Contagious content

The economic and social disruption caused by the Global Pandemic is clearly devastating.

Contagious content

It has affected all of our lives. Because of Covid 19, most of us now know the concept of the basic reproduction number, or R number, the most important measurement in deciding if go into lockdown. The R number is basically a measurement of virus spread. How many people will each infected person infect. This got me thinking about content, specifically how to make content with a high R number. In other words, how do we make our content highly contagious?

Firstly, it’s important to understand your content must actually be contagious in the first place. Spending money on influencers, paid campaigns or other ways to increase reach is fine but it does not make your content contagious. It just increases reach and to get a really large reach is incredibly expensive.

To get a large reach, having contagious content is better and, of course, cheaper. It’s impossible to go viral without a virus or contagious content.  As the name implies, viral content spreads, people share it or comment on it and take it out of the social media domain and talk about it. 

To be clear, nobody knows exactly how to make content go viral otherwise all content would go viral but, in my view, to make content contagious we only really need to focus on one thing.

How would sharing your content reflect on the person that shared it?

In other words, does your content help the sharer be their best self or be perceived that way. If someone shared your content, would it benefit them in terms of how they are perceived. 

We are all pretty transparent animals and ultimately, we just want people to like and respect us and that is a big motivation to share or react to content.  So here are a few ideas about how to make contagious content. 

Funny works – because it’s shows people, we have a sense of humour, that we are smart, we get the joke. Compassionate content obviously – look at the success of Black Lives Matter, by sharing we are telling people we are sensitive and inclusive without having to tell people we are sensitive and inclusive. Any content that demonstrates caring and compassion is very contagious. Just make sure it’s authentic, we humans are very good at sniffing out bullshit. Personally, I think leveraging sob stories or traumatic events in the name of marketing is a step too far. However, it can sometimes work if there is a genuine lesson to learn that can benefit the audience. 

Triumph over adversity stories are also very shareable or elicit engagement. We share them because we love to talk about our triumph over adversity and how we have also fought against the odds and won.  In reality everyone has multiple triumph over adversity stories, and we love them because we all want to get ahead.  By sharing them we show we can appreciate someone else’s journey and care about people and also that we can relate because we have overcome our own obstacles. 

The next one is so easy to do but becoming famous is a good strategy. People will share or comment on any old shite a celebrity or influencer posts because we are leveraging their fame and status when we do so. 

Posting a new and interesting idea is very contagious.  

We will share it so we can educate our network and show people that we are a source or new and interesting ideas which means we are smart with our finger on the pulse, and we understand new and interesting concepts. 

And finally, posting about controversial topics to provoke a reaction and moral outrage. This gives people the opportunity to join together in a chorus of outrage and be right. The Katy Hopkins and Piers Morgan effect. This is however a risky strategy. 

So, just a few ideas about creating contagious content. The real lesson is to be mindful of potential sharers and make content that is shareable by making the sharer ‘look good’ 

Dan Gable
Dan Gable

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