How to Create Viral Content for your Digital Marketing
If you’re a blogger or a content creator for social networks or marketing, this may be the information that you’ve been looking for.
Get ready to challenge the status quo and learn to create the right kind of valuable content, so that you’ll no longer struggle to generate traffic to your blog, but will instead be concerned about monetizing the traffic and making your marketing campaigns a success.
Just like Zimmerman did for Gawker, including an article that drew almost 11 million views in 7 months, you can make great content happen for your blog. Of course, it won’t happen overnight – but with consistency, you’ll see results.
Introduction to Creating Viral Content
The word “viral” means “relating to a piece of content that is circulated rapidly and widely from one web user to another.” In other words, you want to create great content that’s intended to be shared across social networks and spread – like a virus.
If that’s the case, then to achieve virality, you have to carefully craft your content creator strategy and execute with attention to the details. To a large extent, the quality of the work that you do will determine how far your content gets shared.
So, you need to learn how to create content types that have the possibility of going viral. A lot of factors have to come together, but one of the biggest challenges for many content marketers is the need for a shift in mindset towards valuable content.
Looking at the anatomy of viral content, you have to keep in mind that the content itself must be worthy of being shared. It has to solve a particular problem, enhance your reader’s life or make something better. If it doesn’t do any of these, no one will share it with their social network.
Academic Research Studies on Virality
In 350 B.C., Aristotle began a work designed to discover what makes great content—and particularly a speech, which was his primary content medium, memorable and persuasive. He wanted to know what made people want to pass the idea/message to others and create a kind of chain reaction. Today, this could be the equivalent of a click to tweet and share with your social network.
He specified three main principles: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. At the end of his brief analysis, he concluded that great content should be impactiful. Specifically, it should:
- possess ethical appeal (ethos)
- appeal to the emotions (pathos)
- contain justifiable and logical appeal (logos)
The most important factors that they suggest will make content go viral and spread like wildfire across social networks:
- Evoke emotion:
Content that evokes an emotional reaction is more likely to go viral. Such emotions include awe, wonder, anxiety, sadness, and humor. This is where the mediums of video content or visual content work so well, yet other content types like well-written thought pieces or clever list posts can also bring worth and wonder to social media platforms.
- Positive message:
While great content may be shared for many reasons, the pieces of content that stimulate positive feelings tend to perform better than those that stimulate negative feelings, boasting a higher click to tweet rate.
Practically useful content: After collecting information about the content on the Times home page (i.e., author’s fame, content release timing, writing complexity, author’s gender and length) to determine what factors were most often found in great content that went viral, the researchers concluded that content that is useful in a practical way has a high chance of going viral. This may mean adapting your digital marketing campaign in a way that puts valuable content first.
When it comes to visual content and images that get shared the most, a research experiment by BufferApp found that viral images trigger surprise. This indicates that one of the key things that make images go viral is an element of surprise.before people share your great content, they make a quick assessment of what’s in it for them.
It may not be obvious to you, because it’s an internal self-evaluation – but it means a lot to them, and in the end, it means a lot to your digital marketing strategy.
To help you fully understand the science behind why some content types catch on, here’s a diagram of Berger’s “Six STEPPS” to virality:
As anyone on Facebook can tell you, quizzes and surveys are a quick route to virality and have a high click to tweet turnover. As a content creator, you can look for similar ways to get the reader involved.
Effective great content that goes viral is a two-way street. You spend time creating the content, then make it easier for people to read it, benefit from it, take notes about it and easily share it on their social network.
- Gathering data to launch a viral idea:
Getting your content to go viral requires planning. This is the same thing as developing a content plan that you can fall back on. You need a documented strategy.
Your plan is like a funnel that ensures a constant flow of the right site visitors and leads.
But, many B2B marketers don’t take the time to document their own strategy when it comes to social media marketing, great content creation, and search engine hierarchy – that’s why they often fail to replicate earlier successes.
Some sites seem to intuitively understand what causes a piece of content to go viral. And, they keep reaping the rewards. But, content creators and media marketing experts can also learn from them.
4.Know your purpose:
Why do you want your content to go viral? Is it just for the traffic, the search engine, the click to tweet rates, or the page views? If so, then you’re looking at the wrong metrics.
When your content goes viral, you can leverage that opportunity to funnel qualified customers to your business. This is exactly why you need a written strategic plan to help you achieve your goal.
The moment you’re clear on your purpose, it enables you to locate sources for the kind of data that you need. For example, if you want to acquire more clients who want to grow their business revenue, you have to locate authoritative business websites and extract data from them.
You could simply go to Google and type in these search strings:
Business growth statistics + blog
Case study + business + statistics + revenue
Business revenue growth + data
The screenshot below shows results related to “business revenue statistics.” These are all business blogs as well, so you can generally trust the data that they provide.
Remember that when creating your content, you’ll be referencing other businesses and how they increased their revenue. That’s the purpose of gathering this data.
After clicking one of the search engine results, here are viable data points that I can use to create great content. I know that the target audience will benefit from it and therefore will likely contact me.
Regardless of whether your business is B2C or B2B, you can always reference other companies’ business revenue data when creating your content.
If you study some articles that have gone viral on social networks, you’ll notice that the authors often use a lot of data. Here’s an example from a recent post that generated almost 500,000 views in just 3 days.
When you’re writing your content, use numbers, data, statistics, and quotes from other people to upgrade your content and make it more trustworthy.
Viral Marketing Tools
According to Chron , “marketing is about measurement.” Whether you’re online or offline, you need a way to connect with your target audience. A tool helps with that. With a viral marketing campaign tool, you save more time and earn more.
Tools make our lives easier. Think back to just three decades ago, when there were no mobile phones or email. It would take days or weeks for your letter to get to its intended recipient. But today, with your phone, you can call someone on another continent or transmit your message immediately via email.
In the same way, content marketing tools give you a competitive advantage over marketers who work without them. You can double your search traffic, generate more leads, and automate your sales process with the right tools.
When it comes to writing great content that has the potential to go viral, you also need tools. In fact, I’d bet that most of the viral content that you see everywhere makes use of some kind of automation tool or tools.
These days, there is just no scalable way to do it all yourself. Even the keyword research we do requires a tool – otherwise, it’d be a total waste of time.
The more tools an organization learns how to use and actually uses, the more its revenue, customer service, and decision-making can improve.
If you have the right tool to automate your processes, you can spend more time on the things that you enjoy and have to do personally, such as networking with other people and speaking at events, while your automated systems take care of acquisition, nurturing and selling to customers. This is a very organic form of content promotion and will boost your social networks and search engine results.
Brian Dean increased his email subscriptions by 785% because he used a strategy called a “content upgrade,” which was powered by Leadbox. Leadbox is a non-disruptive email opt-in box that was developed by Clay Collins, founder of Leadpages.net.
Now that we know why it’s important to start using tools to create viral content, let’s look at some of those tools:
LinkTrackr: This tool enables you to put the science back in marketing. With LinkTrackr, you’ll know exactly where your links are, what is working and how many clicks you’re getting, as your content gets spread all over the web. Most marketers can’t pinpoint how far their links have been shared. But, with this tool, it’s a lot easier.
Officially used to cloak and track affiliate links, LinkTrackr is now being used by smart marketers to track content campaigns, ad campaigns including native ads and everything in-between.
After all, we do email outreach all of the time and sometimes we ask for links. How do you know who accepted your link and where they placed it?
Additionally, an incorrectly placed link with an overly-optimized anchor text could get you penalized. So, tracking everything is important.
This is why blogging experts and internet marketing professionals, including John Chow , Mike Filsaime , and Armand Morin , use LinkTrackr to stay on top of links, clicks, reach and conversion.
ii). Tumblr: Tumblr is a power social tool that you can use to get your content spread widely.
Tumblr is a hybrid platform that combines the power of content marketing (e.g., blogging) and social networking. It has a rabid fanbase with a passion for sharing useful content, especially the kind that’s funny, awe-inspiring and positive.
You can put any kind of great content in Tumblr – text, photo, link, chat, audio, visual content, and so on. This means that you’re not limited in what you can promote, providing it’ll bring a level of satisfaction to your followers.
As a content marketer, you can use Tumblr to give your blog post a boost – and initiate a viral campaign that may spread like wildfire. The bottom line is to create an epic piece of content that people will enjoy reading and will let others know about.
OpenLinkProfiler: This tool helps you conduct competitive analysis. You can dig into a blog or site that usually generates viral traffic and find out exactly how many links the web page has generated and from which sites.
Doing this alone can help you discover amazing ideas to help make your content successful.
Just the same way spying on competitors’ keywords can help you target the right keywords that are easy to rank for, checking where viral content has been syndicated helps guard against failure. At a minimum, it’ll help you figure out, ahead of time, where your focus should be.
On the homepage, plug in the site URL and click the green button.
TrendSpottr: This tool keeps you updated on the latest happenings around the web for a given topic, keyword or industry. Jonah Berger, in his academic research, also pointed out that the timing of great content contributed to its virality.
Measure the Virality of Your Content
In marketing, you always have to measure your campaigns. For example, if you run a Facebook ad, you’ve got to track clicks, impressions, conversion rate and other metrics. The same can be said for your twitter account – you need to track your click to tweets.
In the same way, you have to track general marketing metrics. Let’s say 1,000 visitors joined your list and went into your sales marketing funnel. You need to track how many of those visitors turn into leads and how many eventually purchase your product.
The truth is that your content delivery funnel will be much wider when your content eventually goes viral. You’ll be generating visitors from several blogs, social network sites, news sites, educational sites, and others.
Specifically, you’ll want to measure the number of visitors to your site, the generated leads and all social mentions.
Personally, I’ve seen that it’s very difficult for a beginner with no social network, social influence, no influential people on board, or authority to create great content to go viral. Even if the content is superb and in-demand, it’ll drown in oblivion, if the right people don’t see it.
So, start by building authority. Start by creating top-notch content that will attract the attention of influential people in your industry. Better yet, create ego-bait content and mention the top experts in your industry. Link to them. Promote them as much as you can and ask nothing in return. A time will come when the generosity will be reciprocated.
We all know the power and rewards attached to viral content especially when attracting potential customers. You may fail several times before you succeed.
Driving 2,500 visitors per day or 20,000 visitors per month to your site isn’t an impossible dream – it’s doable. I’ve shown you the proof above.
Of course, you can get that kind of traffic without having any of your posts go viral if you have a meaningful content marketing strategy. But, if you can nail the kind of content that keeps people coming back, because of the quality and how much of your heart you poured into creating it, it’s much easier to reach those goals.
Don’t forget the science behind what makes content go viral. As documented by Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman, you’ve got to create content that stimulates positive feelings more than negative ones.
Also, content that evokes high-arousal emotions will likely go viral, when the other virality factors are likewise present. Above all, make your content useful, practical, and interesting and, if you can, add a dose of humor – because laughter is medicine for the soul.
Do you know any other secrets behind creating viral content? Have you tried it before?