By Matt Banner published May 17, 2016

Your Guide to Creating and Sharing Content in 2016 [Infographic]


In that moment when you post something to a social media channel, you wait for the “likes,” shares, favorites, and retweets to come. Sometimes, though, they never come.

How do you create content that makes your audience share it without fail? How and when do you share it on social media for maximum results?

Let’s take a look at five strategies that will help you create content that people want to share each and every time. Then, you can use my social media cheat sheet for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube to maximize the sharing of your great content.

1. Spend time on images and design

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people don’t read web pages word for word. Instead, they pick and choose specific words and sentences as they scan the page. To accommodate this reading style, you need to use eye-catching images and organize your content in a way that grabs readers’ attention.

People rarely read web pages word by word. Instead, they scan, picking out words & sentences via @NNgroup Click To Tweet

Here are some quick tips that will help you achieve this goal:

  • Make your headlines big, bold, and focused. Have them convey one simple, but powerful idea.
  • Use sub-headlines every few paragraphs to keep readers engaged and interested in the content.
  • Use an inverted pyramid structure where the content at the beginning is the most important and as the readers move down, they read the less important (but still relevant) points.
  • Bullet points, italics, and bolded words are a great way to make major points stand out.

2. Create topical and timely content

A surefire way to garner shares is to jump on situations and breaking news as they develop. If you’re good about keeping your ear to the ground, you can take advantage of various situations and use them as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

A major breakthrough or change in your industry is a perfect example. If you weigh in with your thoughts and report on the news, you can have a timely post ready to share quickly. Combine that with the social media tactics detailed later in this article, and you have a recipe for an extremely shareable post.

3. Stuff your content with emotional appeal

Studies have confirmed that emotion is a major factor in decision-making at any level. Even something as simple as sharing a post on your Facebook timeline involves some level of emotion. People share content that makes them feel something. If it doesn’t do anything for them, odds are they won’t bother with it.

People share #content that makes them feel something. They won’t share it if it doesn’t says @blastyourblog Click To Tweet

Take a look at your content from a reader’s perspective and ask:

  • Does it make you feel anything or does it seem hollow?
  • How many times did you laugh while reading it?
  • Did you have to hold back tears?

4. Tell an amazing story

As English author Philip Pullman has said: “After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

After nourishment, shelter, & companionship, stories are what we need most in the world by @PhilipPullman Click To Tweet

Of course, not all stories are created equal. You need to tell a story that connects to your readers and puts them into your perspective. Great stories involve what you expect – suspense, emotions, imagery, and metaphors – but your story needs to go beyond those characteristics.

Your story should offer something that your audience can relate to, and therefore create a means by which they can interact with your brand. If your readers feel something when they read your content, you can bet they’ll want to share it.

If your readers feel something when they read your #content, they’ll want to share it via @blastyourblog Click To Tweet

5. Stay positive

A BuzzSumo analysis revealed that articles conveying awe, laughter, or amusement were the most-shared in 2015. They found that the least-shared emotions were anger and sadness.

Articles conveying awe, laughter, or amusement were the most-shared in 2015 via @buzzsumo #socialmedia Click To Tweet

As you probably expected, people aren’t keen on sharing something that’s depressing. Instead, give your content a positive spin or at least make it inspiring.

Cheat sheet for social platforms

Now that you have incredible content you want to share, check out this infographic for valuable information to maximize your reach on today’s top social media platforms.

Social Media Cheat Sheet

Find more best practices and rules of engagement for working with today’s top social media platforms. Read our Content Marketer’s Guide to Social Media Survival: 50+ Tips.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Matt Banner

Matt Banner is the author of On Blast Blog, a website that teaches you how to start and grow a blog. You can follow him on Twitter @blastyourblog.

Other posts by Matt Banner

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  • Scott

    Thanks for posting! I was looking for tips like this for my content strategy. Those can be also applied to creating a good email marketing strategy as well as landing pages. I’ll surely use it with my next campaign in GetResponse.

  • JC Marelli

    Great Chart, thanks for posting, in my case I´m struggling to get the hold on LinkedIn, may you have a sugestión for that channel???


    I use Marketero to increase traffic to my website, besides it´s great to retain that traffic..

  • Cherie Frid

    This infographic is an absolute thing of beauty! I am in <3

  • Thiago Bernardo Santos

    This article is amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  • Alfonzo Nelson

    Thanks for posting! it very useful information

  • Evelyn

    I’ve been trying to narrow down the best times for sharing on social media. This is a very helpful guide. Love your infographic!

  • Truly Life

    all good pointers on how one should create & share content.. useful read..

  • lukwago James

    Thank you so much Matt, this is a wonderful and very educative article, many bloggers around the world create content that is not so appealing or engaging and of which if it is posted on social media, you wont see reasonable shares or likes or tweets, but thank you so much, these tips will help us improve.
    Lukwago James

  • Rosie Tesmenitskaya

    very interesting post to read history of content marketing. What’s important is to understand the ideas and events that define history.