At this year's 2015 SXSW Interactive, BuzzFeed publisher Dao Nguyen led a session on “The Art and Science of Shareability”. As the publisher, Nguyen oversees the company's technology, product, data, and publishing platform, and has been one of the essential figures in helping the digital media company quintuple their traffic in just over two years.
During her talk at SXSW, Nguyen shared with the audience not just the various challenges and successes that BuzzFeed has experienced since its founding in the general, but rather she focused more specifically and deeply into what the company has learned about content – great content that has enabled the company achieve 200 million unique view per month. According to Nguyen, there are five core aspects about content that publishers must know in order to ensure that that content is actually is seen and shared.
1. Content is Emotional
The content that you produce can and should be emotional. According to Nguyen, this emotion can serve as a proxy for conversation. Articles that make readers think about their own humanity, gives them a glimpse at the injustices in the world, or provides a touching personal story do really well in terms of shareability.
2. Content is Conversational
Content should be conversational pieces. Nguyen gives an example of the debate over that damned dress. It wasn't a necessarily important topic in terms of the grander scheme of the world or society, but it encouraged pretty heated discussions between friends, which then further motivated those people to share with other friends.
3. Content is Aspirational
We all have dreams of visiting every corner of the world or of living a healthier life, so naturally we love looking at content that touches upon those innate desires. According to Nguyen, content curated around these aspirations are some of the most shareable pieces (e.g. “29 Most Beautiful Parts of the World Where You Need to Camp”).
4. Content is Relatable
Nguyen notes that people share content that resonate with their own experiences or their self-identity. The content that you create should make people go “this is totally me” or “gurl, this is soOo you” or “that has totally happened to me.”
5. Content is Global
The content you create doesn't fall within any global boundaries. No matter what you write about, realize that you're writing for a global audience – that content will be shared with people in other parts of the world.