like a game of “telephone”, the details, and your brand, can get lost in the retelling. So psychologists recommend telling stories where your product or company is integral to the story, then, no matter how it’s told, it always includes you.

Creating content with one or more of these categories should lead to more shares, when it’s presented at the right time of the customer journey. Otherwise, it will be overlooked.

By Andrew Patricio

October 23, 2017