Most everyone in digital marketing has either heard or uttered these four words: “Make it go viral!” But as we all know, there is no guaranteed formula for creating viral content. The good news is that there are tried-and-true ways to increase the odds that it will spread like wildfire.
We ran across a fantastic infographic last week with some great thinking on viral content from the folks at WhoIsHostingThis and just had to share. Follow the ideas in the below infographic and you just might have a hit on your hands!
5 Ways to Increase Viral Content Odds
#1: Emotionally Connect With Your Audience
People crave that human connection: When people experience positive emotions, it makes it much more likely that they will pass on the information. Sharing also provides people a boost in their lives, fires up their own social connections, and tends to lessen negative feelings about the world. Conversely, readers tend to click on content based on how fast they get that emotional kick, how high their interest level is, and the length of the content.
#2: Make Content Share-Worthy
Does your content strike a chord with your readers and pass the “STEPPS” test? Think about these “STEPPS” as a formula that can lead to virality: Social Currency (we want to look good to our network); Triggers (something memorable and easy to access) Emotion (when we care about something, we naturally want to share it); Public (when others are sharing the same thing, we’re more likely to share it ourselves); Practice Value (actionable advice or news that our readers can use); Stories (people love and share personal narratives). Make sure your content development process goes through these “stepps” every time.
#3: There is a Time (and Place) for Everything
Get key metrics on your target audience: For instance, the time of year that you typically get the most shares; days of the week that tend to be the most active; and the time of day is the most share-worthy (including time zones). Use this data to assess when to push your content, and revisit the data when you repackage and reshare content in the future.
#4: Have Killer Design
Your content graphics might stop someone in their tracks, but if the design is poorly executed, it won’t get shared. Where you put elements on the page is just as important as what you communicate. Create guideposts for readers by using different sizes and fonts to help them navigate the most important elements. We know that color influences emotion—use the color wheel strategically to reflect how you want your readers to feel… Happy? Excited? Luxurious? Dangerous?
#5: Get the Right Distribution
They say content is king, but distribution is queen. A multi-tiered approach works best: In addition to sharing on your regular social networks and with colleagues and friends, share the content to social influencers who can connect you to a broader audience; sprinkle in distribution onto social networks you wouldn’t normally use. Instead of just YouTube, for instance, include Vimeo or Blip.tv. And if you’ve got the budget, pay to promote your content on Facebook or Twitter to reach a broader audience and increase visibility.
Getting your content to go viral is not a pipe dream. It can become reality if you take the time to plan it well…and oh yeah, have a little bit of luck.