“Sharing isn’t random, and our intuition about sharing content may be wrong”, said Jonah Berger. The Wharton B-School marketing professor conducted extensive analysis on social influence and types of content and products that go viral. His book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, offers advice on the psychology of sharing, along with examples.
“You don’t want to be one-hit wonders, you want ongoing shareable content”, Berger said during a recent MPA (Association of Magazine Media) event. He was in New York for the start of a year-long visiting professorship at Cornell Tech. If some of his comments seem familiar, that’s because he also advises media outlets like BuzzFeed and The New York Times.
“Word of mouth is a key factor behind so many purchase decisions since it’s persuasive, trusted and targeted”, Berger said. He reminded the audience of the importance of finding the core brand message that you want others to remember and sticking with it. That’s the first key to producing sticky content. Other principles evolve around social currency, storytelling, and providing practical but appealing information.
Since takeaways from his 2013 book mostly centered on positive vs. negative emotional content, we read the rest of the book and compiled his pointers along with our own related examples from commerce, sports, art, fashion and celebrities. Here are a dozen tips to consider: