The psychology of sharing

psychology of sharing shareable content

When planning the promotion of a new public sector policy or programme it is not uncommon for a stock standard template approach to be used.

A media release gets written, a fact sheet created, some information is placed on the website and once it is launched the job is done.

While this all sounds fairly practical it is hard to believe that this is the most effective or innovative way to promote a new policy.

The objective of successful promotion should be to reach as many target citizens as possible. The three aforementioned tactics will help but will not get you too far.

An important tactic that should be used is to regularly create relevant, useful and shareable content.

Shareable content needs to be strategically planned to ensure the target citizen not only reads it but are also compelled enough to share it with their family, friends, work colleagues and other relevant networks.

When creating content that you want people to share it is important to understand why people share.

Jeff Bullas, an expert in the content marketing world, affirms this by saying, “The better understanding you have of the mind of your audience, the more effectively you’ll be able to create shareable content.”

The New York Times Customer Insight Group conducted a research study, The Psychology of Sharing, on why people share.

The data uncovered five primary motivations for sharing:

  1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others. 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action
  2. To define ourselves to others. 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about
  3. To grow and nourish our relationships. 78% share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with
  4. Self-fulfillment. 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
  5. To get the word out about causes or brands. 84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about

The team at CoSchedule have published a fantastic blog on how you can use this data and apply it to any content you create to ensure it is shareable.

When promoting your policy or programme think about the type of content that will bring value to your audience. How to guides, answering frequently asked questions and entertaining content is a good place to start.

For more inspiration on creating shareable content have a look at this infographic that Venngage created by asking over 140 different experts to share their top tactics for creating addictive, shareable content.

Next time you’re planning the promotion of a new policy or programme why not think beyond the norm and strategically create content that your audience will want to share.


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