It’s tough getting people to share. Just ask any parent of a cute but innately selfish toddler; when you only have six measly ounces of apple juice to work with, giving just one sip away seems like sacrilege. Now sharing on the Internet (as fully grown adults) is surely easier. And yet it’s not easy enough, is it? Or perhaps it’s that getting people to share what you want them to is the elusive beast here. But elusive beasts, like common colds, are meant to be caught. Here’s how you get people to share your stuff.

We assume things got really ugly after this.

Make It Share-Worthy
Hoping that your “Top 9 Expired Coupons” article goes viral is, well, kinda sad actually. But at this time of the year, a roundup of the “5 Great Sites for Income Tax Help” or a folksy remedy for how to “Prevent the Flu with One Easy Precaution” will immediately have an edge due to its subject matter. Think timely; sticky; eye-catchy. If your message has a universal appeal, its odds of being shared will rise like the yeast in your nana’s beloved nut loaf.

Feature People with Fans
Let’s say you’re a rebellious sort and you still wanna publish that expired coupons piece. Fine. Just know that you can still boost its chances of being spread on social media if you feature the right people in the article. Is there a grizzled savings guru out there with severely lacerated hands from years of coupon clipping? If so, profile him in the piece (no pics of the hands, please), then let him know about it with a friendly “Hey, would you mind passing this along?” thrown in there. Odds are his devoted followers will flock to it.

Interview an Influencer
Interviews are also a great way to get attention. Pick a subject with substance and not only will you get an informative Q&A session, but you’ll also attach your brand to them in cyberspace. Picture a pair of NBA fan blogs: both have superb writing, great multimedia, and the same amount of daily traffic, but only one of them scores a quick interview with commissioner David Stern. Can you say home run slam dunk?

Although logicial, “$10 beers. Why?” might not be the smoothest starter question for the commish.

Scratch Some Backs
The whole ‘pay it forward’ thing often works in the world of promotion, too. People notice when you mention them in your blog or share their news on Facebook, and sooner or later they’ll return the favor. Don’t be a miser with your retweets and you may soon find your audience growing like a radioactive plum.

These are the key ways to get people to share your stuff, but of course it all starts with you. Don’t forget to:

  • Share it yourself
  • Ask people to share it
  • Get your organization to share it
  • Offer an incentive to share
  • Ask people to comment on Facebook or Twitter instead of your blog

Follow these tips and you’ll soon find that sharing is not only caring, it’s also easier than bumming a sip of apple juice from a toddler.