“Been there. Read that. Don’t care. Show me something I wasn’t expecting,” said your readers (probably).
According to research recently unearthed from the Wayback Machine, the recipe for capturing attention hasn’t changed much in nearly 50 years.
In a 1971 study, Northern Illinois University sociology professor Murray Davis found that, “an audience finds a proposition ‘interesting’ not because it tells them some truth they thought they already knew, but instead because it tells them some truth they thought they already knew was wrong.”
When that filter is used, we find that much of the content that “goes viral” these days follows that rule. It’s certainly not the only reason that content is shared online, but it’s one that we can keep in mind as we think of our respective industries and audiences.
Next time you’re wondering how to create engaging content that’s supremely shareable, ask yourself what widely-held belief or common assumption in your industry you can confront. Read more about the theory, and examples in this inc.com article.