Neil Patel sent me a link to his article outlining how to write a winning list post that will get shared. It is a great article but what caught my attention was the graph image he used, titled “Average Shares By Content Type”. I did some search for the origin of the image and came across an amazingly useful information about most shared blog content. I’ll provide the highlights here.
The information was based on BuzzSumo analysis of over 100 million articles during an 8 month period. Noah Kagan published the results. As you can imagine an analysis of such an immense number of articles would give one a pretty accurate idea of what gets to be shared.
The analysis took into consideration 10, what they called, “ingredients” that will make a site content go viral. Of course there is a disclaimer. Your content will not go viral if you fail to write a compelling, interesting and useful article. However, if you’ll craft a well written content, the ingredients mentioned will improve the shareability of your article.
Summary of the 10 blog content elements studied
- Long versus a short article (long was a winner)
- Images in relation to Facebook shares (images = more shares)
- Images in relation to Twitter shares (images = more shares)
- Characteristics of the article (entertaining, expressing own opinion, quizzes did much better than sad and angry articles)
- Infographics (very shareable)
- Lists (very shareable). The magic number for a list post was 10 list items.
- Trust (more trust = more shares)
- Influencers (have a multiplying effect on sharing)
- Repromoting old content (increased sharing)
- Best day to share (the winner was Tuesday, although Monday came a close second)
Analysis By Blog Content Type Of Article
One of the topics of the analysis was to investigate which blog content types or formats of articles people liked to share. They designated 6 categories of article types for their analysis. They were:
- List articles
- How To articles
- What articles
- Why articles
The results, depicted on the image below were quite interesting and for some categories, unexpected.
Most Shared Blog Content Type
►Post/articles with infographics got shared the most. Likely it is because usually the infographics are quite captivating, not overly common, very specifically informative and interesting to read.
►The second most shared posts were the ones that contained lists. That did not surprise me as most people like lists and if the lists are well put together they can really drive the message as they usually give the reader an exact idea of what to expect. The group also discovered that the magic number of list items is 10, followed by 23, 16 and 24. But stick to 10 if you are going to do a list because 10 scored 4 times better than the 2nd most popular list number, 23.
►“Why” posts were also shared more often than the average posts
►The least shareable were the “How To” articles and Video articles. Both of these categories fell below the shares of an average post. I guess this happens because most likely both of these categories of posts describe a very specific topic that may be of help to the reader but not necessarily to her/his friends.
►With respect to the video posts, the reason for a low shareability may also be due the the fact that many of the video posts are rather poorly put together, with nothing more than a couple of sentences and a link to a video. That is pretty boring and often indicative of the fact that the blogger cannot even be bothered to give his own opinion on the video and that likely the post is just a filler post (just my opinion).
► “What” posts also did poorly. They were also shared less that the average posts. The reason for this may be similar to the “How To” articles. The searched topic is often personal. For example, when a reader reads and article such as “What is acne”, sharing could be embarrassing or even presumptuous.
This interesting analysis gives us a pretty good idea which posts will do the best with respect to sharing (providing the article is of quality). I write a lot of “how to” posts and this research is giving me some ideas and it suggests to me that I need to change my writing strategies.
I’d love to hear what you have to say about this research and whether it may affect your writing “style” as well.
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