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Want viral content? Follow these steps

While there is no exact recipe for what will go viral online, there are some steps brands can take to improve their odds.

6 min read

Marketing Strategy



Viral content is a dream goal for all marketers. When your content explodes, your business gains visitors and leads in very little time. However, there are many misconceptions about what it takes to get your content to go viral. Why? Because viral posts are outliers—they aren’t the norm. Most content typically receives a small amount of views and a few shares, but then dwindles. However, successful content doesn’t depend on virality. Utilizing professional methods and specific strategies can generate more interest in your content and drive more traffic to your site. By using strong social media tactics, you’ll definitely increase the chances of  your content going viral.

Find a unique angle

Providing your readers with new information increases the chance of your material going viral. Prior to posting your content, it’s crucial to complete a thorough content audit of both your site and your competitors. A content audit ensures that you avoid reposting content similar to that of your competitors. Additionally, youwill also have a better understanding of what keywords will increase your ranking on Google.

It’s also critical to create an engaging voice. Carefully analyze your audience and determine how to best communicate with them. Take Coca-Cola for example. Despite being around for an entire century, the brand has always spoken to its audience in a way that evokes happiness. Whether it’s the joy of family, friends or a holiday, Coke has been fantastic at creating the same thirst-quenching emotions in its audience.

Include visual cues

Studies have shown that content that includes images receives 94% more views than those without. The reason is simple. Visual content is more effective than text. Many users who click on an article, and see a long body of text, do not bother reading the information. They either do not have the time to read through a lengthy article or don’t care to read it.

Splitting up a large body of text with images creates more engaging content. Many studies show that the human brain processes images much faster than text. This information tells us that readers get the information they need much faster when it’s visual. Additionally, individuals are 65% more likely to retain information through images than through text.

The bottom line: your content becomes more compelling and interesting to readers when it is strategically interspersed with images.

Create relatable content

Creating content that resonates with your readers is a difficult, yet critical task to master. Engaging, relatable content is more likely to be socially shared, forwarded and linked to from other sites. Individuals who relate to the information you’re providing are more likely to continue reading until the end. Moreover, relatable content is what sparks conversations and elevates your marketing.

Buzzfeed is one company that excels at this tactic. According to Quantcast, the company succeeds in catching the imagination and attention of their audience through engaging, entertaining and unpredictable content that resonates deeply with their readers. Discussing common, relatable issues with their readers increases the chances of users resonating with the content and sharing it.

Tell a story

One of the most effective ways to communicate a point is through stories. They capture your audience’s attention for a short journey. When content can take a reader/viewer from point A to point B, then you have a robust content marketing tool.

Without a compelling, interesting story, your content is just another piece of content. Additionally, stories have the ability to create an emotional response within your readers. Once this happens, your audience is more likely to take action and/or share the content.

Add the right amount of humor

Humor is infectious. When individuals read or see something funny, they’re inspired to share it with others. In fact, a recent survey showed that 43% of participants said that sharing funny content was important to them. Why? Because when people read or watch something funny, they share it others who might find the content hilarious. Humor creates and strengthens relationships with people.

Using humor in your content can also strengthen your relationship with your audience. IN addition, your readers are more likely to remember something funny days, weeks or even months down the line.

Keep it short

Most viral content is short, which shouldn’t be surprising. Many studies and statistics show that the average person’s attention span is similar to that of a goldfish. In fact, a goldfish often has a longer attention span than a human. Therefore, short content is significantly more effective at holding your reader’s attention. 

Shorter content is especially important in marketing videos. Experts say that the average consumer’s attention span is estimated to be eight seconds. When consumers were asked to watch longer videos, many quickly lost interest. Researchers believe that a preference for bite sized content stems from the desire to quickly view, rate and share content. Making your content scannable with subheadings, bulleted lists and short paragraphs or videos allows your audience to find the information they’re looking for more quickly.

Create a compelling headline

Making a strong first impression on your readers is critical, which is why you need a strong headline. Without a compelling, interesting headline to grab your reader’s attention, they may pass up your content. You want to ensure the title of your post is catchy, benefit-driven and stirs your reader’s curiosity. A simple way to test if your headline is strong is to ask: “Would I click on this?”

When creating your headlines, write one that has a contagious element. Emotionally evocative headlines are more likely to catch a reader’s attention. Why? Because they form connections with your readers.

Make your content useful

Once you’ve gone through the editing process, there’s one more thing you need to do. Go through your article again and determine how your readers will be able to use it. Is the advice you provided going to help them create a better marketing strategy or stronger email campaign? If there’s nothing for your audience to take away, it’s essential to readjust your information.

Show your readers exactly how they can use your content. When your readers start to see results after applying your suggestions, they’ll remember you for it. Once they’ve seen success, they’ll want to share it with their friends, family and co-workers.

While there may not be a perfect recipe for viral content, there are necessary steps to follow. When you have strong headlines, the right amount of humor, useful content and the right angle, your content becomes drastically more engaging. Add these few things to your content, and you’ll be amazed at what happens.


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