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15 types of content that gets shared

May 30, 2015

Content marketing works when you appeal to the needs, context and curiosity of the people your business wants to serve. Getting that content found is key to success – growing your reach, engaging prospects and converting new opportunities. Getting your content shared is key to getting found. So how do you start creating content that gets shared?

1. Great headlines get shared

One of the first lessons you learn as a content marketer is that headlines matter. No matter how much insight there is an article or blog or paper, it doesn’t matter if the headline doesn’t grab people. It needs to sum up the promise of the content. It needs to get to the point. It could be quirky. It should almost always be short (seven words or less).

2. Statistics get shared

People love evidence. They need it. It helps them do their job and make decisions. It helps them prove their business case. It can also get their attention by showing that a trend is significant. Famously, 73.6% of statistics are made up. But even that makes you think, is that a reasonable estimate. It makes you stop and think – if it’s a statistic about something that’s relevant to you anyway.

3. Research and survey findings

It’s related to the same impulse that makes statistics shareable. People are fascinated with what other people do, like, believe and feel – especially when it comes to their business and their customers.

4. People read and share ‘How-To’s

As part of your content marketing strategy, you need some evergreen content. How-to articles should form the backbone of that strategy. They appeal to your target customers when they need help and they are a perfect illustration of how your business can help them.

5. Infographics get shared – a lot

As we’ve highlighted elsewhere, people don’t generally like to read. They don’t have time. For example, when’s the last time you bought something expensive and read the instructions? Cover to cover? People need to be able to skim. Infographics help people digest information quickly and get the key points.

6. Things that people didn’t know

Do you have knowledge that would surprise most people in your sector? Does your product or service challenge the accepted wisdom? The promise of finding out information that you didn’t know is always tempting. People generally want to increase their awareness and understanding.

7. Lists get shared

Lists are great because they put lots of information in one place. They promise the reader a wealth of information and, perhaps, an exhaustive review of a topic. Of course, lists are never really finished – maybe there are actually 16 types of content that get shared, for example.

8. People like photos

In people’s personal use of social media, they like and share photos all the time – family, friends, holidays, pets and lots more. We don’t recommend this approach for businesses but there are occasions when it works. Going to a trade show? Travel much for business? Meeting an influencer in your market? Then report back on it through your blog and social media.

9. Insight and opinion

Long-form content that offers a real, in-depth view on a topic relevant to your customers and prospects has value. It’s unlikely to get shared in a viral way but it will get shared by the right people. Perhaps printed out and included with a business case or strategy document for the CEO. Spending the time putting together really insightful content about topics your market cares about is very worthwhile.

10. Quotes are intriguing

Sometimes someone else has said it better than you could. The right quote can inspire, influence and engage the type of person you want to do business with. They also allow you to reflect the values and message of the quote onto yourself. Use Canva or Typorama to turn it into a visual image and you’ll see even more response.

11. Round-ups get shared

Can you pull together a list of lists or summarise recent news on a topic. Curating information helps people who don’t have the time to do the digging themselves. They’ll often show their appreciation by sharing the content onwards.

12. Things you ask people to share

Including social sharing buttons alongside your content is essential. However, including ‘click to tweet’ buttons in your blogs increases the amount of sharing of your content dramatically. Asking people to help you by sharing – or just highlighting the most shareable things – is a simple but effective tool.

Here's 15 types of content that get shared - and a picture of a cute kitten. Click To Tweet

13. Videos get shared

Videos get shared because sometimes a video is a much easier way of digesting content than even an infographic. Videos are great for telling an unfolding story or actually showing how your product works. They don’t have to be long and you don’t need very much technology to put together an effective one. But they work hard for your inbound marketing activity. As well as working on your website and in social media – they give you access to Youtube, Vevo and other content platforms.

14. Rants get shared

We wouldn’t recommend using these very often but a post that expresses a genuinely-held opinion about something others will identify with can work. A rant should be opinionated but it shouldn’t be uncontrolled. Imagine you were talking to client about a ‘hot’ topic in your market – it’s your position, your view, your take on the change and the likely impact.

15. Links and resources lists

Sometimes just doing something simple but useful such as collecting a list of resources together into one place for your users is the most useful thing you can do. One way of making them extra-useful is to group them by role – resources for a procurement manager, 10 websites to check when planning an event, for example. Plus, not only are they useful to individuals, you’re spreading some SEO love to the sites on the list too.

Hopefully this list gives you some ideas on what content you should be creating. If you liked it then share it. If you’d value some input into your inbound marketing and lead generation activity, contact us to discuss your biggest challenges.

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