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Why People Share Content

Why People Share Content

As a content marketer, you create content to share. And as a social media user, you probably share content. But have you stopped and thought about why people share content?

Mark Schaefer shared the answer last week at Social Brand Forum 2015. (His blog is one of the top marketing blogs in the world.) And you’ll want to keep it in mind every time you produce content.

People share content for hundreds of reasons, he said, but they’re all linked to these three factors.

  1. Self-identity – “People want to look cool, relevant, funny,” Schaefer said. The content you share says something about you.
  2. An act of generosity and kindness – “There aren’t that many opportunities in our world today where we can help people on a daily basis,” he said. “One of the ways we can do that is by sharing content.”
  3. A symbol of love and support – Mark gave this example about the popularity of Chris Brogan’s 41-word blog post, and how it had nothing to do with the blog post and everything to do with Chris.

“People share content for intrinsic and emotional reasons, not economic reasons,” he said. “You can trick people into clicking. You can’t trick them into sharing. You have to do the work.”

Schaefer spent the last year studying the concept of content ignition. You can read his findings in his new book, “The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies for Igniting Your Content, Your Marketing, and Your Business.”

“The economic value of content is zero if nobody sees it and shares it,” he said. “This suggests we need to be thinking about what’s next.”