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How can I make my content go viral? This is probably something you have heard asked before, or possibly being yelled at a screen by someone in content marketing. To be sure, virility can be a touchy subject.

Viral content has been that elusive gold standard everyone from marketing execs to teenagers hoping to become famous strives for. Of course with hundreds of thousands of people out there looking to strike gold, for some it seems like going viral is akin to hitting the lottery; a million to one shot. However we are firm believers that there are proven ways to adjust those odds and make them a little more favorable.

Cycle of Viral Life

How does something go viral? The process is a lot like passing a cold around. First, one person sees the content and finds it so interesting or amazing that they feel like it needs to been seen by friends. An important note here – some people simply never share things.

A cute cat video gets shared by the first person to see it on Facebook. That person happens to have 556 followers. Of those, 213 see the link for the video and 94 trust their friend enough to know that this is interesting so they click it.

Of those 100 about 35 find it amusing enough to share it themselves and thus the cycle has begun.

Tips for Viral Content

Here are some good tips to help make sure that when someone does run across something they find it interesting enough to click on it or watch it or read it, and then share it:

  • Learn When to Post – Tuesdays are the best day for posting article contents, especially on Google+ and Facebook, followed by Mondays as more people will read and share earlier in the week. As the week progresses, shares decrease for content but increase for videos.
  • Useful Titles – The proper title can get you in the door, but of course the content still has to be good enough for sharing. In this case, useful titles such as, “How can I…” or “Top X ways to…” or “6 Tips for…” are all things people might find useful when they are searching for them. Other good ideas are “5 Myths on why…” or “Common XX Pitfalls that…” These concepts focus on either things you don’t know or things you should be aware of.
  • Comparisons and Competition – By now most people have seen the Facebook shares by people touting their IQ score and challenging you to do better or noting that they took a test and out of the Seven Dwarves they are most like Sleepy. Both of these concepts involve competition and comparisons which are often triggers to a person’s ego which explains why those quizzes are so popular. When we feel smart or proud of ourselves, we brag. This concept can also include making people feel important or unique so find a way to make that happen.
  • Include the Human Touch – People like a human angle that is relatable to their own lives. That can include basic attributes such as age or location, or marital status, military service, and more. When people find something relatable and useful to them they tend to share it with their social circle, many of whom share similar attributes.
  • Article Plus Image – Articles with images get twice as many shares on average as those without. Whoops!
  • Providing Pleasure – The reason cute cat videos get so many shares is because people find them so adorable which provides the user with pleasure. The same goes for ‘fail’ videos which make people laugh, amazing athletic feats, explosions, beauty and more. Match your demographic to the right type of pleasure provider to increase your chances for a hit. Generally speaking cute is the king followed by laughter and then entertainment.
  • KISS – Keep it short n sweet. The typical viral video is 30 seconds. Attention spans are just not very long these days. Infographics are also very popular as they are easy to digest.
  • Always Allow Comments – Comments can be the fuel for a flash fire these days. Once people start talking, discussing or even arguing a piece of content can really take off. Always make sure you respond to comments as well in a timely manner to keep the conversation going.
  • Re-post Content – After a week has passed repost your own content. This is a proven method that often increases shares by at least 200%.

The Bottom Line

Truth be told, even if you utilize every single tip perfectly that does not mean your content is a lock to go viral. The court of public and popular opinion still has to weigh in on the matter and in some cases things just catch fire.

However, with that being said, your content will be in a much better position to go viral after using these steps which will ensure that you aren’t the next content marketer screaming, “How can I make my content go viral?” at a computer screen.

This article was originally published in 16 May 2017. It was most recently updated in January 7, 2019 by Isaiah

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