Everybody wants viral content in their marketing strategy, and everyone wants to know the secret for creating and marketing content that will make waves on the Internet.
The truth is, there aren’t any hard and fast rules for making content go viral, but certain tactics can raise your chances. If you’re interested in boosting your content game and getting more hits across the Web, you might want to try some of these viral content tips.
1. Leverage Biases
Consumers of content have inherent biases that strongly influence the way they perceive what they take in. This bias shapes their opinions about the content and what they decide to do with it—whether it’s to share it or trash it.
Perhaps the most important bias you should know about is the confirmation bias, which affirms something with which the reader strongly identifies.
In fact, according to Marketing Land, 20 percent of social users choose to share something because it reflects who they are. Content such as quizzes, polls, trivia and lists have the greatest potential for eliciting this type of sharing.
2. Use the Right Social Networks
Quality content won’t do you any good if the right people don’t see it. If you hope to get your content shared across the Internet and into the hands of your target audience, post it where they spend most of their time online.
This means finding them on the social networks where they hang out, which largely depends on the niche your company occupies. Green Residential, a property management company that specializes in marketing for rental homes, cites Facebook as the most conducive social media platform for marketing rentals, but the best choice for you will depend on your industry vertical. Research (not luck) is the best way to find your audience online.
3. Give ’Em What They Want
In general, most users searching for information on the web are looking for one of two things: information about a specific topic or pure entertainment. Your content should serve one or both of those purposes if you want it to get real attention from real people.
Either way, your audience needs to be able to identify with your content, which can be tricky. The key is to rely on insights that a majority of your audience can relate to—either because they’ve experienced them and are wondering if anyone else has, or because they want to have a similar experience and they’re hungry to learn more.
4. Get Your Timing Down
Though it’s not the most important aspect of content distribution, the exact time you post something online can make a difference in whether it picks up traction or not. The very best content can go viral no matter what time of day it’s posted, but if you’re looking to take a content piece to the next level, the time of day for your initial promotional push might be the clincher.
It’s best to publish when the most people are active on social media. You can obtain an accurate assessment of when your audience and followers are on social media the most by studying analytics. In general, though, people tend to be on Facebook more often early in the week. According to KISS Metrics, “The average blog gets the most traffic on Monday around 11 a.m. Eastern Time.” Before work, during lunch breaks, and between five and seven p.m. are also solid times to post content.
5. Effective Imagery
Images of all kinds are best for grabbing attention immediately. Black text on a white (or almost any other color) background doesn’t have the power to arrest attention the way graphics can. Memes, infographics, videos and graphical depictions of data are all great ways to brighten up an article or social post and catch the attention of users. Whether you create them from scratch or license images from a third party, always make sure they’re optimized for engagement.
Every viral content campaign is rooted in quality—that is, it solves a real problem for the user or it entertains them. But no content campaign can reach its full potential without these five characteristics. For your best chances at gaining social traction with your next campaign, leverage your audiences’ biases to create visually stunning content they find helpful or entertaining, and deliver it to them at the right time on the right social channel. Only then will you be ready to go viral.
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