3 Nov 2013

12 Ways to Create Viral Content

By Reshu at Betaout:

Getting their content noticed by the masses is the aim of every content producer, but very few really attain it. Making your content go viral is both an art and a science.  It’s an art as you need to be creative. For content to spread like wildfire, it needs to have something special in it, something that makes it different from everything else being promoted out there. But it involves more science then art; the science behind making a content go viral is to make it shareable, likeable, and in tune with what your target audience is looking for.

1. Create Content on Trending Topics

People like discussing and sharing real time trending content. Covering latest events and trends in your content will increase the chance of it getting shared. You can use Google trends or social networking sites like twitter or Facebook to check what is in trend.Make it enjoyable and engaging. Generate informative, engaging and entertaining content on a regular basis. If your posts are valuable to your readers, then it will increase the chances that they will share it on their social networks. To create engaging content it’s essential to pick a topic that people are passionate about talking and sharing. You can go to social media platforms, such as twitter or facebook, to check what kind of post are getting maximum number of likes and shares, then  you can pick your topic accordingly.

2. Make Your Content Easy to Read and Share

Entice readers by making your content easy to read. Creating lists is an effective way to create content that’s scannable. Creating step-by-step content, bulleted lists, structured content and How To’s are other examples of easy to read content formats.

Also, once you have made it share-worthy, give your readers tools to share it with one click. Include social sharing buttons with every post that you publish on your blog. Make your social sharing buttons visible on your site, so your readers can’t ignore them.

3. Create Content That Evokes Emotion

Many studies have proved that there is a strong link between the emotional impact of an article and its virality.  Always generate content that can arouse emotions in people. It doesn’t matter whether the emotion is negative or positive. For example, Matthew Inman of the famous online comics “The Oatmeal ” is smart at picking a topic which evokes a strong reaction from his audience. His tongue-in-cheek content has repeatedly went viral, making the site hugely popular in just over two years.

Though negative content normally attracts more eyeballs, but as far as sharing is concerned people are more likely to share the positive ones.

Besides sharing humorous, educative and informative content, people also like to share the content which can make them feel good about themselves or up their social values. For example, LinkedIn had earlier released its top most viewed LinkedIn profiles, which went viral with members proudly talking about it. Klout’s top influencers list is another example of content that went viral as it made people feel good about themselves.

4. Write a Viral Title

Headlines are critical to determining what goes viral and are by far the most important element of a viral content piece. Stats says that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. So, chances of a person opening your article and sharing it depends a lot on your post title. Use brief but attention grabbing headlines to encourage people to read your post and share it.

For example, BuzzFeed’s article “50 Animal Pictures You Want to See Before You Die ” is a perfect example of viral content that gets it right with the headline.

Content with an intense tag line or heading can grab the reader’s attention quickly. Headlines should arouse emotions. Doesn’t matter if a headline is serious or light-hearted, but it should be able to tap reader’s emotions. So, keep this in mind while choosing a title or headline for your content.

5. Publicize Your Content

To make your content go viral it’s important to promote it as much as you can. Post the link to your article on social media websites, mail it to your friends, relatives and peers, and post it on discussion boards and forums that are related to your topic. But keep in mind not to overdo it, as your aim is not to annoy people but to arouse their interest.

6. Create Searchable Content

People can share your content only if they can find it. It’s tough to gain online visibility with so much content out there. If you want to make a difference then it’s vital that you learn how to cut yourself from clutter. Optimize your content for search. Search is No. 2 activity across all age groups, which makes it vital that your website should be constructed in such a manner that it can be easily indexed by search engines.

7. Give People a Reason to Share Your Content

People will not share your content until you ask them to share it. So, use the simple six letter word “please” and ask people to share it. People don’t like sharing a post or content if no one else has already shared it. So, become the first one to share your own content and share it in as many places as possible. Ask your friends and relatives to share it too. Normally, people share what they find informative, entertaining or inspiring, so try to combine all these elements in your post to make it more share worthy.

8. Make Your Content Pinnable

So, you are aiming your content to go viral at all the major social networks, with Facebook, Twitter at the helm. But, don’t forget to target Pinterest. Although there is no sure shot way to make your pins go viral, but considering it’s all about photo content, a visual idea board  with a storytelling approach has the potential to make your content go viral. So, make your website content pinnable. Every post of your blog should include a pin-worthy photo.  You can also make your images more pinnable by adding text on it.

A while back, an infographic on Kale  went viral on Pinterest -now this says a lot about the power of pins.

9. Enhance Your Content With Multimedia

Visual content is easy to scan and grasp.  Integrate videos and infographics in your content as they are hard to miss. Specially videos get the maximum traction as people prefer to watch videos over reading text and they are more likely to discover and share them. Enrich your content with interesting multimedia assets to add more power to your content and boost engagement around it.

10. Always Use High Quality Images With Your Content

Select relevant and high quality images for your content. Compelling images are very effective in grabbing a user’s attention and will increase the chances of it getting shared. Choose unique images, something that people don’t see on daily basis or present normal images in a unique manner. For example, laptops are common. No one would stop on a normal laptop picture and share it. However, if the laptop was green you bet people would stop and there are chances that some would even share it.

11. Build a Community Around Your Content

Though this one isn’t a magic pill for sure, but it’s one of the most powerful tools for engaging your audiences every time. Building a strong online community  takes time, but it’s the cheapest and quickest way to ensure your content repeatedly goes viral. You can do this by engaging with your community members, and encouraging them to interact with each other. Give them a reason to get involved. Show them you care by producing content that is informative and solves their problems. Once you will achieve this, you’ll have a group of people who will share your content willingly.

12. Identify Influencers to Spread Your Message

With social media its easy to start a conversation, but, not everyone knows the art of influencing others. So, identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Build a real relationship with these people; share their content, like their status and try to strike a conversation with them.

Influencers are powerful people, they can make your content go viral  simply by endorsing it.

“To work with influencers requires engagement and creativity from you. Once you find your influencers, you will need a plan to engage with them.” –  EVY Wilkins

Finally, be willing to iterate. Create different but remarkable content each time which people would love to read and share. 

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