It is no secret that solid, engaging content can be a very powerful tool, yet often it is difficult to create. A single blog post can transform an online business, generating thousands of views and comments from engaged and interested people. Every one of these people has the potential to become a customer; so the pursuit of viral content marketing is more important than ever.
Whilst there are no ways to guarantee virality, there are a few techniques we can use to maximize our chances. I’ve covered 7 of the most powerful techniques here, to help you create incredible viral content marketing for your business!
1. Encourage your audience to get involved
For content to go viral, it has to engage people. Whether your readers feel compelled to share their opinions and thoughts, critique your ideas, or promote your post to their friends and colleagues, engagement is the key to effective content marketing.
As a result, everything you write needs to be focused on engaging your audience, and adding value to their experience. Content marketing has to be fundamentally audience-focused – and you need to write for the reader, not your business. If you follow that simple rule, you’ll be well on your way to creating viral content marketing!
2. Make it easy to share your content
You’ve just finished reading an incredible blog post. It was written beautifully, made you laugh, and started your brain whirring with ideas – and now, you want to share it with your colleagues. You hunt for a button to post to LinkedIn, but you can’t find one. You’re too busy to keep looking, so you close the page.
The best content can only go viral if it’s easy to share. To avoid the above scenario from happening, make sure that your social share buttons are super obvious. I’d recommend a floating social share bar, like Digg Digg, as it’s always visible on the page – without being too intrusive.
3. Interview industry leaders
Interview posts are one of the best ways to create truly valuable content. Reaching out to industry experts and thought-leaders makes it possible to collate their advice, guidance and top tips into a handy resource. You can address your industry’s burning questions, and cover popular topics as comprehensively as possible.
Best of all, you can leverage your interviewees existing audience to promote and boost your own content. By including a thought-leader in your post, your website is likely to benefit from a huge surge in traffic when they re-share it with their own social media audiences. Creating a roundup with 20 expert opinions can cause your content to quickly take-off, as the post circulates amongst 20 distinct audiences.
4. Make use of online monitoring tools
Monitoring social media doesn’t have to be a full-time job. There are a wealth of powerful online tools designed to help you identify trending topics, and Alltop and WhattheTrend are two of the most popular:
- Alltop. Alltop collects the web’s most popular content, and organizes it into industry-specific feeds. It’s perfect for checking out what’s hot in your industry, and a fantastic resource of creating new viral content. When you’ve created a new post, you can even submit your blog to Alltop for inclusion in their directory!
- WhattheTrend. WhattheTrend analyzes Twitter’s trending hashtags, and lists the most popular topics for different countries, regions and industries. Put together by Hootsuite, WhattheTrend is a powerhouse of trending information; and its algorithms with allow you to identify popular topics from last month, last week and even the last 24 hours – perfect for capitalizing on emerging trends.
5. Identify trending topics
Social media is awash with trending topics. If you’re able to identify these topics as they appear, it becomes possible to create a tailor-made piece of content to surf the ensuing wave of virality.
By monitoring social media, you can discover popular topics, trends and hashtags within your industry. For example, you might happen across a trending term like ‘#Inbound14’ – a reference to HubSpot’s recent Inbound Marketing conference. Armed with this tag, you can create a piece of content to capitalize on the term’s popularity:
- ‘The 6 Most Controversial Talks at Inbound 14’
- ‘20 Crucial Takeaways from Inbound 14 (For People Who Weren’t There)’
- ‘Inbound is the Industry’s Best Marketing Conference – and Here’s Why’
By sharing this content with the accompanying #Inbound14 hashtag, your post will be viewed by thousands of interested people – creating viral content in the process!
6. Tackle controversial topics
Nothing encourages social sharing as much as controversy. Divisive posts that cause your audience to strongly agree (or disagree!) with your opinions will generate a huge amount of feedback and sharing. Your audience will comment on your post, share it with their colleagues, and even write their own response. This buzz will encourage sharing across social media, and even dramatically boost your search engine rank.
For another great example of controversial content in action, check out Mark Schaefer’s now (in)famous ‘Content Shock’ post!
7. Harness the power of one-upmanship
It’s hard to be completely original. Thankfully, when it comes to the creation of viral content, you don’t always need to be.
If you’ve come across a successful blog post, there’s no reason you can’t tackle the same issue. Instead of simply rewriting an existing blog post, you can use your own unique experience, knowledge and advice to create a brand new post – one that outperforms any existing content.
- Add your own unique perspective to a topic.
- Write an updated post, and cover the changes that have happened since the original post.
- Add more resources, more information and more value to your post. Create a one-stop-shop, and strive to write the ultimate guide for a particular topic.
- Collate opinions and advice from dozens of posts, and create the most convenient roundup post around.
- If you were inspired by ’50 Top Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn’, write ‘100 Top Marketers to Follow on LinkedIn’, and outdo the original.
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