Social media has changed the online marketing game. Social networking platforms play a critical role in your social media strategy. Among several other metrics to measure content success, the number of shares on social media has become a key content success metric. If a lot of people share your content on and off social media, it means more impressions, clicks, and website traffic. And it eventually leads to viral content. But the big question is what type of content gets shared most?
If you know the type of content that gets the most shares on social media and across the internet, it will get easier to increase engagement and drive more traffic to your website. A high number of social shares mean lots of eyeballs seeing your content. And this leads to brand awareness, more followers, clicks and impressions, website traffic, leads, and more.
6 Type of Content That Gets Shared the Most
There are certain content types that perform exceptionally well on social media in terms of engagement and share counts. Identifying patterns and knowing what content types and formats always do better will help you craft better content marketing and social media marketing strategies.
Here is the list of the content types that multiple organizations generally cover to get the most shares on social networks:
1. List Posts
Listicles are the most shared content type on social media and generate the most reliable social traction. A list post is an article in list format such as 5 reasons to take an apple in the morning. A list post or listicle is an article that consists of a certain number of lists or items:
List posts are clearly recognizable from their title as they contain a digit in the title. Here is an example of a how a list article looks like:
Since list posts are identifiable from their title, they’re usually shared a lot on social media. But this isn’t the only reason for a high number of shares.
Practically, readers love listicles for the following reasons:
- Listicles set reader expectations upfront. A number in the title tells readers what it is about and what value they’ll receive from the content
- List posts are easy to skim. You can quickly scan the headings and move on. Only 20-28% of words are read on an average web page. The majority of internet users scan content. List posts make scanning easy.
And when it comes to writing a list article to generate social shares, the best number to use in the article title is 10 followed by 5:
If you want to have a high number of shares for your article, use digit 10 in the article title. The reason why people tend to share number 10 in the title articles most is that it covers pretty much everything about a topic. Compare this with 20, it seems too much, and anything less than 10 seems as if the topic isn’t covered completely.
This is why adding 10 items in your list posts and using the number 10 in the title is highly recommended.
2. Newsworthy Content
If there is one content type that is shared like crazy, it’s newsworthy content. And no, newsworthy content doesn’t mean breaking news. Content marketers use newsworthy content to get media coverage and journalist attention.
And in this case, you are interested in getting social media shares instead of media coverage.
Newsworthy content has certain characteristics that make it interesting for your target audience. The key newsworthy content values are timeliness, localization, significance, frame, novelty, and trends:
This means any type of content can be newsworthy. It all comes down to how you create it. But yes, it must be timely and relevant to a larger audience because that’s how it will drive social media engagement.
Here is an example of newsworthy content:
It is a researched-based data-driven article that is trending in 12 hours, has 20 comments, and is already shared by 12 people on Facebook with 31 reactions:
You can create newsworthy content in several ways. You can use data, original research, controversy, or anything else.
Here is one way of creating newsworthy content:
You can create newsworthy content from data, image alteration, video content, or any other source. It doesn’t have to originate from surveys and interviews. You don’t always have to rely on data collection for creating newsworthy content.
Here is another example of newsworthy content:
This article earned more than 200 backlinks. This is a great example of getting shares off social media sites where you earn backlinks and mentions.
Newsworthy content is a must-have content type that gets shared most.
Visual content gets the most shares. It is a proven reality. As much as 32% of marketers are of the view that visual content is the most important content type that they create. Infographics are the best form of visual content that you must create to get shares. It is used by 65% of brands for marketing purposes including social media marketing.
The best part: Infographics are the most liked and shared content type on social media. Research shows that people love interacting with striking visual images and graphics. Here is an example:
A recently released research shows that posts on Facebook with an image gets 2.3x more shares and engagement than posts without an image:
Infographics don’t just get shares on social media but they generate a lot of engagement off social media too. You can boost brand awareness, generate natural backlinks, and build authority by publishing interesting infographics.
You can use the guestographics technique to get more shares for your infographic and get backlinks. You’ll need to reach out to the most relevant people, influencers, bloggers, and webmasters and show them your amazing infographic. And leave the rest on them.
Your infographic will generate shares, buzz, and engagement on complete autopilot.
You can share snippets of your infographic on social media sites. For example, you can share items individually from your infographic. This makes more sense as a complete infographic won’t be visible on a lot of social media platforms (except Pinterest).
If you notice, all the social media platforms are related to visual content. Think of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and several others. They’re somehow linked to visual content.
This is the reason why publishers post content that is visual including infographics as it gets shared the most pretty much everywhere on the internet.
4. Interactive Content
Nothing works better than interactive content for shares and engagement. It isn’t just limited to shares but it engages your readers and target audience. You can achieve much more than shares from interactive content.
It is defined as a content type that is dynamic and requires active engagement. It includes quizzes, polls, interactive eBooks, podcasts, live web sessions, etc. The content isn’t static in this case and since readers interact with the content, it generates real-time engagement and social traction.
Here is an example of interactive content by IBM. They have created an interactive infographic on industry landscapes that educates readers on how different industries have reshaped and evolved:
Users see information when they select any spot like this:
This is an interesting interactive infographic that keeps its readers hooked.
Surveys, social media quizzes, and social media polls are the most famous types of interactive content that are shared a lot. Here is an example of a Twitter poll:
This type of interactive content is highly engaging and is able to drive potential social media success. As much as 59% of social media marketers say that the number one reason for using interactive content in their content marketing strategy is that it boosts engagement:
You can create different types of interactive content for your business including:
- Surveys and MCQs
- Branded games
- Quizzes and polls
- Calculators and tools
- Interactive infographics, videos, whitepapers, etc.
5. Why Posts
One of the most shared content on social media after listicles and infographics is why articles. An analysis of 100 million pages revealed that why posts are the third most popular and shared content type:
Why articles provide an answer to a hot customer question. These posts are valuable, educational, and highly engaging. Here is an example of a why post:
This post is educational that guides readers on why they shouldn’t drink water immediately after a meal. The post is helpful and shares valuable insights.
When writing a why post, you need to focus on a few factors such as:
- The article title must have why preferably at the start of the title
- Attention grabbing headline or title
- Use striking images in the article with high quality content
- Content needs to address a real customer question and must provide an answer
- Use Quora and Reddit to find relevant questions to write about.
Helpful content in any format won’t be ignored by your target audience. It will always be appreciated and drive lots of engagement and shares.
6. How to Content
A HubSpot study found how to articles to be one of the most shared content on social media. How to posts earned 18.42% of shares (only less than list articles, infographics, and why posts).
A how to post can be a video or a blog post or an image or an infographic. It doesn’t have to be necessarily a blog post. A lot of how-to videos get thousands of shares on Facebook such as HowToBasic. It is a Facebook page that shares basic how-to videos that get a lot of shares and engagement like this video:
Facebook algorithms and other social networking algorithms are found to be favoring video content. A quick overview of your Facebook News Feeds will reveal how many of the top posts are video. So, during the how-to content creation process, don’t ignore videos. Better yet, have a video based strategy for your how to articles.
How-to content is educational and solves a real problem. For example, how to remove rust from a knife is the type of content that solves a genuine customer issue. It addresses a common problem faced by pretty much everyone.
This makes how to posts highly engaging and they are shared the most on the internet.
Other Type of Content That Gets Most Shares
There are other content formats too that you must try to generate shares and social media engagement. These include:
- Video content especially live video, music videos, multiple cute animal videos, food related videos, etc.
- What posts
- Emotional content such as heartwarming and inspiring content
- Long-form articles
- Original research and scientific findings.
You need to understand that the content type and format alone aren’t responsible for engagement. Rather the body, its formatting, and presentation are all important. You need to pick the right content type and then create high quality sharable content.
Nobody will share your content based on its type alone. Readers consider all the aspects.
Finding the right type of content for your business that gets shared most isn’t a straightforward task. It requires a lot of experimentation and testing.
Content types and engagement vary greatly from industry to industry. And exactly what types of content gets most shared for your business might be different from the content with the highest shares for your competitor. Your competitor might have the highest shares for infographics while you might get maximum shares from listicles.
Don’t follow trends. You can’t replicate the most viral Facebook posts and expect the same results. It won’t happen.
It involves consumer behavior, emotions, and several variables. The only way to identify what works for your business is to test and experiment. Use data to find the most engaging content type for your business and audience.
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