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3 Foolproof Ways to Create Contagious Content

Authors: Marcus Ho Marcus Ho
Posted Under: Content Marketing
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badge-guest-post-FLATTERAs the online space gets noisier with an overpopulation of advertisements, content marketing has become one of the most effective ways for brands to differentiate themselves. In fact, Demand Metric claims that dollar-for-dollar, content marketing generates around three times as many leads as traditional marketing.

But here’s the problem many marketers have when it comes to creating content: It takes up too much time for them. They need to brainstorm, research, write, and edit.

Even if time is not a factor, there is only so much content that marketers can create before they hit a roadblock.

Causing even more of a headache for marketers is the lack of results or engagement from content. A study by Sirius Decisions shows that around two-thirds of B2B content doesn’t get used. A lot of content on the Internet is, simply, not useful enough for their audiences. Users don’t see the need or motivation to share your content, leaving it in the dust.

So naturally, as marketers, we get upset and frustrated. While we know that content marketing works, the next question lies – How do I ensure that my content gets shared even if I’m in a seemingly “boring” business?

No Framework = No Sustainable Strategy

When it comes to producing content, most marketers do not have a conscious thought process or a framework to follow. This would lead a lot of them to think that creating content is laborious and ineffective. If that sounds like you, perhaps here are three techniques that you may wish to try out:

1. Practical Value

What constitutes content with practical value? It is content that the audience can immediately act upon easily, without having to spend too much effort or money.

As Jonah Berger notes, “When we care, we share.” Practical value is very useful when creating contagious content, because users will be motivated to carry out the simple instructions in your post. In fact, people will not only find value in your content, but will psychologically compelled to share. As human beings, every single one of us is socially wired to help others. And content with practical value provides that reason for your audiences to help others.

Content with practical value are basically step by step guides or tutorials that guide your target audiences to an outcome they wish to achieve.

Here’s a good example by lingerie brand Wacoal:
Contagious Content

From looking at this image, audiences can immediately understand the visual and, more importantly, act on the information shown. The clear visuals and accompanying copy easily encourages the target audience (females) to check themselves for signs of breast cancer, simply due to how easy it is for them to do so.

Content like this usually gets a lot of engagement (likes, shares, comments), because it’s useful! Users will share it with their friends because their friends can benefit from this piece of information. This particular piece got over 1,100 shares, an impressive feat for a page with 17,000 likes.

2. Surprise

Content that has an element of surprise normally provides lesser-known information that is relevant to the users. Surprising content usually has a twist at the end as well, in order to keep users interested and willing to share this piece of content.

Content with the surprise element usually gets loads of shares because of its shock value. Users gain value from content like this due to the unique information provided; they will then want to share this with their friends in order to inform or even impress them.

Take this very impressive Dermablend advertisement for example. Basically, the international cosmetic brand decided to bring in more exposure for their tattoo concealer via a very shocking method: concealing most of the tattoos for Rick Genest, the most tattooed man in the world.

Contagious Content 2

The video started off by showing a bare-bodied Rick with seemingly no tattoos. He then goes on to use a sponge and a cloth to scrub his chest and face, revealing his tattoos. The video then went on to show, in reverse, the concealing process. Starting with a fully concealed Rick, the video ended with the grand reveal of his original tattoos. Only then did the video mention the product name, “Dermablend”.

The shock reveal of his tattoos was very effective in aweing the audience with an unexpected twist. The clever method of showing off the product’s effectiveness also attracted a lot of attention with the public, with the video garnering 5.7 million views in 10 days and bringing in 473% increase in e-commerce traffic.

Do take note that in order for surprising content to be effective, it has to be relevant to the target audience. Many times, brands share surprising content that does not resonate with the audience. As a brand, you should share content that promotes your brand’s interests and also adds value to your audience.

3. Trending Triggers

Trending triggers refer to any news content that relates to your brand’s industry or values.

Trending triggers are a powerful source of content to connect with your audience. It is also a very efficient way to talk about your brand in a relevant manner, effectively putting your brand’s presence and image into the (positive) limelight.

In order for trending triggers to be effective, it is recommended that any news-related content should be posted up to three days after the news broke, in order for the content to stay relevant.

Last year, a terrible haze struck Singapore. 3M, a brand that produces products such as the anti-haze N95 mask, acted on the rising news to gain more exposure on social media:
Contagious Content 3

The content was highly relevant during this period of time and also acted on the fears and insecurities of the audience. Content like this usually gets more shares than usual because users will want to share this with their friends and provide valuable information to them.

Ultimately, there are tons and tons of ways to create content that may go viral and appeal to a large crowd. But among all those techniques, there is always a key ingredient: VALUE.

Content with practical value, well, provided real value to their audience with useful tips and tricks they can implement easily. Surprising content gives value to their audience by providing interesting information they may not have known about beforehand. Trending triggers gave value to their audience by providing relevant information during a particular period of time.

Does your content add value to your audience? Will your audience have a good reason to share your content? If not, it’s time to implement techniques in order to change that.

And you can start with these three.

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