Viral posts are rare, so in order to get content to go viral, ask yourself - what kind of content goes viral? One of the easiest ways to make the content go viral is through people sharing the content. People share content for different reasons. The Digital Marketing Institute provides insights from BuzzSumo through an analysis of 100 million posts in 2014, to identify the patterns that encouraged the sharing of online content and found out that either:
- The content involves amusement or is humorous
- The content appealed to people’s narcissist side, and people want to seem smart.
- The content was from trusted sources
- There were lists or infographics in the content.
- The content is controversial.
How to Create Viral Content
So, how does someone write content that is more likely to go viral? First and most importantly is to knowing their audience and what makes them tick and staying consistent in delivering relevant content is a good start. Now try incorporating these tips.
Start with the Headline
Use catchy headlines, something that grabs the attention of the reader. Think about that newspaper headline that makes them look at the paper twice, or that movie title that makes them want to catch a preview of it. Most content that was shared was based on a catchy headline, something that stood out.
Content that makes people look smart or feel to be within a certain ‘selected’ category is viral. Any content that makes someone look smart will more likely be shared with their friends, and this makes them look cool.
Capitalize on Social Triggers
What is trending? Triggers are sights, sounds and other stimuli that are related to products and ideas and used by marketers to sell products or ideas. By capitalizing on content with trigger key words, and tagged to respective brands, the content is more likely to be shared.
For example, by having a mother’s day blog tagging the Procter and Gamble Company, or a Christmas season blog tagging a popular telecommunication company or lining the content to specific events for better positioning and marketing. In defining social triggers, Jonah Berger gives an example of NASA landing a rover on Mars, and how this translated into sales for Mars Candy Company during the same period; as people linked the event to the Mars candy company by extension due to the related names.
Content That Evokes High Emotion is More Viral
Positive content goes viral more than negative content, so developing content that has more positivity is more likely to be shared. Positive content uplifts the reader and this makes them want to share the warmth with others. This can be achieved through identifying with a specific emotion to trigger and find out what triggers that specific emotion.
Is it happiness or awe, or something really remarkable that people cannot resist from commenting on? Or anger, getting people so upset that they will take to other social sites to seek justice or vent? Or is it fear or anxiety at losing something? Emotions can be evoked depending on the kind of content shared, as long as the emotions that are evoked get the reader to share the content. Some content reflects on personal and professional experiences and it is more likely to be shared.
Content That is Practical or Useful Will be Shared
The content that people find helpful in achieving certain goals is viral because it is shared a lot. This includes health related articles, or something the reader finds encouraging in achieving bigger goals. Content that gives practical advice or steps to achieve something is viral. When writing this kind of content, identify and state the problem and present solutions for improvement or to address that problem. This includes having action steps to tell people what to do next after reading the article, and what results to expect if they do that.
Interpret Facts in an Unusual Way
Representing a new angle to any information is likely to get the reader to read or listen to something new, something they did not know before. It can be simplifying already existing information, or bringing a different perspective to that information. When doing this, always start from a point of what is known and introduce the new or unknown.
Contrast content is useful to persuade readers or listeners, so content that has lists is ranked among the most shared content in 2016. This is relevant content (includes copy, photographs or video) with a comparison between the two opposites. This makes arguments stronger and more memorable, allowing readers to identify or position themselves. For example, when contrasting personality types, showing certain contrasting behavior that influences decision making.
Content With Reference
People believe content that is verified by those seen as reliable sources on certain topics or information. An expert’s or influencer’s view in certain spaces builds trust in the content and it is more likely to go viral. Additionally, experts have a large following resulting in more opportunities for viral content.
Stimulate the Mind Through Sight
It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. Visual content stimulates the mind and can result in more social shares. It can be used to grab attention to content or to beef up and support content with the above properties.
Don't Give Up!
Conclusively, applying the above ways to any written content is bound to bring out articles or content that is more likely to go viral. Once your content captures the attention of a few people and they share it, there is no telling how far it can go!