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Right & Wrong: Lessons in Shareable Content

Justin Watkins

November 2015

What makes content shareable? It’s a hot topic many people are trying to figure out. We’re no different at NATIVE. In fact, we’ve developed a list of 7 questions we ask ourselves when evaluating new content ideas. It’s our quality control. We find our initial ideas typically fail this checkpoint. But when we tweak the idea to better align with these attributes, it becomes more relevant, more contagious.

So giving a talk on the subject? Easy. Share our 7-point checklist. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I only wanted to talk about a single attribute. My favorite attribute. The one I believe makes the biggest impact. The one that is at the same time the easiest AND hardest thing to do:

Do it wrong.

Consider best practices and what others expect. Then purposefully and selectively discard them. Not all of them. Just a few. The ones that make you smile. The ones that are so stupid, it just might work. The ones you’re scared to break.

That’s pretty much it.

Sounds too easy. But I’m telling you, I see it all around me. Especially in art, where a brave soul has mastered their craft to the point they can mess with the rules.

To illustrate the point, I recorded the video above. In it I break down a well-shared personal project by office mates Mammoth Media. They did a lot of things wrong. And of course, the end result was better because they did.

Now if you need more suggestions on how to do it wrong, allow me to help:

  1. Purposefully make mistakes
  2. Be less measured
  3. Allow for happy accidents
  4. Swim against the tide
  5. Play it loose
  6. Finally, ask yourself: what would be the worst idea?

I used to think dreaming up the worst idea was nothing more than a warm-up exercise. Not anymore. There’s truth in those ideas if you’re willing to humor them.