Want us to share your online content? Make it all about us and not you (review)

Take three minutes and watch Kraig Reinhart get offered his dream job in a pretty remarkable recruitment video.

Kraig’s a student in Conestoga College’s Advanced Police Studies program. Kraig and his classmates are being interviewed on camera by the communications manager with the Waterloo Regional Police Service.

Kraig is talking about his dream of working for the service so he can give back to his hometown.  A uniformed officer then walks unannounced into the classroom and presents a job offer to the shocked and speechless student.

Kraig pulls himself together, shakes the officer’s hand, thanks his cheering professors and classmates and then steps out into the hall to call his mom with the news.

This video checks all the boxes when it comes to shareability.

break“Being shareable means that you create content with such high value for the people viewing it that they are compelled to share it with their friends,” say Tim Staples cofounder and CEO of Shareability and author of Break Through the Noise.

“Being shareable is all about making people lean in rather than click off or swipe past.”

You need to create highly shareable content because nobody cares, says Staples.

“Nobody cares about that video you just posted, that photo you Instagrammed last night, and especially not that commercial that your brand just pushed out. Really, nobody cares.

“It’s nothing personal. People are so bombarded by messaging that they tune out nearly all of it. This is the reality of the internet world.”

But we can be made to care and then share. The key is to realize that we’re sharing your content for selfish reasons. “People like and share internet content not for others, but rather to define themselves and for how it makes them look and feel. In short, they do it for self-serving or selfish reasons.

“If you want people to share your content, it has to be about them, not about you.”

According to Staples, there are five emotions that drive a disproportionate number of shares online: happiness, awe, empathy, curiosity and surprise. The Waterloo Regional Police Service video will make you feel happy and leave you with a smile.

Regardless of what emotion drives your video, you must offer value to viewers.  Give us content that we actually want to watch.  Offer value without asking for anything up front. Continue to lead with value until you can identify the people who enthusiastically interact the most with you.  Eventually, those are the people you can ask to part with their hard-earned dollars or join your organization as a freshly minted college grad.

Instead of focusing on what you want to tell us in your next online video, figure out what we’d want to watch and what we’d consider to be valuable.

“If you can determine the answers to these questions, and deliver something of true value, the audience will love you for it. Then, maybe you can ask them for that dollar in their pocket.”

So resist the urge to create yet another unwatchable and unshareable “five reasons why you should work, study or spend money with us” video with obligatory aerial drone shots. And aim higher than a gimmicky lip synch video that may go viral for a day on Tik Tok and then disappear.

Instead, watch the Waterloo Regional Police Service video for inspiration and then read Staples’ book to learn the nine rules that’ll get us caring and sharing your content.

This review was published in the Dec. 7 edition of The Hamilton Spectator. By day, I serve as communications manager for McMaster University’s Faculty of Science and call Hamilton home. I’ve reviewed business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999.

Published by Jay Robb

I've reviewed more than 500 business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999 and worked in public relations since 1993.

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