Most online sharing is subconscious. People usually don’t think twice about sharing or  “liking” something they find online. They see an image, or a headline, or a topic they like, and pull the trigger on the social share button so fast sometimes they don’t even stop to read the article.

Those readers don’t think about why they are sharing content, let alone have any idea how their social shares will impact the site supplying the content. If they did, they would realize that every time they share ‘The 5 Most Disturbing Things Ever Done with Taxidermy’ or ‘50 Hilarious Dogs in Wigs,’ they are playing a part in content marketing and doing exactly what we want them to do.


What Readers Don’t Realize About Sharing Content

As readers move content by sharing it with their social media friends, and reposting it on other websites, it does some pretty powerful things for publishers.

  1. It gives the host website additional exposure. (Obvious)
  2. It gives the host website higher search rankings. (Not so obvious)

What Readers Don’t Realize About Why They Share Content

While there are hundreds of reasons why a given piece of content is shared online, two specific elements factor into the reader’s subconscious desire to share a piece of content.

  1. They find the content valuable.
  2. They find the content emotionally appealing.

What Does Valuable Content Provide Readers

Something They Need – Content That Provides a Solution


Readers find value in content when it provides a solution to something they need. Audiences love material that provides answers, advice, and learning tools. This type of content solves a problem and is frequently found through search.

Something They Want – Content That Provides Satisfaction


Readers find value in content when it provides satisfaction for something they want. Audiences love to find content that suites their interests and provides information about their passions. This type of content is often found when a reader visits a website looking for a specific type of information.

Something They Enjoy – Content That Provides Something Unexpected


Readers find value in content when it provides something unexpected that they enjoy. Audiences love to stumble across a piece of content that they didn’t need or want but were happy to find. This type of content is often found when shared through social media.

What Does Emotionally-Appealing Content Provide Readers?

Emotionally-appealing content immediately incites a strong feeling deep in the reader.  The reaction to the feeling is so intense that the reader feels compelled to share the emotion with someone else. Audiences most share content when:

Something Funny Triggers Happiness


Something Annoying/Disappointing Creates Anger


Something Surprising Incites Shock


A New Discovery Provokes Awe


But those aren’t the only emotions that incite sharing in readers.

Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion shows how each basic emotion has several levels of intensity. Each emotion can be amplified by moving closer toward the center of the wheel – toward the stronger emotional response.

When an emotional attachment is more extreme, it is far more likely to incite a reaction from the reader and therefore be shared by the reader. Content that incites rage will be far more likely to be shared than content that incites annoyance.

Creating Subconscious Sharing

Most of the time readers don’t know why they are doing it. To them, sharing a piece of online content is a mindless, meaningless task of simply clicking a share button. But in reality, the subconscious effort exerted by a reader who shares ‘The 13 Best Stock Photos of Women on the Toilet’ is really a response to a masterfully played game of content creation.

Want to learn more about how valuable, emotionally-appealing content can help your site improve visibility? Contact CopyPress to start creating content that readers will share without even thinking about it.