Have you ever created content so popular that it went viral?  The signs of a viral content outbreak include a multitude of tweets, trending on LinkedIn Today, features on industry websites and explosive viral-content-creation-inbound-marketingwebsite traffic.  Often, what could cause content to go viral is out of your control, such as when it is featured as a top story on Social Media Today or tweeted by high-profile industry influencers.  Although you cannot control everything that happens to your content once it is published, there are certain steps you can take to increase the likelihood of it going viral.

The first step is creating content that is fresh, relevant, engaging, information-rich, high-impact and highly shareable so that your audience will feel compelled to promote and share it with their social networks.  Every time your content is liked on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, “+1ed” on Google+, shared on LinkedIn or “pinned” on Pinterest, it gets a social stamp of approval—increasing its reach and boosting your chances for significant increases in lead generation, SEO and website traffic.

While there is no foolproof way to make your content go viral, there are certain types of content more likely to be shared on social media—newsjacked content, case studies, research reports, infographics, visual content like webinars and SlideShare presentations, longer, in-depth content and hybrid content, which mixes mediums like written content, infographics and video.  Content that triggers happiness, awe, anger or anxiety is also more likely to go viral.

Therefore, no matter which medium you choose, your content must strongly resonate with your audience on an emotion level.  Think outside the box; select a highly relevant yet novel and exciting topic.  Insightfully illustrate your unique ideas, and do not neglect to create a “highly clickable” title—one that is attention-getting, clear, concise, relevant, actionable, authoritative, intriguing and perhaps even slightly mysterious.

Real-Time Industry Knowledge and Deep Insight

Viral content often showcases real-time industry knowledge and deep insight, so stay up-to-date with what is trending on social media.  Use social resources like Topsy and Klout to discover trending topics and what industry thought leaders are publishing.  This knowledge will help you avoid wasting time creating content that will not incite significant interest.  Use your research and real-time knowledge to find hot industry trends, but be sure to convey original ideas and a fresh perspective in your own content.  

Newsjacking

Newsjacking may be your best bet for viral content creation.  Newsjacking means riding the popularity wave of a hot news story and reflecting some of its spotlight on your own content.  Capitalizing on a breaking story exposes your content to a larger-than-normal captive audience.  When an exciting event occurs, aim to be the first to publish and syndicate original, newsjacked content related to coverage of the event.  Oreo’s social media marketing related to the Super Bowl blackout is an excellent example of winning newsjacking.  Newsjacking can be contagious—greatly increasing social engagement, while also inciting amplified brand recognition, website traffic and lead generation.

Create content so high-quality, relevant and unique that it compels unusually high rates of social content curation.  Creating highly shareable content that goes viral could help brand you as an industry thought leader and also greatly magnify visibility and lead generation.  Be infectious, and take the internet by storm.