Content marketers want their content to go viral. There’s no surprise in that statement. Who wouldn’t want that? But you can’t just publish your content on a couple of social networks and expect it to spread like wildfire over night. Sorry folks, but that’s not how it works.
There is a science and an art to content marketing. Some believe it’s just a science, others just an art. But I say it’s both because content — good content that is — should stimulate your head (like science) and your heart (like art).
In order to get stimulating content that goes viral, follow these simple steps.
Message > Messenger
Your content’s message is 100 times more important than the messenger. Whether the messenger is you, some other professional in your industry you reached out to or a friend who shared it on Facebook, it doesn’t matter. If your message relates to people and is thought provoking, then various people will read and share it. You may not have 5,000+ Facebook friends or Twitter followers, but if you create a message that hits home with at least a few friends they’ll share it online or through word of mouth and that trend will continue to numerous people.
Create content that inspires and evokes emotion.
Inspire and evoke emotion with your content. That’s the kind that goes viral. When you brainstorm for ideas and begin writing, think about topics that will really impact your audience, topics that impact their mood, ambitions and passions. Help the audience think about something they’ve never thought about before or see a new side to a topic. Make an emotional connection with your audience through your words, pictures, infographics, videos and other forms of content. Also, remember people like to share content when they think it’s going to make them look good and/or smart so construct content with that in mind.
Write and then rewrite headlines.
Put time and effort into your content and do the same with your headlines. Headlines that aren’t catchy or attention grabbing won’t help your content get clicked on, read or go viral. Write a headline, rewrite it and then rewrite it again. Some people rewrite their headline 10-20 times before they’re satisfied, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Do it until you get it just right because headlines are crucial. Readers may never get to your content if they don’t like your headline.
Make it an obsession, not just a 9-to-5er.
Producing stimulating content and making that content go viral isn’t a typical 9-5 job. You can’t clock in and out like you do for a Monday-Friday, 40-hour-a-week job. Putting in eight hours a day isn’t enough. You need to stay connected every hour you’re awake if you expect to keep up with newsworthy topics, monitor social media and other websites for content ideas and network with people. Don’t think of it as a mundane job. Think of it as a needed, healthy obsession, and without that passion for it, your content won’t be what goes viral.
Don’t stop once you click publish.
So you brainstormed, produced content, edited it several times and just published it. Now you can sit back, relax and watch it go viral over the next few days, right? Wrong. Your content marketing job isn’t done there. It’s only just begun. Multiple things can and should be done once you’ve clicked publish: study the traffic data at the end of the day or the next morning to see how your content is doing; keep on top of conversations happening with and around your content piece; and lastly, be patient since it takes time for content to go viral. (Unless you’re Ellen, then you can shut down Twitter with your Oscar selfie picture.)
Other things that help…
- Be conversational
- Solve a problem
- Start a trend
- Write human stories
- Make content interactive
- Make content clickable and shareable
- Find out why failed content didn’t go viral
- Repurpose content
- Post at 9 a.m. and noon EST (These are the optimum posting times since people are just getting to work and are on their lunch breaks.)
Producing great content and getting it to go viral, like we know all content marketers want, can be done and summed up in one tip — take responsibility for your content. When you care about something, you take full responsibility for it. When you do that with your content, it has a greater chance of going viral. So learn and master the art and science of content marketing by following these tips and hopefully your dreams of going viral will come true.