Many people believe they can throw something together without much thought and expect it to go viral, but that's not how it works. You need a carefully planned strategy if you want your content to be shared by thousands of people – and even then, there's no guarantee that it will work out for you.
Testing and learning what works and what doesn’t is key to having content that goes viral. Being in the right place at the right time also helps. With that said, there are some sure-fire tips that you can base your content around in order to increase the odds of it going viral.
In this article, we'll share these top tips for creating content that will get shared by many. Follow them, and you'll be well on your way to reaching a much wider audience than ever before. Let's get right into it.
What is a viral campaign?
A viral campaign is a public relations or marketing technique to raise brand awareness or create a memorable experience using peer-to-peer influence. It is word of mouth delivered and enhanced by virtue of social media channels. Keep in mind that in this day and age, there are various ways to use internet marketing to get something to go viral - it's not just limited to social media.
A viral campaign generally aims to increase sales, build a community, promote a new service, or raise brand awareness. In other words, a viral post can be a potent tool in the marketing industry. But, as we said earlier, going viral isn't an easy thing to do - unless you set it up correctly.
Tips to creating content that goes viral
The following tips will help your content go viral. Note that the below are not being listed in any particular order.
Content that is not controversial enough will never go viral. It would help if you found a hot topic to spark the interest of the majority of your target audience and stir up some profound emotions in them. This can be done by discussing social issues, politics, sex, and even religion. Content that is not controversial has no chance of going viral.
Polarity is a word that you should keep in mind when planning out your content. You need to find a topic that is polarizing enough to make people love it or hate it. This will make them want to share the article with their family and friends, generating a ton of targeted traffic for your website.
The types of blogs that make the most money almost always talk about polarizing topics. Social networks and controversy are by no means strangers. Who could forget the "Ice Bucket Challenge" that led to a massive spike in views, shares, and awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)? It's probably too late to cash in on that trend, but you certainly don't want to miss out on future opportunities to be controversial.
Visuals will always make things more interesting
Visuals are much more interesting than text alone. You can spice up your article by adding at least one image (more if possible) related to the topic you're creating content about. For example, if you are talking about losing weight, adding in before and after pictures will make it much more visually appealing. Visuals are always a great way of grabbing someone's attention.
On top of that, adding visuals to your content is proven to increase engagement rates. We suggest using tools like Canva to design some perfect-looking images for your blog posts. This way, you can stay within budget (Canva is free) and at the same time attract a lot of attention from new visitors on social media.
If you are still in the process of choosing a niche for your blog, ensure that you choose something where creating visuals is easy and cheap. For example, if you are writing about sports or fashion, it won't be too hard to find images related to your articles or create new ones yourself.
Sooner than later, people will start sharing these images on social media, and that's when you can take advantage of the viral effect.
Master the art of storytelling
People love reading stories. It helps them escape into another world and forget about their own lives for a few minutes. If you manage to tell an exciting story in your article, then there is a good chance that it will go viral.
People are naturally fascinated by stories. They love reading about them, watching them, and listening to them. This is why most books, TV shows, and movies with a good story do so well. Knowing how to tell a good story will help you build your brand online because most people will want to read your content.
When it comes to creating viral content, storytelling is one of the many practical tools you can use. Do not be afraid to get creative with your content - make sure that it is interesting enough for visitors to get hooked onto.
Social media marketing and storytelling go hand in hand because stories are among the most shared type of content on these platforms.
Establish a common enemy and “throw rocks at them” every chance you get
One of the ways of creating content that goes viral online is by sharing a common enemy with your readers. If you can do this successfully, people will share your article because it's something they believe in.
You need to find an existing problem or create one of your own and make sure that you are throwing rocks at the right people/concepts every chance you get.
To expand on this further, enemies are one of the factors that define us as humans. We all have them, and now is the time for you to establish yours online when creating content.
Once you find the enemies of your target audience, then portray yourself as being on their side. This way, visitors will come flocking into your community because not only do they have something in common with everyone else - they also hate the same thing.
This doesn't have to be anything manipulative. For example, if you discuss dieting in your online blog, your common enemy can be high saturated fats or even a specific kind of diet that goes against what you believe in.
Building a community around your common enemy is one of the easiest and most effective ways to go viral with your content.
Increase the know/like/trust factor with your audience
Having people establish a relationship with you (and your online blog) starts with getting them to know, like, and trust you more than anyone else in your niche. This is essential if you want your visitors to share your content online. You can do this through effective branding and content marketing strategies.
Giving people more valuable knowledge than they had before increases the trust factor. Sharing something personal about yourself increases the know factor. Sharing something that they have in common with you increases the like factor. Think of ways how you can incorporate this in your content marketing.
If you manage this well enough, people are more likely to think that your blog is one of their most trusted sources for catching up on the latest news in your niche. In addition, this means that your content is worthy of being shared with others, which increases the likelihood of it going viral.
Increase social proof
If you're still struggling to go viral, then one thing that you need to focus on building is social proof. This can be done through effective branding and promotional strategies. Essentially, the number of likes and shares that your content gets will increase its social value exponentially.
Here's an example of how it works: say someone sees a Facebook post where thousands of people have shared it - they'll be more likely to share it too if they can. This is because other people have already built social proof for them, and this has the same effect as the herd mentality.
Increase your social proof by asking your readers to share an article that they liked, to subscribe to your YouTube channel if they found a video useful, etc. You get the idea.
Also, add social sharing buttons on your blog posts and strategically place them near the end of the page. This is where the people that are the most interested in your content will be found so it makes sense to make sharing easy for them.
Hook your readers from the very first headline they read - and each word after that
Did you know that the headline might be the most important part of any blog post? This is what your audience will see when they come to your blog and are considering consuming any type of content.
If they don't like what they're reading, then there's a good chance they'll leave immediately. However, if you can get them to read the headline, click through to your article and start reading an introduction that has a great hook, then there is a much higher chance of them finishing an article and having your content going viral.
To increase your chances of doing this right, make sure that each headline you write hooks readers. This means that each title has to lead the reader in enough so that they want to read more than just the headlines themselves.After creating a great headline, think about the body content. The more high-impact you can make your content right from the beginning, the better. Make sure that each headline and section has a clear and concise message, and remember: if it doesn't hook people in straight away, then they'll be gone before you know it.
Quality comes before quantity when creating viral content.
No matter the number of clicks, likes, and shares your content gets, it won't do anything unless you deliver quality content. If you don't make sure that your articles are up to par with all industry standards and practices, then there is a good chance that readers will not like what you're offering. If they don't like it, then they'll most likely leave.
That's why we stress on delivering high-quality content every single time your audience visits your blog for more information.
Make sure that the information has been researched well enough to not sound biased or ill-informed. Show them how much effort you've put into making your content by sharing as much information about your topic as possible.
This is known as earning 'social capital .' It is essentially a massive boost in marketing your brand and whatever products and services you're offering. If you can do this, then the chances are that not only will you have more readers wanting to come back for more - but they'll also share your content with other people in their network.
This happens just based on the fact that they trust what you're saying.
Ensure the content you create is topical
Using a website like BuzzSumo will allow you to find topical content easily. Creating content around stuff that people are talking about on social media platforms will help boost your chances of getting more likes, shares, and comments. It's all about adding value to the conversation that people are already having - so why not be a great part of it?
Succeeding in digital marketing and increasing brand awareness around topics that aren't popular is challenging and difficult. If you can create content based on what people want and need, then there is a much higher chance of these people getting to know who you are and what you're offering - all while sharing your content in the process.
Search engines are also keen on sites that provide the most unique and accurate content - this is why it's essential to make sure that your posts always keep people interested. Make sure you don't regurgitate information from another page or website but create unique and original content around topics that'll spark interest in readers.
Focus on evoking the right emotions within your audience
Evoking an emotional response in your marketing campaigns can be a hard thing to do. However, suppose you can create content that evokes the right emotions in your market demographic. In that case, there is a much higher chance of them sharing your articles with others looking for this information.
The best way to go about doing this is by using different forms of media and emotions. Whether it's images or videos, a compelling headline, or by creating valuable content that's rich in value or that makes people feel some type of emotion, you will be able to get your content shared more often by people browsing through it.
Most people want to be entertained while they are on the internet. By evoking different types of emotions, you are giving people exactly what they are looking for.
Content that is specific to your audience will make it more viral
Viral marketing that's also specific to an audience contains a lot more relevant information to the reader. When you provide them with content that'll be useful to them in their day-to-day lives, it's much more likely that they will share this content with others looking for the same type of content.
Producing content around your audience’s interest means creating custom solutions to meet your readers' wants and needs. This means providing content that is rich in value, accurate, original, engaging, exciting, and educational.
Creating specific marketing campaigns can help you stand out among competitors online who are all going after the same market demographic as you. Being able to stand out from other people in your industry will help you create a brand identity that will help you squeeze more juice for the content you produce.
In turn, gaining the trust of those who are reading about your products and services can make viral marketing campaigns successful, as people are willing to talk about it more if they believe in what the message is saying.
How To Create Viral Content - FAQ
There is no definite answer to this question because it would be very different depending on which platform or website you are talking about. It's hard to give an accurate number across all platforms.
The amount of views needed to go viral on YouTube are much different than the amount of shares you’ll need on a blog post so the answer all depends on the platform, the niche and several other variables.
The formula to keep in mind is Viral Content = Controversy + Emotion. This formula might sound super simple but it’s tough to crack the code than it looks. If you are looking for clues on how to create viral content, go check out BuzzFeed. They have mastered the art of creating viral content
Everything they post establishes some controversy or stirs up some emotion. In turn, people that consume this content have an opinion about it and want to share this content with others on their network. This is how posts go viral.
Viral videos are the most fun to watch, but they are also the most complex content to create. If you have no experience with video or filmmaking, it might be more challenging for you to create a viral video since there are various steps involved.
You still need to keep in mind the above-mentioned points when creating a video that you hope will go viral. Having great storytelling, addressing a controversial topic, and establishing a common enemy are the three top things to consider if virality is your goal with your video.
It is essential to understand that social networks are different, so what works on one network might not work on another.
Understanding why people hang out on a particular social network will help you create content that people want to share.
Some networks are all about sharing information, some are about engaging in a conversation, and others are used primarily for entertainment. I would recommend going out there and looking at the different social network sites (from a research point of view) to see why people go there and what kind of content gets shared most often.
In conclusion, making content go viral is part art, part science.
The best thing you can do is understand the different viral content ingredients and identify them when they pop up in front of you. Then it's just a matter of creating your mix which has elements from past successful content and adding your own twist to make it go viral.
Being aware of what others are posting is key. Keep your eyes open and test different ideas you have till you get the combination just right.
Finally, it’s important not to give up if your first piece of content doesn’t get the virality that you’re looking for - it takes testing and tweaking to get viral content that people love sharing.