These three true stories share a vital trait that you can adopt to boost your mood and your value and visibility with others — as an individual and for your organization:
• Thief Apologizes And Returns Money To Nashville Market 11 Years Later,
• How Google Maps Led To the Rescue of A Los Angles Stray Dog,
• Valentine’s Gesture From Dead Husband To Wife Will Make You Melt.
Here’s the common trait in all three of those stories: They offer true, uplifting good news. As Huffington Post discovered, years ago, good news coverage is a gold mine, which would not surprise Contagious author, Jonah Berger who found that we are most likely to share good news on social networks. The percentage of referral traffic from social channels to Huffington Post’s Good News section is much greater — almost three times more — than the amount of social referral traffic to their overall website. Consequently, these stories boost readership, engagement and advertisers’ interest.
And Huffington Post’s “Good News” Facebook page rapidly grew in popularity, to over 40,000 followers within a month of launching. As their Editorial Director of Social Impact Platforms, Riddhi Shah, enthused to me, “We’ve seen a lot of growth in the last two months as we’ve increasingly focused on follower engagement — we ask them questions, ask fans to send us photos, share inspirational quotes, happy facts of the day etc. We’ve transformed it from just a place for news updates from HuffPost Good News to a destination for sharing stories, insights and quotes that inspire awe – and sometimes spur others to emulate those actions and share them afterwards.”
1. Flourish Holding The Three-Faceted Gem of Sharing Good News
Sharing good news generates three nourishing benefits:
• You boost your own happiness and inclination towards acting in good
• and in those who see the story,
• plus you shine in the reflected glow of the story you share.
As creating and sharing good news becomes a habit, consider moving beyond the momentary hedonic highs to experiencing and spurring the more enduring mood of eudaimonia.
Seeing good news on television, for example, lifts one’s mood, according to Michelle Gielan, founder, of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, who speculates that watching such news on an ongoing basis can have a more prolonged effect.
And I speculate that becoming a champion of true, good news sharing can make you a magnet, pulling others closer and bringing out their better side and yours, when around each other.
2. When You Are On The Look Out For Good News You Find More
Helpfulness counts as good news and is an indelibly credible way for others to learn more about your organization. Keep an eye out for situations where your customers, employees or vendors create unexpected moments of happiness for others. They may discover how a practice or device in one situation that could help yours, provide over-the-top help, respond heroically in a dire situation, or offering a valuable partnership or other opportunity.
“Ah” and “aha”-generating news can come in many forms. For example, Kevin Dutton vividly describes situations in Split-Second Persuasion where someone instinctively and instantly says something or takes action that turns a potentially volatile situation into a moment for collective bonding. People in those situations can’t help sharing how they felt.
3. Make Your Good News Especially Memorable
Get specific sooner. Notice how the Huffington Post headlines I cited earlier had specifics like Nashville and Valentine? First tell the story then cite the inherent takeaway lesson that can spur others to emulate the good behavior.
Hint: a specific detail can prove a general conclusion you then cite, yet not the reverse. That’s why these stories are powerful specificity engines upon which you can speed others’ sharing of your core message memorable. Tie your engagement-inducing good news sharing to a holiday, specific positive emotion or explicit goal such as spurring camaraderie among your customers, constituency or online community.
For example, HuffPo sought to encourage kindness during Thanksgiving, inspire gratitude and help our readers feel closer to each other. In so doing, HuffPo boosted love and loyalty for their brand.
4. Facilitate Bragging Rights: Help Others Look Good When They Participate in Sharing Your News
Provide multiple ways others can add to the good news and feel good and visible for doing so. As mentioned earlier, you are creating what Tell to Win author, Peter Guber, calls a purposeful narrative where others can see a role they can play in the story, and add to it as they do.
The online organization Upworthy has built its whole business around sharing uplifting stories that are surprising, meaningful, visual and shareable – and invites others to contribute their stories that share these traits.
Hint: Provide “guiderails.” That means providing five or fewer specific rules, traits or guidelines so that contributors can see how to submit apt stories that strengthen the core purpose and brand. In fact, having a few concrete rules for your team, cause, club, company or other kind of organization enables participants to feel more confident in making appropriate contributions. Make one rule that you welcome suggestions for changing the rules. A New Culture of Learning co-authors, John Seeley Brown and Douglas and others dubbed this bounded and unbounded learning and sharing. This approach spurs us to be more clear in our thinking and communicating, and thus more helpful and ”us-minded as we contribute.
Huffington Post, for example, makes it easy to comment on the story and when some comments involve a related story, they sometimes reach out to involve that reader in a separate follow-up column. Plus readers can see what friends of their from other social channels have liked or commented on a story. And, in one click, we can Tweet a story we like.
Hint: How can you reduce the steps it takes for others to share your good news stories?
What other categories of stories make you feel good in sharing – and will spur others to want to gain bragging rights for commenting on them and adding to them. For example, Huffington Post launched a Third Metric section to cover diverse examples of “redefining success beyond money and power” from Sue Parks: Why Exercise Is a Great Way to Boost Your Bottom Line to Why This Banker Quit Wall Street to Become a Monk and Improve Your Life by Improving the Lives of Others. By hosting a conference on the theme they created a further way for people to bond around the topic and “brag” about their favorite stories face to face.
Be a Performance Optimizer and Collective Happiness Generator
Via ServiceSpace’s KarmaTube individuals can use technology to take collective action on specific projects for the greater good, and learn from each other so they can adapt those projects to other situations. It is an all-volunteer, scalable generator of good news. Like Quantified Self and Shareable their organizational model makes people feel good about participating because they know they are using their time and talents together on worthy efforts. Such models raise the bar of expectation as we view where we choose to contribute. The lesson we can glean from these methods and mechanism’s is that you can gain boost visibility, value, innovation and accomplishment for yourself and others when you design and describe a way that others can use their best talents together on something that’s matters to them. Just remember, as Edward R. Murrow once said, “We cannot make good news out of bad practice.”
Learn more ways to bring people closer by reading the tips at