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“Viral.”

It’s the holy grail of internet marketing.

If only you could figure out how to get some of your content marketing to go viral, you’d have it made.

If only you could get one piece to go viral it would be a complete game changer.

The wishful thinking ends today.

You may not have realized it, but there is actually a science built around how things go viral on the internet.

A TON of research has been performed and it’s actually pretty easy to understand what makes content go viral.

This is the information you’ve been searching for.

Ready to learn the secrets of success?

What Exactly is Viral Content?

Everyone’s heard of something that has “gone viral.”

But have you ever actually stopped to think about what it means for a piece of content to go viral?

Viral means: “relating to a piece of content that is circulated rapidly and widely from one web user to another.”

The word comes from the medical field.

Viruses have evolved to quickly spread from one person to another and infect as many people as possible. They are devastatingly effective.

That’s exactly why marketers stole the concept of virality for their own use.

Viral content spreads at an incredibly quick rate and is a hugely effective tool for business success.

So what makes content go viral? How can you make sure that every piece of content you create has prime viral potential?

1. Know Your Audience

Content creation should always begin with a deep knowledge of your audience.

It’s the key to knowing that your content will connect and be found valuable.

Who are you creating for?

Ultimately, good content marketing isn’t focused on selling your business. It’s focused on showing your customers how much they would benefit from your services.

While viral content ultimately has to appeal to a massive audience, it has to start somewhere.

If your content doesn’t resonate with its original targeted audience, it’s going nowhere.

No shares. No likes. No profits.

Content has got to build up momentum before going viral, and to do that it must connect with the people interacting with it. Once they start sharing it, you’ve got the potential for virality.

Speaking of sharing…

2. Make it Easy to Share

You find something you love online.

It’s funny and practical and you know your friends will love it.

But in order to share it, you’re required to:

  1. Sign up for an account
  2. Confirm your email
  3. Set up security questions
  4. Paste the link to social media

No way.

Want something to go viral? Put sharing options right on the page.

Lower the barrier and make it as easy as possible.

3. Be happy

Research shows that people are more likely to share content that makes them happy.

Keep the tone of your content positive and uplifting and you’re far more likely to go viral.

Things that are amusing or entertaining get shared far more than angry rants.

There’s a reason for this…

4. “Come Check Me Out”

Jonah Berger, professor and author, has performed research that demonstrates people like to share things that make them look good.

Will this article make me look smarter? Boom, shared.

Will this video show people what a great sense of humor I have? Boom, shared.

This hits on the concept of social capital. We’re all constantly trying to make ourselves look better to peers, coworkers, and strangers.

Sharing valuable content is one way we can shape our online identity and influence people’s understanding of who we are.

5. Use Video and Images

Have you harnessed the power of videos for your content marketing?

Did you know that:

  • 80% of users can recall a video ad they viewed in the last 30 days
  • Enjoyment of video advertising increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%

This case study from Quicksprout.com highlights additional stats about the influence of videos on viewers.

What’s that mean for you?

Create awesome videos that people love and they will:

  • Share them.
  • Remember them.
  • Act on them.

(Translation: You’ll get famous/rich/whatever other results you’re hoping for).

We can help you get started.

6. Write Stellar Headlines

David Ogilvy, copywriting legend, famously noted that five times as many people read the headline instead of reading the body copy.

Fail with your headline and your chances of going viral immediately die.

Good news!

There are a number of easy ways to write headlines that work. Check out this cheat sheet for a helpful approach to writing compelling headlines.

7. Make it Quickly Actionable

People don’t connect with content that is totally theoretical in nature.

If you want to go viral you need to give them content that actually has the potential to change their lives.

Things that they can easily implement and see fruit from.

Rather than shooting for the stars, focus on urging action in bite-sized, doable pieces.

8. Surprise!

With the vast amount of content on the internet (and more being published by the minute), people are used to being barraged by content.

To help your content stand out from the rest try including info your audience will find surprising:

  • Stories with unexpected endings
  • Facts that challenge common knowledge
  • Claims that seem unbelievable (as long as you can back them up!)

Remember, the goal is always to keep them engaged with your content so that they will take whatever action you’re hoping for.

9. Time it Right

Creating quality content is only a step on the road to going viral.

The other important piece is distribution.

How are you going to release your content?

Promote your content? Publish your content?

Your timing has to be perfect, or your precious content might get lost in a sea of mediocrity.

TrackMaven.com conducted extensive research and found that, in general, the ideal day to release new blog content was Sunday.

Posts published on Sundays receive more average shares.

What day should you avoid? Wednesday.

Not only is it hump day, it’s also the most competitive day of the week for releasing content.

10. Promote, promote, promote!

We briefly touched above on the importance of building momentum to going viral.

It turns out that sometimes a piece of content with potential may need a little strategic help.

When you release content that seems especially promising – maybe it starts to take off then begins slowing down – use the many tools available to bring it back to the front of your audience’s mind.

Re-share it on Facebook.

Tweet a link.

Ask an influential blogger in a related field to promote it.

Do whatever you need to do to keep that momentum going.

Go Viral

While there is never any guarantee that a piece of content will go viral, research has shown that viral content consistently nails each of the above tips.

Don’t gamble when it comes to the success of your business.

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