make content go viral

Tips and Cheats: 10 ways to make content go viral

With the internet constantly expanding and new people joining the fight for attention every day, finding ways to make content go viral seems like an impossible task. However, it’s not something you can simply forgo because it seems hard.

Unless you have millions to invest in PR and many celebrity fans tweeting about you, content is your best chance at getting your company and brand noticed, not only by social media users, but also by search engine crawlers.

If you’re nailing all the right SEO practices, but finding that your content is still failing to make a splash, follow this top industry advice and watch your content take off.

10 ways you can make content go viral

1. Lists and tips

Before you’ve even clicked on one of these articles, you know it will be easy to consume, something that’s very attractive to people browsing online. This is especially true for articles with a number in the title – you’re not just clicking for one solitary piece of information; in fact, there are 10 or 12 potential ways for this post to give you the secret you’ve been searching for. Oh and a study found that while Buzzfeed has found success with long lists, 10 is actually the magic number.

2. Myth busting

Everyone likes to see a myth busted, so much so that a very successful TV show was built around it. People like to see conventions challenged, especially if it’s something they’ve been following themselves, but have failed to see serious results with. We’re curious creatures, always on the look out for the next life-changing hack. Just make sure you’re debunking commonly held beliefs or practices with solid information rather than making wild claims based purely on your own opinion or limited personal experience.

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3. Longer articles

In order to make content go viral, you need to consider factors other than a catchy headline. A study by BuzzSumo found that articles between 3,000 and 10,000 words get almost double the shares that articles under 1,000 words get. It also showed that for every one article over 3,000 words, there were 16 under the 1,000 count, which gives you a great opportunity to shine. You don’t have to do it every day, but at least once a month, put in the time and effort required to create an in-depth, well-researched article packed with insights.

4. Having influencers on board

Having just one social media influencer share your post can get you 32% more shares, three can double your number and five can quadruple it. Create a post around influencers or get them involved in a piece you’re doing, even if it’s just a quick quote or using them as an example of how to do something right. And don’t forget to tag them…

5. Feed their egos

We’re a narcissistic bunch when it comes right down to it. Offering your audience the chance to find something out about themselves or have their abilities rated can really boost your viral chances. Use a free online quiz maker to create a relevant questionnaire your readers can have some fun with. If you feel it’s too frivolous as a stand-alone for your brand, simply base a larger article around it and you have a great way to make content go viral.

6. Consider emotions

While an article of tips can be useful, making your audience feel something is a great technique to ensure your content goes viral. In 2014, the top 10,000 most shared articles across the web were analysed and the findings showed that emotion was a powerful tool in content creation. Out of those 10,000 successful articles;

  • 25% inspired awe;
  • 17% caused laughter;
  • 15% were amusing or entertaining;
  • 14% gave readers joy.

On the other end of the scale was anger (6%), surprise (2%) and sadness (1%), showing that a positive attitude is the way to go.

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7. Pictures say 1,000 words

Well, maybe not 1,000, but they can definitely help your content go viral. Posts on Twitter and Facebook with a visual thumbnail or image were over two-times more likely to go viral than those without. Your headline is always important, but images can really grab attention on an endless social media newsfeed.

8. Include animals and babies

They may not exactly fit in with your brand, but content concerning cute babies or pets makes for a seriously shareable post. In fact, science and tech blog, Gizmodo’s most shared article in 2015 was This Site Will Make A Stuffed Animal Clone Of Your Pet and racked up over 683,000 shares. If they can do it, so can you.

9. Court controversy

We’re not saying you should make outlandish or offensive claims (a la Donald Trump) to garner some extra attention, but a little bit of controversy can go a long way when you want to make content go viral. It can be as simple as turning a general opinion about a topic on its head and having a headline that really pulls people in or taking a stance on an oft-debated issue (Jaffa Cake – Biscuit or Cake?). Just remember to make it relevant to your brand.

10. Protecting the public

Everyone wants to be aware of potential threats or bad practices that could jeopardise their business, health, etc. Public service warnings have great potential to go viral, provided they are timely. Keep an eye on industry news and developments or even put your own experience to good use and your audience will reward you for it.

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