Consumers are continuously searching for informative, engaging, and valuable content online. The goal of a content creator, then, is to create different types of content that people love to share, effectively increasing social shares and generating qualified traffic to their website.
However, consumers do not treat all types of content equally. Some types are intrinsically more engaging with greater potential for viral sharing. Here are the top seven types of content that have proven to be especially effective at garnering attention on the web.
Infographics are loved (and thus shared) more than most other forms of content. Infographics, despite their saturation in digital marketing, remain a powerful way of relaying important—sometimes complicated—information.
As the name suggests, infographics summarize and present data in a visually appealing and easily digestible way. Because they combine data and imagery, they engage multiple areas of our brain at once. Infographics are perfect for communicating almost any idea, especially when you are working with numbers, research and statistics. It’s no wonder, then, that a study by BuzzSumo and OkDork found that infographics offered three times the sharing potential than other forms of content.
However, infographics (because of the extensive research and design required) are a costly type of content to have produced. Furthermore, keep in mind that simply having an infographic does not mean it will go viral. It must have a great title and a clear goal, provide unique value and be aesthetically pleasing, too.
Memes leverage hilarity, ingenuity and (at times) controversy to induce emotions of incredulity, joy, and surprise. The aptness of memes often spurs discussions and use in tangential settings, lending momentum to their virility.
Memes are arguably the simplest type of content that can be created. They require neither graphic design skills nor extensive research, and minimal time is needed for production. Free online meme generators such as Quick Meme and Meme Generator allow marketers to easily add custom text to trending memes, as well as create custom memes using popular images.
The platforms where memes are most effective are limited. Generally speaking, avoid using them on blogs. However, they are popular and frequently embraced on social media platforms such as Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, Twitter, and Stumbleupon.
However, keep in mind that memes offer low engagement value. Hence, their overuse can easily devalue your brand’s message. Use sparingly for an occasional dash of humor, or to give your content a human touch, but never as the anchor of your content strategy.
Videos simplify the arduous task of reading text and absorbing complex material. Information overload and speedier connectivity have reduced the attention span of citizens of the internet to be as low as eight seconds per visit. Videos are a great way for engaging these attention-deprived visitors.
Most people in your audience are accustomed to watching television, and videos are an extension of that easy consumption experience. Videos communicate messages in a succinct and memorable way that (when done properly) can be very persuasive.
Depending on the information that you hope to deliver to your audience and the expected action that you want them to take, many different formats are available for the presentation of your message. Primary examples include explainer videos, webinars, product reviews, company culture videos and guest interviews, among others.
4. Long Form Content
The rise of mobile reading has established a misconception that with smaller screen sizes, one must write shorter, “snackable” content to satisfy the short attention spans of audiences. However, studies by BuzzSumo, and an analysis of the most emailed articles from NY Times by the University of Pennsylvania have shown that longer content offers greater shareability.
As such, the longer the content (3000+ words), the more shares it stands to gain. This is true because longer content goes into deeper detail on the topic at hand. Depth (not breadth) of expertise is directly translated into higher brand authority and trust and, therefore, better results.
5. How-to Content
“How-To” articles have become one of the most popular forms of content. How-to content primarily consists of step-by-step guides about different niche topics. Everyone loves free, detailed, expert opinions, commentary, insights and methods of solving problems, right?
The options for creating how-to content are nearly inexhaustible. They can be highly specific or general to your industry. The simple format is to introduce the problem and your solution, then discuss each step (include imagery if possible), and end with a summary and conclusion.
When creating how-to content remember that the more thorough your explanation, the better the engagement. Don’t forget to include relevant graphics, diagrams, and videos where applicable.
Online readers love to skim through content. That’s why marketers lay so much focus on creating powerful headings and subheadings. List content allows readers to quickly and easily engage with the content from top to bottom and, hence, easily share them with others.
The biggest advantage here is that creating listed posts is amazingly simple. Choose your topic and write your main points, and you’re more than halfway done with creating mega-shareable content.
As with how-to posts, lists should be detailed and have real substance in them. Be insightful and provide real value under each subheading. In the event that readers do stop skimming and actually read the whole article, you want to be sure the content meets their expectations.
7. Curated Content
Curated posts collect links to various articles and resources focused on a single topic. Normally, they are simple, hyperlinked anchor texts that highlight the major finding or topic area of the resource. These are great for boosting SEO and authority in your field.
However, if you add personalized blurbs or introductions to each link, you can add even more depth to your collection of interesting content. This is called content curation. You know your target audience, and you’ve found resources that you know they will enjoy. So instead of recreating content you found inspiring in your own words, simply share what each article has to say, your opinion (if any) on the subject matter, and a link for readers to follow.
These seven types of content are certainly popular, but don’t let this relatively short list smother your creativity. The key is to study the habits and behavior of your target audience (or hire an SEO expert) to determine what type of content and formats they prefer. Then, use those insights to produce irresistible content tailored to their preferences. With a proper promotion plan backing your content, you’re certain to see share counts rise.