The following is a guest post by Micheal Gilmore. Micheal is a Content Manager at resume writing service Resumesplanet. He’s psyched about marketing, business, blogging, and SMM. In his parallel life, he loves hiking and can’t wait to see the Himalayas one of these days. Follow him on Twitter.
There’s a big difference between average content and viral content. Besides the obvious extra benefits, it brings to your website, viral content gives you a chance to exponentially improve your brand image in a relatively short amount of time.
To tell you the truth, there’s no secret formula for creating content that goes viral. There are plenty of books explaining what makes things go viral, what doesn’t, and so on and so forth. There are plenty of resources (like this article) that are teaching you how to do stuff. But in reality, no one can predict whether something goes viral or not.
In order get closer to the real meaning of viral content, let’s take a look at a few of the most important characteristics of viral content…I’d like to call them viral components:
- Popular or trendy
- Drives Curiosity
These qualities are basically sparking emotions, breakthroughs, ideas, and all types of thoughts. Usually, viral content is so good that it spreads on its own, without you having to promote it over and over again. When a person shares something, he believes that what he has seen is remarkable, which literally means “worthy of remark”.
The more viral components you include throughout your content; the more chances you have to make it spread like crazy. You see…search engines and social media have a very important role: they must help us fix our problems and fulfill our needs. When a day goes really bad, watching a motivational and inspiring video makes you feel better.
It’s the same when you feel unhappy or sad about something; scrolling on Facebook, you come across an article which explains the situation of the poor African kids who have never drunk clean water. That gives you a better perspective, so you’ll like & share the video. Moreover, you might even take the time to share a direct link to your closest ones.
So How Exactly Do I Craft This Type of Content?
Again, if you’re looking for a straight and clear answer that would simply lead you to success, your perspective is in the wrong direction. Viral content is unpredictable. Therefore, in order to make something viral, you need to develop certain combinations of strategies and viral components.
A lot of testing is involved, and a lot of work needs to be done. The results will show up once you’re definitely involved in the process. Everything great thing was accomplished after a trial-n-error process. Don’t expect to skip this part, or else you’ll create the wrong expectations and attract negative outcomes.
Even though I can’t give you an exact step-by-step process, here are the most important aspects that you should take into consideration when you craft, organize and promote your content; with the hopes of making it viral.
1. Understand and Nurture Your Target Audience
The first and most important thing that you need to consider is your target audience. These are the people that are supposed to resonate the most with your content’s message. These are the people who are going to like, share, and comment upon your content.
In order to reach them, you need to structure your content in such a way that it appeals to them. You can learn a few things about them by:
- Engaging with people that have problems and needs that you can solve. Find these on niche forums and Q&A portals such as Quora and Yahoo Answers.
- Asking them directly through social media posts, direct messages, or e-mails.
- Creating surveys around the topic that you need to find answers
Once you understand how your audience thinks, you’ll be able to create that content specifically for them, so they’ll share more.
2. Appeal to the People’s Senses
More than often, people remember things that seemed important and worth remembering. Moreover, the unconscious decision that a person makes regarding whether what he has seen is memorable or not is truly influenced by emotions.
Focusing on sparking different emotions is extremely important, as we’re all emotional beings who are always looking to satisfy needs and wants. Now, here’s how you can improve your content in such a way that it becomes remarkable and memorable:
- Create visual, auditory and kinesthetic representations. This means that your words should lead the person’s internal representational system towards one of the three senses.
- Touch delicate subjects in a delicate manner. This means that you should focus directly on someone’s problem, need, want, wish, desire, and so on.
- Use your empathy as much as you can. Use other persons’ higher degree of emotional intelligence in order to get insights.
3. Motivate and Inspire Your Audience with Quotes
I guess you have probably seen thousands of motivational quotes on your Facebook and Instagram page by now. Why do you think this happens? Or how about all the inspiring sayings that pop up on every social media channel?
Motivation and inspiration are two important fuels for today’s generation. The competition has gotten stronger in everything. In order to stand out, you need to keep yourself motivated and inspired all the time – else, others will get in front of you.
In order to improve the virality of your brand’s content, you can start using quotes (invented or existent) that capture the whole essence of what your target audience craves to hear. The moment you got it right, you’re guaranteed a share or at least a like.
And here’s the big thing: put the text into a very nice background and add your brand’s logo under the quote. This way you’ll be able to raise your brand’s awareness, drive traffic to your website, and improve your authority in the niche.
Expert roundups are a different type of content that always gets noticed. Basically, you’ll have to take interviews to different experts in the field, and organize an in-depth article, video, or presentation around the subject.
This type of content inspires a lot of trust, and it can add a lot of value to your followers. Along with value and uniqueness, you’ll be able to spark feelings and remarks from other people.
5. Focus on Value, Always!
The last, but the most important aspect that leads to virality is value. Basically, everything works like this. If you have something that makes my life better, you have my respect and my money. If you don’t, I don’t want to see you ever again, because you’ve just wasted my time.
Keep in mind that the more value you add, the more benefits and positive outcomes you’ll reap out of every situation. This applies to both marketing and life.
Never forget to be patient. Keep testing and optimizing. There is a formula, but a very vague one. It only exists in the minds of those who actually took the time to test and see for themselves how everything works.
If you focus and work enough, you’ll be able to be that person, and you’ll also be able to generate frequent viral content!