We have all witnessed how certain videos and images go totally viral in just a few days of them being published on digital platforms. From the videos of pandas playing on slides published by renowned zoos to brands sharing their takes on sensitive issues, content today has the ability to become viral – when done right. Let’s tell you what they did right!
But video isn’t the only form of content that can go viral. As marketers we have seen certain blog posts, infographics, gifs, or even comments hit popularity.
Even though every marketer understand the power of the internet, creating content that travels at a viral speed, isn’t as easy.
It entirely depends on what topic you’re touching upon, how many people out there emotionally connect with it and just how many of them you’re able to stimulate an action out of.
So let’s take a look at what constitutes a viral content piece and why your posts are lagging behind.
The core elements of viral content
1. Hand picked topics that your audience loves
We know it takes a while to create a documented content strategy. But the truth is that the digital trends are changing way too quickly to stick to what was trending in week 1 and execute it in week 4. If you want to tap into market opportunities before anyone else does, get ready to improvise on the go.
Keep a tab on what’s trending in the industry, shortlist conversations or topics that you can quickly turn around and contribute to. The quicker you are to join the discussion in some way, the higher are your chances of going viral – just ensure your content piece doesn’t go viral negatively.
2. Always tap into the emotions of your reader
If you want your readers to get hooked to your content piece, hook their emotions asap! As soon as they connect with your content, the information you share with them automatically becomes more valuable to them.
Surveys suggest that the positive emotions tend to tip more towards virality than the negative ones. So look into surprising your readers with an interesting fact, making them go wow or feel happy by the end of the post because they see a way to solve their persistent problem. And if you’re tapping into a negative aspect, make sure that the conclusion doesn’t turn against you.
3. Ensure that it is value-packed
The above clearly leads us to our next element – value/usability. There is absolutely no way to tap into a reader’s emotions without being able to add value to him. You might not have a direct solution to his concerns, but you absolutely need to be informative enough to become a part of the ongoing conversation.
Always ensure that each of your content pieces either leave the reader thinking he has gained more information on a topic that interests him, or gives him a solution to a challenge he has been facing so far.
Also ensure that while you’re sharing all the information with the reader, you do so in a manner that is easily consumable. The average internet users look for quick takeaways, rather than having to read through 100 pages.
4. Make sure it stands out one way or the other
With content marketing riding the high tide, it is almost impossible to find a topic that isn’t written on. So if you’re writing something, you need to make sure it has something to make it stand out – be it the graphics you use, the videos you include or quotes from influencers that first appear on your blog!
Agreed that this isn’t possible all the time, but try to create content pieces that don’t seem like ‘just another post’. For instance, you could use a conversational tone throughout a post that touches upon a topic that has only been written on in a how-to manner. You could also create content that caters to different stages of your audience.
5. Keep it easily shareable on all possible channels
Looking for content virality? Well, in simpler terms, you’re looking for more shares. Be it on social media, mail or on third party websites – it is these shares that will get your content piece to hit a viral point.
To make your content shareable, you need to ensure you have the social sharing buttons easily accessible – the top, bottom and floating bar on the side of the post can do the trick! Another nifty trick is to pre-type a social sharing message so that your readers don’t have to. The easier it is, the more shares you get.
But apart from the usual social sharing buttons, pick out the interesting facts or quotes from your quotes and use tools like Click To Tweet to encourage readers to share those in their circles. You do want to be known for the interesting facts or information you dug out!
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6. Don’t forget on-site retargeting
Yes, you can follow around your website visitors on social media with retargeting campaigns. But what about retargeting them before they leave your website? Have you been leaving that window open?
Don’t forget on-site retargeting and target your leaving visitors with personalized messages that nudge them to convert in some way. Be it following you on social media or subscribing to your newsletter, make them see the value behind doing so before they leave. You have a higher chance of convincing them while they’re still interested!
For example, I am more likely to follow a page on social media right after I have read an interesting post on a topic I follow closely. Well, that’s how Contensify got my a like from me on Facebook.
7. Co-blog and syndicate to spread like wildfire
If you want your content to be discovered, you need to ensure that it is everywhere your audience is possibly active on. Be it Facebook groups, LinkedIn communities, curation platforms like List.ly, Scoop.it, bizsugar and more – become omnipresent, in a very literal sense!
Look for blogging sites in your niche that are open to guest posts. Create a co-blog promoting the main content piece on your site. But ensure that the co-blog you create is as engaging for it be shared more!
You’ll see a lot of influencers following this technique always. And if you can’t find the right sites, there’s always Medium and LinkedIn Pulse to rely on.
To start with, head over to Benjamin Brandall’s blog on Mention to know all about using social bookmarking sites: How to get massive traffic with social bookmarking sites
8. Break it up into different content types
Ever read any of Gary Vaynerchuk’s posts? Now take a look at his social handles and tell me if you see the post shared only as a blog. If you miss it, you’ll probably think he only shared it once or twice, but the truth is the number is much higher than you expect.
You will see most of his posts broken into quotes, gifs, short videos and other content formats that are more likely to be shared. They get shared over time in different formats across his social profiles – captivating his audience every single time.
Quicksprout was nice enough to share a complete guide on content repurposing, that you can find here: Repurposing content.
In simpler words..
Content virality doesn’t just happen. You need to work towards making your content viral!
And here’s a post that will definitely come handy: 6 simple tricks to make your content more actionable.