How to Go Viral – The User’s Guide

There was a time when ‘viral’ was anything but a positive term but in today’s digital marketing world, creating a viral phenomenon is the equivalent of the marketing holy grail and the genesis of unlimited cool points.

But how exactly do you make content go viral?

This week I found some great tips from Entrepreneur magazine, who have listed their six ‘top tips’ for making content go viral.  Here’s a brief recap.

1. Be absurd. Some of the most popular viral videos involve absurd characters, including the honey badger and Marcel the Shell. If you can dream up your own unique, appealing character, you could see a substantial burst of social sharing and traffic, as well as increased brand recognition.

2. Capture emerging trends. By releasing fresh and timely content on an emerging trend, you can earn a natural first mover advantage and attract lots of attention. People might be more apt to share such newsy content, resulting in more backlinks and traffic to your site. You also could benefit in the search engines because Google’s recent freshness update gives preferential treatment to timely content.

 3. Think in terms of sound bites. Sometimes, viral content catches on simply because it sounds catchy. To determine whether your content has this elusive quality, try reading your headline or the opening paragraph as if you were a newscaster. Would you want to tune in to learn more about your piece based on this small snippet of information? If not, go back to the drawing board until your content has the right ring to make people want to share it widely.

4. Use infographics. Visually appealing infographics are among some of the most frequently shared types of online content as most people would rather learn through engaging imagery than long paragraphs of text.  To harness the power of infographics, look for recent studies you can pull data from or try to combine data in new and distinctive ways.

5. Get influencer buy-in. An endorsement from an authority in your industry could help make your content go viral. Simply attaching an influencer’s name to your blog or article can give it significantly more clout.  Start by building relationships with the thought leaders in your industry. After you’ve published your best article or released your best video, ask these influencers to share your content with their own followers. Not all of them will agree, but even one “yes” can mean a significant flood of traffic andcan take your content viral.

6. Offer outstanding value. Providing exceptional value in your article or video could help you achieve viral status. For instance, if everyone in your industry is releasing a “Top 10” list of points on any given topic, how much more interest do you think you could generate if you created a “Top 100” list? Going above and beyond what your competitors offer can help increase the number of times your content gets shared socially.
Although these tips could increase the odds of social sharing, keep in mind there’s no guarantee they’ll make your content resonate with your audience. Going viral can be a difficult thing to achieve.

While going viral may not gauruntee more sales, it does provide an excellent opportunity for a significant increase in brand exposure and recognition through increased traffic to online properties.

Although do bear in mind that generating more brand exposure does have its own intrinsic value, but before you launch your new viral campaign, put serious thought into HOW exactly you will convert your new and enhanced visibility INTO ACTUAL SALES.  That’s the trick.


Yours in PR
Advertisements

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