What’s the secret sauce for viral content? Find out here.
For content marketers, publishing a piece of content that goes viral is the ultimate dream. So what’s the formula for going viral? You’ll find many conflicting rules as well as a great deal of variation in what content tends to go viral. Experts caution against being too promotional but emphasize the importance of always including a call to action. They stress that you shouldn’t be too provocative but your content should always evoke emotion from readers. With all of these contradictory tips, how can you give your content a solid shot at going viral? The key is to be entertaining and to get to know your audience. Here’s how:
Imagine earth’s entire population – now that’s a big audience. To truly connect with them, use the universal language of laughter because, well, who doesn’t love to laugh? According to BuzzSumo’s analysis of more than 100 million articles, content that was long-form, contained images, and evoked laughter or awe was more likely to go viral.
When creating content, write something that you’d want to share with your friends. If you wouldn’t share it yourself, why would others? Ask yourself whether your content is shareable-worthy when you finish writing a piece. If it’s not, you don’t need to start from scratch – just run back through the post and sprinkle some humor throughout.
A little practice called niche marketing can take content a long way. Niche marketing is the process of pinpointing a target demographic and catering to its needs. The opposite of this would be trying to appeal to mass audiences with more general content. However, this isn’t always the ticket to going viral — it can instead drag companies down into anonymity.
Niche marketing requires time and patience. This style of content marketing is aimed at establishing a firm place in the industry, fostering trust with the audience and maintaining stable profits based on the authority built. Viral content can speed up this process dramatically.
As most marketers know, the only surefire way to learn what an audience responds to is to observe. Split testing allows marketers to do just that — by publishing slightly different versions of the same content to see what receives more engagement. Testing two headlines is a common method to determine what motivates an audience to click and share. Depending on the demographic, marketers may find that certain tones (friendly, mysterious) or content styles (tutorials, industry trends) consistently grab the attention of their target audience.
Hubspot documented three cases of split testing to determine the impact of this strategy. Results were somewhat surprising, and varied by company. In one case, users preferred a simplistic sign-up page with little text, while in another case, conversions rose by 69 percent after a company simply made its logo prominent and changed the layout. The takeaway is that content consumers are unpredictable. Thus marketers use split testing to determine each target group’s preferences on a case-by-case basis.
Content marketers who long to go viral utilize the key strategies of knowing their target audience, collecting data on their behaviors and tweaking content to better serve them.