How to Make Content Your Readers Want to Share

Unless you were on a social media detox this past weekend, you saw this joy inspiring viral video….and unless you’re a monster, you probably took the time to share it. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a minute and watch it now. I promise it will make your day better.

This was posted on Wednesday and as of the weekend it had 138 million views.

Every marketing person has been asked to make a piece of content go viral. The sad truth is, there’s no magic bullet or formula that makes something go viral. In fact, if you try creating something for that purpose, chances are you are going to fail. But don’t lose hope. There are things you can do to make your content both easier and more desirable to share.

One thing to keep in mind when creating content that you would like to be shared is, “How will sharing this content make the sharer look?” In other words, what is the content doing for their personal brand?

Personal brand is going to be one of those buzzwords that you hear more and more often over the course of the next year. You should be asking yourself, what does living at my building say about a resident’s personal brand? Because trust me, they are thinking about it! {But that’s a topic for another day}

People care about appearing funny, smart, and helpful. And whether or not they are any of those things in real life, online they can appear to be all of them. So, if you provide them ammunition to looker smarter, funnier, or more helpful you’re positively impacting their personal brand and have a better chance of being shared.

So what kind of content is the easiest to share?


We have proved over and over again at and WC Smith that creating how-to guides and step-by-step tutorials that are constructed to answer specific questions renters have win us amazing exposure. Solving a problem and make life easier make a person appear smarter and helpful. Being helpful ups your likeability factor and as humans, we are simply wired to want to be helpful.

Be silly, but be prepared for backlash

So, the best recent industry example of shares coming from silly content is the Alliance video spoof of Adele. It is funny and so well written!…and to think that was made just for company employees! It wasn’t even supposed to be for the public!

Another content example of being silly, but totally capturing the attention of your audience is Vornado. Go take a look at these hilarious renderings for a new building going up in Virginia! From silly renderings to to funny videos, if your content has the “fun quotient,” it’ll do very well.

However, a word of caution: be prepared for the trolls! We dropped Meryl Streep into some of our renderings for a building here in DC. It was just a little easter egg that we put in play to be cheeky. Well, a rather snarky blogger picked it up and was less than complimentary…then a larger local blog picked up the story and was snarky tweeting about us. We were ready and retaliated with some witty/professional come-backs. The result? TONS of free traffic to the website and so far three leases that we can track directly back to this traffic!

BUT be careful!
Take your time proofreading and stay away from any wording that could be construed as condescending, body shaming posts, or defensive or you’ll find yourself in hot water.

Next Level-Make it interactive

Be honest, have you ever taken one of those quizzes to find out what decade you should really be living in or what kind of sandwich you are? If you haven’t, you’re in the minority. While creating a good interesting quiz with the share component is something most marketing departments have to outsource, the info gained could be quite helpful! Typically people click on link to go to the quiz. {Now that they are on your site you can cookie them for remarketing purposes} Once they take the quiz and get the result, they then typically share it on their social media page and prompt their friends to take the same quiz. It’s a bit more challenging to come up with the proper content for this one, but if you do it, I’d love to see the quiz and the results!

Content with interactive qualities has become one of the hottest viral properties because it’s more likely to be shared than content without. If you are on Snapchat, you know how true this is. Today, X-men took over all of the face-mapping lenses on Snapchat. My feed is full of my friends camouflaged as Mystique or Cyclops. So if your content is engaging and interactive, it is more likely to be shared.

X-Men Snapchat Filters | Interactive Marketing Ideas

Give and you shall receive {shares}

You want people to share your content? Talk about them! Because, not only will they share it, so will their friends and their family! In the old days of outreach marketing, we would take flyers to the local ice cream shop and trade them for their flyers to put in our move-in packets. I have no idea if that ever worked. Nowadays, we highlight that ice cream shop in our blog, with a profile about the owner and their food and the employees’ favorite combos. Recognizing everyone that works in the shop, gets all of them sharing our post when it goes live. They get great PR and we get in front of their audience. Everyone wins.

The world is getting noisier every day. Creating viral content is as likely as finding a unicorn. Instead, consider your customer and the personal brand they are trying to build. What content can you give them that will make *them* look smarter, funnier, or more helpful?

Scroll to Top