Creating content that goes viral is the holy grail for marketers. But why do some ideas flop and others spread like wild fire? Follow these steps and improve your ability to make your content viral.
1) Find an interested audience.
For content to become viral, an interested audience must be able to find it. Social media is a great channel for content to get found, but don’t forget that a good SEO optimization of your content and building an audience with other useful content and tools will be a baseline to achieve before you can give your content the best opportunity to go viral. Expand your content’s reach by posting a teaser or a complete version of it on an industry site or searching for relevant articles to comment on that your audience will see and find the content you create relevant. In short, you need to find a targeted audience for your content to flourish.
2) Provide valuable content.
If what your offering isn’t useful, then it won’t be a viral hit. Bring something to the table that your audience values and you’ll cross the minimum bar of getting the content in the hands of someone who might consider sharing it with others who’ll find it useful too. Content must be valued by an audience before it’s shared by it.
3) Allow your content to be easily shared.
Identify how your audience shares content and make it easy for them to share it the way they want to share it. If you want to offer an ebook, slap a creative commons license on it and make it freely available to everyone to share however they want. Consider embedding a hyperlinked share button or link to Twitter that spawns a tweet sharing the e-book in a couple of mouse clicks. Links to social bookmarking sites through tools like ShareThis are an easy way to enable your content to be shared how interested consumers of your content want to share it.
Statistics show that email is still the most popular way people are share things online so don’t forget to include the ability for your audience to share content via email. If your most interested audience includes executives that aren’t as computer happy, make your content easy to print out or requested to be sent by mail. In short, make it easy for people to share your content the way they want to share it.
4) Create relevant and original content.
Nothing inspires someone to share something with others than the spark of inspiration that a novel idea or resource that’s fresh and useful can produce. Recycling a viral hit won’t have the same impact as the original unless you cater to a different audience and put an original spin on it. Create unique, useful content and people will take notice and create buzz about it.
5) Make your content pretty.
The last thing people want to read is a white paper without any formatting. How boring! Spice up your content with a clean layout and eye-catching visuals. For example, use different fonts, colors, text sizes, and call out boxes for the key components of the content. If you can layout content using the landscape view you’ll really open up your options for how the content is presented. A good looking piece of content makes great content even better content and increases the likelihood it will be shared.
6) Embrace social media channels.
Social media platforms like Twitter are designed for content to go viral. This is really where marketing technique can come into play. Ideally, you’ve identified where your audience is and if they are on social media channels, your potential for making content viral will increase tenfold. Tweet about your content and encourage others who liked it to share it through there network. Good content on social media channels spread fast, use them to make your content viral.
7 ) Connect with influencers.
While most internet users are passive readers that aren’t likely to engage or share content with others, influencers will create the word of mouth of your content to help it go viral. The right influencers have the ear of your target audience. If your content is useful to them, their followers in your target audience will liekly follow suit and help spread your content to other interested parties. Develop relationships based on value and influencers can help your content go viral within the circles you covet.
8) Don’t get discouraged, try again and continue to offer new useful content
For every viral content hit, there are hundreds of would be hits that don’t pan out. If there was a tried and true formula to identify pieces of content destined to be viral, that content would likely already exist. That said, if you create enough useful, creative, original pieces of content that are valued by your target audience, you are bound to find a hit that will be well worth your investment in your content creation and delivery. And even if it doesn’t hit, your efforts should help your SEO and increase targeted traffic to your website. Bottomline: Don’t get discouraged, keep creating content and attain viral marketing success!