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Posts Tagged ‘Jonah Berger’

12 Tips From an Expert on Creating Catchy Content and Products

H & M Jeff Koons Tote Final“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:

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Want to Create Sticky Social Content? Focus on the Good News

This helpful social media hint may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating: good news is the stickiest news. We all know that we can’t create truly viral content, no matter how hard we try–but human psychology provides us with some useful hints when it comes to pushing stuff that fans will share with others. And that’s our ultimate goal for our client brands, right?

It’s kind of a counter-intuitive conclusion: viewers love drama and tragedy when it comes to consuming news, but on the social front they’re far, far more likely to share positive, inspiring content. For example, while local and national news is heavy on car crashes, celebrity scandals and armed conflict, many of the most shared New York Times stories don’t concern financial misdeeds or dirty politics–they’re inspiring/fascinating science and health stories like this one about the famous Mediterranean diet or this one about how owls are totally awesome.

Social psychologist and author Jonah Berger explains: “…when you share a story with your friends and peers, you care a lot more how they react. You don’t want them to think of you as a Debbie Downer”. It’s a very relevant quote to every social media manager–even if we knew it already.