An In-depth Guide to
Creating Shareable Content
What is Sharebait and Why Do
People Share Content?
Sharebait is web content that gains
mass attention and spreads virally
across the internet.
People share content for several reasons:
• Good Content Connection Hook
• It is Emotionally Appealing
• It is Simply and Valuable
• It is Concrete and Credible
What is a Sharebait Blog?
Sharebait can be any type of online
content, but we will discuss two types
of shareable online content:
• Graphic—focused Blogs
• Graphic—focused content concentrates on the
graphics. The text is written to support the
• Copy—focused Blogs
• Copy—focused content concentrates on the text.
The images are inserted to support the text.
Graphic—focused content relies on its
images to provoke sharing among viewers.
Via Matador Network.com
Copy—focused content relies on its words
and message to provoke sharing among
Scannability: The Importance
of Style and Format
An online reader give a piece of content about 10 seconds to catch
their attention. It’s extremely important to format Sharebait so that
it is easy to scan and highlight key elements.
Sharebait should be formatted in the following way:
• Sections of Support Ideas (At least 3)
The most important and scannable elements of content are:
•Bold, Underlined, Italicized and/or Highlighted Text
•Summaries (in the Introduction & Conclusion)
How to Write – Language
Style and Rules
There are specific elements that make for good writing in an online
atmosphere. Some of these elements are basic writing tips, but others
may go against traditional writing styles.
Traditional Writing Rules
•Incorporate Logical Flow
•Maintain the Active Voice
•Don’t Insert Opinions That May Tie Back to Client
Not-so-traditional Writing Rules
• Employ Concise Language
• Write in a Conversational Tone
• Don’t be Technical
How to Write – Concrete
The body of a shareable piece should be concrete; filled with strong,
supportive details that add substance, relevancy, and specificity.
• Connect to Something That People Already Understand
• Keep the Reader’s Previous Knowledge in Your Mind
• Develop Your Topic to its Highest Value and Potential
• Give the Reader Proof
• Show. Don’t Tell.
Concrete details incorporate cues that help readers
visualize concepts. Often times, writers focus too
heavily on abstract ideas, leaving readers without a
way to conceptualize the topic.
What to Write – Valuable,
The level of value in a piece of content is directly tied to its
shareability. The more resourceful, useful, relevant, and specific the
content is, the more likely it is to be shared.
• Facts/Stats – Give facts to back up your opinion and/or statement. Only use
stats to create and support your idea.
• Examples – Give specific examples when talking about a broad subject.
• Visuals – More people are visual learners. Adding images when you can will
always enhance the content.
Other Valuable, Supporting Details that Show
Instead of Tell
• Key Takeaways
• Case Studies
You will need to do extra research to find these valuable,
supporting details for your content. Always make sure it’s
worth adding to your piece.
Writing the Introduction and
The introduction and conclusion are important elements of
Sharebait, as they tell the reader what the content is about in a few
sentences. Both should, in some way, provide a summary of the
• The introduction should encourage the audience to read – by showcasing the
main benefit of reading the content.
• The conclusion should reward the audience for reading – by reiterating the main
benefit of the content.
• Should be brief (best with one or two short paragraphs)
• Gets to the point and doesn’t include filler text
• Highlights benefit of reading
• Summarizes the main idea of the content
• Reminds the audience of the benefit of reading
• Wraps up the content so the article feels complete
Headline and Subheading
Headlines and subheadings highlight main elements of the topic, add
to the scannability of the article, and inform and lead the reader.
Headlines and subheadings use a very similar formula and stile. Both are best
with 8 characters or less, and capitalized in the following way:
• Capitalize the first and last words
• Do not capitalize articles, conjunctions and prepositions unless they are
four letters or longer.
Using keywords in headlines and subheadings is not a
requirement, but it is a good practice as it:
• Helps search engines identify the content
• Helps the readers identify the main idea of the article
Don’t ever force keywords into headlines and subheadings when
it doesn’t make sense or sound natural. You should still use the
keyword in the body of the content.
How to Write Useful
Engaging subheadings optimized for scannability add to the
overall quality and value of content. They support the main idea
of the content, give clues to what can be learned by reading more
closely, and signify a shift in the article.
In order to accomplish this properly, subheadings should always:
• Provide the Most Interesting Information First
• Tie Back to the Title
• Avoid Stating the Obvious and Tell the Reader More
• Avoid Cute Play—on—Words and Puns
• Tell the Story of the Content
• Use Number When They Add Clarity
What Types of Visuals to Use
and How to Find Them
There are many ways to graphically represent your content. Good
visuals include, but are not limited to:
• Screenshots (Use screenshots when discussing specific websites and apps)
• Graphs, Charts, and Diagrams
As previously mentioned, there are two types of focus for content:
• Copy—focused Articles
• Graphic—focused Articles
Obviously, graphic—focused articles will have a stronger emphasis on
the graphics used in the content. But that doesn’t mean images don't pay
a very important role in copy—focused articles , too.
What Types of Visuals to Use
and How to Find Them
• Use graphics to visually support information and concepts in the text.
• Graphics should be relevant to the topic, but do not have to be literal.
• It’s generally best to begin with a Creative Commons search, as licensed
material should not be used.
• Don’t simply search for the general topic or keyword. Find creative ways
to depict the information.
• Use graphics to visually represent the main theme of the content.
• The text explains why each graphic supports the main theme of the
• All graphics should fit a specific theme or format.
• Articles look best when images are the same size and orientation.
Test the Shareability of Your
You are done researching, brainstorming, writing, and adding graphics
– you may think that you work is done. But it’s not.
Now that you have a complete piece of content in front of you, you
can accurately analyze its shareability by asking yourself the
following questions and performing the following actions:
• Would you share the content?
• What could you change and/or add to make it should you would share?
• What could you do to make the format better?
• What word could you add/remove to the headline to make it better?
• Why should the reader care?
Keep working until you can confidently walk away from the content, and
that it is something you would share – even if you weren’t the author.