Everyone loves the idea of creating viral content that is shared all over the world. From boosting sales to becoming a celebrity of sorts, creating that one perfect piece of content that everyone sees is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Unfortunately, not everything can reach such levels of popularity.
And not for the lack of trying, either.
Unfortunately, creating something that has potential to become viral is quite subjective. It relies on a lot of factors beyond simply creating a post you thought was perfect. Although you may use tips to quickly boost social engagement, the actual content still is up to you to create.
After scouring the Internet, here are 21 proven ways I’ve found that can help you make amazing viral content. While there is no guarantee that you’ll reach Grumpy Cat status, it doesn’t hurt to try. And it all starts with using your web hosting as a base of operations.
1. Create Quality Content
First and foremost, always concentrate on writing quality content. Even if your posts don’t go viral, quality will still improve the amount of traffic you receive. This is especially true when considering how much stock sites like Google and Bing put into quality.
So, what can you do to improve the effectiveness of your piece? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use good grammar and spelling.
- Stay away from excessively long sentences and paragraphs.
- Try not to use extremely large words.
- Don’t fill the piece with “fluff” or other useless information.
2. Invoke Positive Emotions
Emotional content is three times more likely to be top-performing. Everything from anger to love can prove to out-perform pieces that are void of emotional context.
One of the best ways to kick start viral content marketing is to invoke positive emotions. This is when you create a post that has the sole purpose of making someone feel good about something. Why do you think people are in such awe when it comes to animal or children videos?
Love, happiness, joy and enthusiasm can go a long way when it comes to the most shared content on the Internet.
3. Offer a Bit of Entertainment
Increasing the entertainment value is another excellent method of going viral. For example, videos, memes and posts that make people laugh often are shared by others in the thousands. In fact, you probably read or saw something humorous in your Facebook or Twitter feed this morning.
The trick is to make sure your level of entertainment is well-accepted by the target audience. Some material just may not go over well with various people. There’s a reason why not everyone likes the same comedians.
4. Keep it Simple and Succinct
Keeping information simple and easy to absorb is a key element in content marketing strategies. Like I mentioned earlier, you want to stay away from filling the post with information that is not related to the topic. However, it goes a bit deeper than that.
The content you’re creating needs to get to the point quickly because many people are similar to goldfish. You want to keep their attention focused without their eyes wondering to what else is on the webpage.
5. Create Engaging Headlines
Headlines are vastly important when it comes to engaging an audience. This is true whether you’re simply creating a blog post or sharing something on social media. Luckily, tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can be of great help in that regard.
Headlines should be thought-provoking while piquing the interest of the reader. Using things like power, emotional and key words often improves how people share the content. This takes a bit of practice to master, but is worth the time if you’re able to do so.
6. Create Lists of Information
Lists are among the top elements that are shared across the Internet. After all, you’re reading this one right now because you were interested in ways to make your content viral. Even if this post doesn’t spread across social media like some kind of digital wildfire, it’s still a good piece of evergreen content for the site.
Creating lists is an effective way to engage readers. It denotes collecting a wide assortment of methods for a particular topic. This makes people feel empowered as they learn something new.
7. Find the Content Length “Sweet Spot”
On average, posts with more than 2,000 words are shard almost twice as often as those with less than 1,000 in the business-to-business dynamic.
Finding that perfect length for a viral post requires a bit of trial and error. I know that some experts believe that posts with more than 3,000 words are the ideal length. However, I’ve seen top performing pieces with less than 1,500. The trick is to find that sweet spot for yourself.
Here are a few things that will affect that perfect length for content:
- Industry or topic of the content.
- Target audience.
- Quality of the content.
- Amount of valuable data in the piece.
If you’re looking for a tool to help develop that perfect piece, Readable.io is a great resource. It will break down your content and show all kinds of stats surrounding it, including length.
8. Constantly Engage the Audience
Writing headlines and stunning content is only part of engaging the audience. If someone leaves a comment on a post, make sure to respond. Even if the comment is negative, you want to show the world that you are approachable.
Connecting with the audience boosts the reputation of your brand. Addressing things like praises or negative backlash will directly affect how others view the content. It will also affect a person’s willingness to share or not.
9. Repurpose Older Content
Just because something didn’t go viral before doesn’t mean it won’t now. In fact, a lot of experts in content marketing strategies repurpose old content by sharing it again on social media. As long as the piece is evergreen, meaning it will always be relevant through the passage of time, it can easily be shared again.
All it takes is the right person to see the post to get the ball rolling. That one individual probably didn’t see the post before and may do so today.
10. Add Images to Posts
Imagery is an extremely effective way to help increase the chance of a post going viral. This is because it plays such an integral role in engagement online. Think about it. How often do you think those Facebook memes get shared before you see it for yourself?
Humans are a visual species, and the perfect picture can easily invoke almost any target emotion. Mix with the right text format and, bam, instant viral content. A lot of these high-quality photos can be found for free on the Internet.
11. Use Sharing Plugins for Social Media
Approximately 92 percent of content marketers share material on social media. As most people have a social profile of some kind online, the method is valid for reaching a wide audience.
Of course, creating that perfect piece of content means nothing if you don’t make it easy to share. This is why most websites today have some kind of social sharing buttons on the page. People are more likely to spread the word of your content if you make it easy for them.
This is an ultra-easy process to do, especially if you use content management systems. Tools like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have additions available that make social sharing buttons easy to set up within minutes.
For instance, the AccessPress Social Share plugin for WordPress is a great tool to use. The free version comes with a handful of themes for your buttons and it has a variety of settings for even more customization.
12. Mention People In Posts
Mentioning people in posts, whether on the site or on social media, is great for getting their attention. Should they appreciate or enjoy the piece, the individual can share it with his or her own followers. This is especially useful when targeting the top influencers within your industry.
Those who demonstrate a great deal of influence within any particular area can easily prompt something to become a viral hit. However, you still need to create an amazing piece of content. These influential people aren’t going to share just anything that mentions them by name.
13. Offer More Facts and Cite Sources
People love the idea of feeling informed. This is why many people will take to Google to resolve an argument. Producing facts and citing authoritative sources demonstrates your own authority in the topic. As a result, your reputation increases.
This is another one of those things that goes beyond creating viral content, though. It also contributes to how well a post performs in search engines. It may not sweep through social media like a virus, but it will definitely increase visibility in sites like Google.
14. Understand Your Target Audience
Understanding the target audience is another mantra in content marketing strategies. This is why so much effort is put into discovering demographics regarding industries and content. Knowing who you are writing for leads to more engaging material.
Understanding the audience can be included when looking for good content marketing tips. After all, there is more at stake than just creating viral content.
It’s all about creating content that resonates within the masses. In order for that to work, you need to know what exactly the masses are looking for. This means you need to spend a bit of time studying who follows your accounts and what people like about your content.
15. Create Guides and Other Practical Pieces
As many as 46 percent of people state that research reports are the most effective types of content. This is often because of the factual data that is related to the piece and how it helps others learn.
Practical information and guides are among some of the most shared pieces of content on the Internet. They are also among the most sought after in search engines. This is because people love to learn how to “do it themselves.” This is especially valuable as viral content if you can save people money in the process.
A lot of people experience a great deal of success just by adding the words, “How to” before the article. Of course, you also want to fill it with valid information if you want to go viral.
16. Publish During Peak Hours
An easy method to get started with getting the attention of the masses is knowing when to publish. Every industry has a peak time in which most of the audience is willing to share content. This often takes a bit of data analyzing to see when people are actually sharing your work.
On the up side, most sharing platforms have tools available to show these “golden” times. For instance, Buffer takes all of your interactions on social media and gives you a break down of when people are mostly likely to interact with your post.
17. Develop More Infographics
Many people are turning towards the visualization part of the viral spectrum. Infographics have grown exceptionally popular over the years and are three times more likely to be shared. Not only are most of these graphics fueled by legitimate data, but they can also be pleasant to look at.
The best part is that you don’t need to be a graphic designer to create one. Sites like Canva can do a lot of the design work for you.
18. Follow the Trends
Keeping your thumb on the pulse of trends helps get your content in front of people as things develop. For example, fitness peaks at the beginning of January as people look for ways to get into shape for the new year.
Unfortunately, you need to be quick on the draw when it comes to some. What is trending right now might not be tomorrow.
One tool I find useful for getting a bit of insight is Google Trends. You can break down keywords by location and see what people are currently searching for the most.
19. Include a Call to Action
A good call to action is an excellent way to get people to share your content. You see these all the time on well-developed landing pages as buttons or links ask people to “act now” or “click here to get one.” This same process is usable when getting people to “share” or “comment.”
People often respond to a call to action, which is why they are so heavily used. Whether it’s at the end of a video on YouTube or a question at the end of a “How to” article, its focus is about prompting the audience to act.
20. Claim It
Posts that have by lines or author bios are often some of the most shared content. Part of this is because of the recognition regarding specific experts. It also demonstrates an individual’s expertise while putting a name and face to the material.
Think of it this way, would you trust a recipe from a faceless corporation over that of world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck?
21. Analyze Data of All Your Posts
If you want to boost your chances of creating viral content, you need to go over your data with a fine-toothed comb. How people interact with your website, industry and social posts will help develop a strategy for engaging them further.
For instance, I go through Google Analytics regularly to find what pieces of content readers find the most appealing. This helps me plan a new strategy for the next post so that I may duplicate or improve that success. Never underestimate the value of good data.
Don’t Try too Hard…
One of the worst things you can do when trying to create a viral post is force it. Trying too hard often leads to problems and may have the opposite effect. However, the methods above have helped many people develop the most shared content on various platforms. See how you can modify your own content marketing strategies and create something that everyone wants to see.