A BuzzSumo/Moz study shows over 50% of content lacks links and shares. These 7 insights can help you create share-worthy content.

With all the content published online, how do you ensure your brand is heard? New data shows most content doesn’t gain any traction. Moz and BuzzSumo‘s recent study of more than 1 million articles across industries analyzed the average post’s shares and links – and if there is a correlation between them.

Depressing statistic alert: “In a randomly selected sample of 100,000, posts over 50% had 2 or less Facebook interactions (shares, likes or comments), and over 75% had zero external links.”

This lack of traction could be caused by several different factors:

  • Low quality: Spelling and grammar mistakes aside, content that’s visually unappealing or boringmisses the mark with readers.

(Read on: 70% of brands produce poor-quality content & it’s ineffective)

  • No distribution strategy: Brands need to promote their assets through social media, email marketing and influencer outreach. How can you expect others to promote your content if you’re not willing to do the same?
  • No repurposing efforts. You created content, shared it once, and now it collects dust. Ninety-three percent of content assets are created from scratch, meaning marketers aren’t digging into their archives to utilize valuable information they’ve already brought to the table.

(If this sounds like you, you’ll want to check out our free guide: Repurposing content)

The study found no correlation between links and shares – and it suggested links are harder to come by than shares. Yet, there are still some takeaways on how to craft content that’s most likely to get noticed online.

The types of content that get the most shares & links:

List-posts, “why” articles, “how-to’s” and video bring in the most shares

Moz Buzzsumo Stat 1

Longform content gets better engagement

Moz Buzzsumo Stat 2

In spite of the fact that long-form content gets the most shares and links, 85% of posts analyzed are less than 1,000 words.

Brafton statistics correlate with this data:

  • When we ​analyzed ​the most socially shared content posts of 2014 on Brafton.com, ​almost half included numbered lists and a quarter were how-to explainers.
  • When one client in the foodservice industry started creating switched long-form, in depth content, bounce rate halved and session durations more than doubled. More details here.

The psychology behind why people share content

Web marketing firm Fractl published a study that delved into the emotions and needs that fuel shares. Here’s what it found:

  • The single-most compelling reason to share on social media is to entertain, which was the answer given by 44 percent of respondents.

(Read more: Study: Your audience likes humorous content – & how to do it)

  • Next up was a desire to educate, with 25 percent.
  • For 20 percent, the motive is to share something that reflects who the sharer is as a person.
  • Showing support for a cause or organization came in fourth, with 10 percent.

The web is saturated with content that isn’t moving the needle for ROI. When you create a post, think about what will entice someone to want to share it or link to it from their own website. Does it have exclusive information? Is it visually appealing? Does it provide value? It’s answering these simple questions that will continue to separate the content that gets thousands of shares from those that gets none.

TL; DR – 7 tips for share-worthy, link-worthy content

1. Go in-depth – 1,000+ (valuable) words get most shares and links.

2. Try lists (see what we’re doing here?).

3. Promise to answer “Why” right in the headline of pieces (then do it).

4. Map “How-to’s” to actual customer queries.

5. Use video – people like audio/visual experiences.

6. Show some personality. Humor resonates.

7. Suffice it to say: Be a resource. People should feel it makes them look good to be the conduit to your content through a like or share.

Learn more about link building and social sharing:

Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.