We all want to create content that gets attention for many reasons. For one thing, who wants to spend time writing, editing, revising, proofing, designing for no one to see it? But beyond ego, creating attention-grabbing content is important because it can increase your reach as people share it with their friends and colleagues.
With the constant onslaught of content we’re all exposed to every day, achieving that goal is getting harder and harder, even when you know you’ve created something really good. Experts note that the type of content that “goes viral” is emotional, is easy to digest, has great visuals and is mobile friendly, among other things. I’d add the type of content you create is important. Some formats simply appeal to people more quickly than others.
Here are seven types of content that grab people’s attention:
- Research—Why is this so popular? Well, in general people like giving their opinions and they like reading about other people’s opinions to see if they match their own. People gravitate toward survey results so putting resources into conducting and publishing noteworthy proprietary research is almost always worth the investment. Find something interesting that isn’t really being surveyed or reported on already and gather data. Once complete you can release the research results in many different forms from blog posts to infographics to reports and of course, inform the media.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)—This type of content is great for your website. Ideally, the FAQs will give readers quick answers to the questions they have about your product or service. To create this content, start by thinking about the questions your customer service team gets regularly and provide answers to those. If a traditional FAQ page feels too old school for you, another way to answer the top questions customers or prospects have is to build a chatbot.
- Explainer Videos—People are crazy for video. According to Cisco, by 2022, video will make up to 82% of all online traffic. Developing a video strategy starts with the basics. Rather than explain how your product works and its benefits with just text, include a video on your website so that visitors can view it at their desks or on their phones to understand exactly what you’re offering. Until you change your product, this content is evergreen and will be consumed over and over.
- Causes—Showing that you’re about more than just selling a product or service is refreshing. People like to hear about the good you’re doing in the world. Sharing how your business is making an impact in big and small ways generates engagement among your audience. Some businesses, like Tom’s (shoes), have built their whole business model and identity around a cause drawing in customers with shared values.
- Controversial Ideas—Putting out something controversial will get attention, but you have to be ready for some backlash. For this one to work you have to be prepared to deal with those who disagree with your company’s position on hot button issues. But, taking a stand could lead to more attention on your business and increased purchases from those who agree with your position and want to support you.
- Online Quizzes and Polls—One form of social content many people can’t seem to pass up are quizzes and polls. People like to test themselves to see how well they can do, especially if their friend has shared the quiz and their score. Often, people will vote in polls just to see the results and what other people voted for.
- Lists—Lists of information are easy to digest, easy for readers to scan to find the information that appeals to them and easy to share with others. The information you decide to share can be data, facts, trivia, how tos. One interesting tip to note, while lists are popular for readers and for marketers, lists that use an odd number (7, 11, 13, for example) get more attention than round numbered lists.
These seven content formats shouldn’t be used every time you think about publishing new content, but they should definitely be part of the mix. What other types of content formats have you seen generate a lot of buzz? Share in our comments!