Wonky Articles Trump other forms of Content

owl-47526_1280I saw an article in Hinge Marketing’s newsletter that reaffirmed my faith in PR, media and humanity. It cited research that shows substantive articles outperform other content types, when it comes to drawing links and shares (don’t get too excited, listicles are up there too).

It sounded interesting, and I had to learn more, so I clicked on the link to read the full article, which summarized research from the Moz blog and Buzz Sumo. They studied 1M pieces of content (spanning types and sources) to learn which kinds get the most links and shares. Another goal was to better understand user motivations behind these activities.

You might think that the most popular content get linked and shared, but the researchers found little correlation between the two forms of user endorsement. This implies that people do these things for different reasons. E.g. users more often share quizzes than link to them. Another interesting conclusion was that most content gets neither.

So what are the secrets to top performing content?

  • There is a “sweet spot” that draws links and shares, which “includes content from popular domains such as major publishers.”
  • The most linked and shared content also included “authoritative, research backed content, opinion forming journalism and major news sites.”
  • “Long form content consistently receives more shares and links than shorter-form content.”
  • Videos and listicles do well too
  • You can combine these factors to boost results, e.g. combine deep content with lists

They say that linking is more work than sharing, and as such, is done less.  But I have rewarded the authors with a (another) link, as the post is definitely research-backed and “opinion forming”; will share it too.

And guess what, this post is data-driven and has a list – so maybe you will reward me in kind?


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