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It is the dream of every marketer and business owner to create a piece of content that goes viral. But what are the secret ingredients of shareable content when you are on a shoe-string budget and unable to pay stars to appear in your advertisements.
Of course, there is no substitute for publishing compelling content, but surveys independently conducted by the New York Times and BuzzSumo found that certain content formats are shared more than others.
Appeal to emotions
Cute, happy content is by far the most shared. Anything that’s gets an “ahhh” such as pictures of kids and kittens is always passed on to friends. This is simply human emotion, but this type of content rarely offers anything of value to readers.
You do however need to appeal to a readers emotions. If you can somehow move a person through your content they are more likely to share it amongst their friends and social media networks. This means impressing them.
Entertaining posts that are amusing or laugh-out-loud received the highest amount of shares followed by intelligent content readers can trust. So let’s take a look of ways to present shareable content that might – just might – go viral.
Infographics and lists
Visual images are appealing to the human mind, so combining information with visual is perfect. That’s why infographics has been such as success.
Lists are also shareable because the headline tells readers exactly what they are going to get from the article (10 new hair trends for summer). They are also skimmable and easy-to-read so are suitable for mobile users.
Long form content
Yet surprisingly, content that receives the most shares is long-form content. Both studies found that intellectually challenging articles with a word count of 3000-10,000 words received the more shares than shorter articles.
This puts something of a dampener on creating bite-sized mobile-friendly content, but the length of your content should justify the message you are trying to put across. Which is why long-form articles are more successful.
Internet users want valid information they can trust, and they are more likely to find acumen in an in-depth article that has been well-researched than a standard 500-word piece that produces a half-baked idea.
Furthermore, there are far fewer long-form articles being published on the internet than there are short articles, thus competition for insightful articles is lower, meaning your content is more shareable.
When writing long-form content however, you need to structure the format so that it can be easily digested. Huge chunks of text is a turn-off for digital readers.
Keep paragraphs to a minimum of three or four lines and include sub-headings at appropriate intervals to make the overall piece appear less cumbersome. Throwing in bullet points also makes the article skim-friendly.
Quizzes also receive a lot of shares. The reason for this is because they appeal to the ego. First of all, people love to test their knowledge and character with a quiz.
If they get good results, or are pleased with the character profile many of these quizzes purport to declare, they are more than happy to share the results and boast to their friends.
You do not need a bulging budget to produce great content that readers want to share. What you do need to do is appeal to the sensibilities of your followers and produce content in a shareable format.