Making shareable content— the art of the ‘set-piece’

A lot of the time our clients are looking for exposure and footfall more than a whole new vision.

This is the conundrum: “We have a great business, product or service, but no one knows about it. If only they knew!”

Often this is the start of a web design brief. But a redesign isn’t always the solution. Sometimes the site itself isn’t broken, it’s a communication problem — the site converts visitors, but no one’s visiting.

In these cases there’s an opportunity to create a standalone ‘set-piece’ interaction which can exist on its own merits. Something new, adjacent to the primary site. If this is a playful, immersive or memorable experience then it’s likely people will share it around.

It may be tangentally related to your primary business or website, but so long as you can promote your own link at the end of the experience, it’s likely to drive traffic to your site.

The shareability of the set-piece increases the shareability of your other site.

I was drawn to a good example of this recently: a poster generator

I actually hadn’t realised it was affiliated with anything. A poster generator is a nice idea in and of itself. If well executed, it’s definitely something you’d pass around (if you’re into posters).

The interface is simple and playful, you just click through so it’s pretty idiot-proof, it’s on a decent set of rails so whatever comes out the other side looks well designed, as poster generator in its own right, it’s solid and definitely shareable.

But at the end there’s a link promoting the Design Festival for Scotland. It’s almost poetic how well the generator stands alone, yet ties in conceptually with the festival, and as a strategic idea — linking across to the primary site — it’s perfect. It captures the essence of the festival it’s promoting, while being playful and memorable in its own right.

It’s a really neat example of how creating something as a standalone experience can make it more shareable, and you can use that as a platform to promote your primary offer.

Matt is a director at Archive, a visual interactive studio creating digital experiments and online experiences in London.