Which types of blog posts get shared the most on social media?

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Published Feb 25, 2019 | Written by Katie Hughes

New research published last week by Backlinko has revealed some interesting insights into the types of blog posts that garner the most shares on social media.

Backlinko analysed 912 blog posts, looking at how things like content format, word count, and headlines correlate with social media shares.

We delved into the findings.

So, which types of blog posts are most shareable?

Long versus short blog posts

The findings appear to conform to the belief that long-form content is more powerful than short-form content. When it comes to social shares, longer blog posts tended to outperform short blog posts.

But what is the ideal length? The findings suggest that the ‘sweet spot’ is 1,000 to 2,000 words. Articles of this length got an average of 56.1% more shares than content with less than 1,000 words. But, don’t get too carried away, as going over 2,000 words appears to diminish your shareability.

The ideal blog post length is a long-debated topic. And while Google is certainly moving towards favouring longer-form content, common sense still applies. If there is loads to write about, great, go for it. But if you just can’t get to 1,000 words, or, you think you can convey a more powerful message in fewer words, then so be it. It may not always be the same for all topics. And not all audiences are the same either - you know yours best.

To ask or not to ask? That is the question

Blog posts that include a question mark in the title were found to get 23.3% more social shares than those that didn’t.

From a psychological perspective, it makes sense - questions create intrigue. If you manage to pitch a question that piques the interest of a customer or prospect, then as long as you catch them at the right moment, chances are you may just get them to click through.

But this isn’t to say that we should always be positioning our headlines as questions. It would get pretty boring for your readers to see the same kind of blog post over and over again. And I’m sure you’d tire of writing them too. Having a variety of different types of blog posts in your catalogue will ensure you keep your regular readers engaged.

List posts: serious content or click-bait?

This may not be surprising to you, but the findings reveal that list posts get shared more than any other type of blog post.

We’re simple creatures really, and when you think about the sheer amount of content we are faced with every single day, it’s no wonder that we are more drawn to blog posts that are easy for us to scan and digest quickly. And list posts are a perfect example of this.

If you want to add a bit more zest to your list posts to get them to stand out, use adjectives to describe the things you’re going to list. For example, ‘5 simple tips, ‘6 foolproof ways…’ or ‘8 surprising things…’

But, caution, list posts can have a reputation for being too ‘Buzz-feed’, or too ‘click-bait’. So think carefully about how often you post them and whether they are right for your audience. For some sectors, too many list posts can be overkill. If list posts are part of your repertoire - we recommend that they are! - make sure that when you use them, it’s because it’s the best format for sharing your tips and not because you think it will get more shares.

How, what, why

According to the research, ‘why’ posts are more likely to be shared on social media than ‘what’ posts, and seemingly, ‘how to’ posts are even less shareable.

I can only imagine that this is because ‘why’ posts create a similar level of intrigue to list posts. ‘What’ and ‘how to’ indicate more practical content, something you might need to allow more time for to digest - which perhaps doesn’t match up to the quick, bitesize content that social media can sometimes feel more suited to.

Ultimately, it’s likely that you’ll want to write a mix of these blog posts so that you can answer all the different questions your buyer personas will have about a topic.

For example, here are three blog posts we’ve written here at Equinet around the topic ‘video marketing’:

So, what’s the answer?

The point isn't that every blog post you write needs to be a listicle between 1,000-2,000 words long with a question in the title. Your best option is to use a variety of different posts: what, why, how, questions, and list posts - to keep things interesting. 

You can also create more intrigue by accompanying each blog post you share with some short, persuasive copy. Pull out a quote or statistic, highlight one of the key themes, or pose a question that the blog post answers. This will help encourage people to read it. You might want to take a look at this blog post, where we've collated some handy tips for nailing your social media copy.

But, getting your content shared so that it reaches a wider audience is only one half of the picture. Just because a blog post gets shared multiple times on social media, it doesn’t guarantee you a sudden flurry of new leads. The most important thing is for your blog posts to resonate with your buyer personas, the questions they have, and the challenges they face. 

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Published by Katie Hughes February 25, 2019
Katie Hughes