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We can present information in countless ways. The purpose of our content and the mood we are trying to convey are important considerations that we have to deal with when selecting a format. However, there are proven ways to create content that people will generally find more appealing. These formats consistently drive higher traffic and are worthy of your consideration the next time you want to put out information and have it be read.
Going Viral: 3 Ways to Format your Content
A Quick Overview:
The infographic has been around for a while, but its popularity has exploded in recent years. Humans are primarily visual creatures and they can understand information faster when it is simplified and made into an image. Visualizing data makes it easier to understand and pleasant to the eyes. The infographic is a content format that is extremely versatile and can be used as a vehicle for just about any idea that you may want to convey. They are particularly useful when you want to spread information through social media and going viral.
Packaging your information in the form of a guide is a way to have people consume your content more than once. There are many articles with useful advice scattered throughout it, but they are overlooked because they did not convey this useful information quickly enough to the viewer. Guides are an excellent formats for keeping the writer on message. They are minimalist by design and relay the relevant information in a logical order. They also offer many opportunities to recommend products, services, and other calls to action. When a reader reads a guide, they are implicitly consenting that the author is an authority. They are therefore more likely to take recommendations from such a figure.
“Listicles” or lists are the latest craze. You have certainly seen the headlines which offer “10 Ways To Do Something” or “The Top 5 Secrets”. The key to the list’s strength is that it is easy to read and generally shorter than other content formats—it can be consumed in less time. To increase the virality of a list, the author’s personality has to be powerful. Humor, wit, and other endearing characteristics have to show through the writing in order to keep users engaged and make them want others to see your material.
If you are trying to share an opinion, the best format for increased readership is a rant. Countless articles litter op-eds everyday and they largely go unnoticed because they attempt to appeal to rationality and they take a calm tone with the audience. It is seldom the calm stories that make the news and get reported about. If you want your opinion piece to be widely shared, give it some edge.
In an increasingly competitive market, it only takes the smallest decisions to decide whether or not you are successful or not. The format that you choose for your content is a critical, but small, decision that could decide whether your story goes viral or gets indexed on the 12th page of Google.