In building my blog over the last four years I have discovered some insights and important principles about creating content that people want to read.
Here are some ideas for creating shareable content:
I can hear some of you yawning. The reality is, in a time-poor world, giving people a list of things to do—for example, 10 tips for creating a great video—is the type of headline and article people click on. Packaging and chunking information tells your readers you won’t waste their time. Lists are also easy to read and view. This type of content works well.
2. Negative stories
It’s sad but true: Most people prefer to hear bad news, or things they shouldn’t do. Take the negative angle of a story, and you’ll be surprised by the traffic.
The last two years have seen the rise of infographics—complex data and information presented as a combination of text and images. Infographics have a propensity to get shared on Pinterest and Twitter.
4. Curated content
Take a topic and find some of the best articles on it when you do a Google search. Package it up and serve it to your readers. By putting all that information in one place, you’ll save them time and effort.
5. How-to articles
The appetite people have for simple, step-by-step instructions never ceases to surprise me. Provide a how-to framework that’s easy to read, understand and implement.
People want to know what’s happening, whether it’s in their industry, city or the world. Help them find it quickly and easily.
Create, publish and promote this content fast. It has a nasty habit of becoming outdated and irrelevant very quickly.
Get it right, and the news will stream over the Web in a torrent of tweets. The Huffington Post and Mashable are successful because of this.
Example: “Apple Makes Huge Announcement About Twitter”
Provide research-backed facts in a well-structured article. Many people want proof before they take the first step.
8. Case studies
Research is great, but real-world case studies are proof something works. Provide a list of case studies, and your online advocates will lap it up and share it.
9. Evergreen content
The Web demands fresh news and content every minute of the day. In this frenzy of information, people often forget to tap into the power of evergreen content—content that will be just as relevant in two years as it is today. It is content you can continue to promote and share with your readers for a long time. Create content that offers a framework or covers principles, and you will give it longevity and endurance.
Create content that uses screenshots or images to convey an idea, concept or story. Images provide an emotional impact, and see more shares on Facebook than any other content type. Images can take your content from average to awesome.
A tool that helps me do this is Snagit. It is now an indispensable part of my content creation and optimization toolkit.
When creating content, you can share your story and ideas in many ways. Online video now streams easily on the Internet, and you need to include it in your content marketing mix. Direct-to-camera video, a video that captures your screen (such as with the Camtasia software) or videos sourced from YouTube can enhance your story.
12. SlideShare presentations
SlideShare is like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations, and is often underestimated as a way to make your content accessible and attractive. SlideShare is a visual platform that displays ideas and concepts quickly and easily. You can put your articles, research papers and blog posts into a PowerPoint and upload it to SlideShare.
I’ve used SlideShare more extensively in the last year, and views of my SlideShare account now average 25,000 to 35,000 views a month. Total views are now more than 400,000.
You should seriously consider this format for your content.
13. Top 10 lists
People love to know who or what is on top in any category or sector. Create content about this and watch your traffic spike.
Example: “10 Top Pinterest Boards”
14. Tool or application reviews
Everyone is looking for tools and apps that make life easier. Make it easy for your readers to find and download the software.
15. Stories that solve problems
Provide step-by-step instructions about the major issues that plague your industry. This content offers enormous value to your readers, and content creation is always about adding value.
16. Statistics and facts
Content that outlines the latest statistics and facts is always an option that produces clicks and shares. People are intrigued by the bigger and better, and articles about this are always a hit.
Put a quote on Twitter or Facebook and watch the likes leap. There’s nothing like an inspiring quote to put a gleam in someone’s eye.
Example: Stephen King on what it takes to be a good writer: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
A version of this article originally appeared on JeffBullas.com.