How Our Brains Respond to Different Content Formats

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If you’re a brand with information to share, how should you package it? The answer depends on how you want readers to process your content. According to a new infographic from Main Path Marketing, different types of content affect our brains in different ways—and also influence what we do next.

If you want to build a relationship, use text. Blog posts, white papers, e-books—anything that puts your words front and center will allow people to connect with your story. When working on stories for The Content Strategist or The Billfold, I try to write in a way that gives the audience a chance to get to know me. Ideally, I’m giving them a reason to want to learn more about what I have to say.

If you want to communicate information quickly, an infographic might be your best choice. It’s possible that a few readers will skip over this paragraph and scroll straight to the infographic because they want an easily digestible format. (Hopefully not.) But, as the infographic points out, it takes the brain 250 milliseconds to process a symbol and one-tenth of a second to process a visual scene, which is why graphic content is good for making a memorable impression.

If you want highly shareable content, consider something interactive, like a quiz. I took BuzzFeed’s “What Hogwarts House Are You in the Streets and in the Sheets” quiz after I saw my friends sharing their results on Twitter. (I’m a Ravenclaw in both.) A week after the quiz was posted, people are still sharing their answers on social media. A good interactive experience is both shareable and memorable, which means we’re unlikely to forget our Hogwarts houses anytime soon.

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Lastly, if you’re looking for content with emotional resonance, go with video. We’ll tap the laughing emoji after we see a funny photo, but video is what makes us laugh out loud or cry or feel inspired to learn something new. There’s a reason that a compilation video of dogs not wanting to take baths has over 100 million views on YouTube.

Want to know more about how different types of content affect our brains? Check out the infographic—unless, of course, you already have.

 

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