As a content marketer, you want shares. It is the number of shares, after all, that tells you how good your content was, right?
Creating shareable content, however, involves a lot of guesswork. You experiment with certain types of content to see which one performs best and then continue to optimize from there.
But what if there was a way to minimize experiments and start on the right track?
What if you could know exactly what type and format of content will get more shares before you even start creating content?
Luckily for you, there is research indicating that certain types of content promise increased shares.
In this article, we are sharing the top five content types and formats that are proven by data to get more shares. So, read on till the end to find out what to include in your content strategy to make it successful.
Why do people share content?
If you were a restaurant owner, you would want to know the types and nature of dishes your prospects order the most, right? For example, do they like spicy food? Are they fond of prawns? And based on this information, you would create a menu so that your visitors love the food you cook, order more often, and share your details with their friends.
This restaurant scenario is analogous to your content strategy.
If you want people to share your content, you first have to figure out why people share things on social media. And then create content that gives people the reasons they need to hit the share button.
According to research conducted by the New York Times, there is a psychology involved in social sharing.
So, just like you can leverage human psychology in social media marketing, you can build upon it to get more shares as well.
People share content for five basic reasons:
1. To add value to their followers’ lives in some way, provide them with something helpful, informative, interesting, or funny.
2. To build and reflect their online identity, for example, sharing the new Coldplay Album might make them look cool.
3. To grow their followers and build a bond with them, for example, sharing cute cat videos with a fraternity of cat lovers.
4. To enjoy attention and engagement, for example, sharing a funny meme that gets them attention.
5. To become the news bearer and spread the word, for example, sharing the news of a breakthrough in Coronavirus vaccine development.
All of these reasons are rooted in human emotions that, once invoked, compel people to share something.
BuzzSumo, in their study, found out that 25% of most shared content invoked emotions of awe, while 17% of laughter and 15% of amusement.
Do you know what primary emotion can all of these feelings be linked back to? Happiness.
People share content that has happiness layered into it. Why? Because they want to share what made them happy and be the source of someone else’s joy.
Now that we know why people share content and what makes them hit the share button let’s go ahead and see the most promising content formats you can use to manifest these findings.
Most shareable content formats
We know you don’t like jumping from website to website, finding types of content that can help you win in one go.
So, we did the hard work and have gathered the data and information you need to know what types of content make up a successful content strategy, and we present them below:
You would think your followers will share content that they can consume quickly. Well, that’s partly true. But when talking about articles and blogs, data indicates that longer pieces of content are shared more than shorter ones.
10% of the top articles that BuzzSumo analyzed were long-form. They found that content comprising more than 2000 words had the most shares, towering over 7.5k shares.
That means long-form content is the most promising content format for all businesses that have a blog.
The reason why people share longer blog posts is that they derive value out of them.
Longer articles are more detailed, in-depth, and comprehensive, meaning that they help the readers learn something new.
Once they learn something new, they either want the world to know how cool (in a geeky way) they are and build an online identity or share the valuable information they gathered.
Another remarkable fact about long-form content is that it is relatively unpopular despite being proven to drive more shares.
No one wants to invest the time, effort, and energy it takes to churn out an informative and detailed article.
So, you can rise for the occasion and get to creating long in-depth articles. But don’t forget to make them valuable because no one will share 3000 words of fluff.
Interactive content involves the viewer’s input, like online quizzes.
In this era, when there is already heaps of information, people value experience along with knowledge.
That is why 79% of marketers agree that interactive content leads to better exposure and increased visitors.
Moreover, 36% of people scroll social media to kill time. And what’s better than a silly but intriguing quiz to kill time and do something fun?
Buzzfeed happens to be the king of such quizzes:
Quiz marketing is a real thing. And you can leverage it for your overall marketing strategy by creating fun, engaging, and informative quiz that align with your brand’s personality and contribute to your marketing goals.
For example, if you have a business making and selling fruit juice, you can create a personality quiz telling people what flavor of juice they are based on their personality.
Something like this:
It sounds silly, but it works!
While creating a quiz, don’t forget about the results.
The results are the most critical part of a quiz because they make the quizzes so shareable. People want to tell their friends how cool and funny they are with their quiz results; they want the attention.
Be sure to create quiz results that are fun, positive, and share-worthy and make the results shareable by adding social share buttons.
If you are still unsure how a simple quiz can drive tangible results for you, take this case study as an example.
Rejuv Medical, a healthcare facility, wanted to lift their sales. To do that, they created the hormonal imbalance quiz.
This quiz got them 947 new leads and 30 new consultations, through which they generated $18,000 in revenue.
So, social quizzes are a force to be reckoned with. Don’t ignore them while creating a shareable content strategy!
Content with at least one or more images gets twice the number of shares.
The popularity of visuals-supported content could be attributed to the fact that it grabs attention and delivers value without taking too much time.
So, you know now that content that is backed by visuals is more likely to get shared. But what type of visuals?
First and foremost, you have to include images that are relevant to the context of your post. If you are talking about an increase in smartphone usage, supplement it with an eye-catching chart.
Secondly, steer clear of stock images. They might be an easy source of visuals, but stock imagery does not build trust or the emotional connection that drives shares and likes.
Check out how stock images is the likely cause of a lower CTR:
Fractl, a growth marketing agency, knew that visuals performed better than text. Therefore, they created graphics that showed collective implications of drug and alcohol abuse for an Average Faces of Drug Abuse campaign.
As a result of their visual strategy, their graphics were featured in over 250 stories and got more than 9000 shares!
From the previous section, we know how visual content drives shares.
Infographic is another form of visual content that pairs boring text with fun images and makes your simple content readable and shareable.
Therefore, if you have created an exciting piece of content, but you fear no one will read it, turn it into an infographic.
You don’t even have to hire an illustrator either.
There are social media graphic designing tools that can help you create an infographic with zero design experience.
Brian Clark, the owner of CopyBlogger, a multibillion-dollar website, created an infographic on a reasonably simple topic and talked about common Grammar errors.
This infographic of his got more than 263,000 shares on five different platforms.
Even if you don’t belong to an exciting field like Brian’s and have to work your way up in the B2B industry, infographics can still come in handy.
BuzzSumo found out that B2B infographics were shared widely on Pinterest.
Pinterest and infographics, we bet you didn’t think of this combination for your B2B marketing strategy before.
But now is the time to consider including valuable and engaging infographics in your content plan.
Videos are also a type of visual content. But due to their exceptional performance, they deserve a section of their own.
Hubspot analyzed 220,000 posts and found that videos made up 18.94% of the total shares of all their posts. Moreover, tweets with videos get 10x higher engagement, LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to share videos, while Instagram videos garner more engagement than other types of content.
82% of people prefer to watch video streams rather than reading text on social media. Which is a clear indication of how videos can engage people, and if made to fulfill any of the reasons mentioned in the beginning, can scoop a share out of them.
If this isn’t a solid case for including videos in your content strategy, then what is? Check out how this list of viral Facebook posts comprises mainly of videos:
So, include fun, engaging, and on-brand videos on your social handles. You can even make promotional product videos. But, no matter what you do, make sure to perform audience research to align your video content with your viewers’ interests.
As far as the length of the video is concerned, research suggests that most shared videos usually range from 4 minutes to 4 minutes and 20 seconds in length.
Check out how Netflix’s video-based tweet has garnered 190k+ views and 1.8k retweets in a few days:
Can you guess the reason for retweets?
It could be because people want to be the news bearers.
Breaking news content has a very short shelf-life, but it comes with a significant impact. People want to be bearers of breaking news. That’s why such content gets shared a lot.
Check out how the articles that got the most engagement last year comprised largely of news-based content:
But you cannot leverage this type of content for your regular business. So, focus on news content only if it is relevant to your niche.
You wouldn’t like it if Starbucks started sharing national news, would you? The same goes with you and your followers.
Creating viral content is the dream of every social media marketer. But churning out shareable content every day is not as easy as it sounds, especially when a lot of guesswork is involved.
We have tried to eliminate guesswork from coming up with shareable content and have provided data-based suggestions on what content formats are more likely to help you get those shares.
But, regardless of how promising a content format may be, the fact that it will be shared or not comes down to how valuable it is.
If your content fails to pack and deliver value, you can’t expect it to perform too well. Therefore, prioritize creating informative and valuable content and present it in one of the formats discussed above.