Content marketing is critical to your overall internet marketing plan, and certainly for your branding. The most effective content is the kind that will “go viral,” or really make enough of an impression on enough people so that it is shared over and over again. We can all think of examples of viral posts, and it can be difficult to produce content with the intent of having it go viral, since it is often a surprise. But, if you pay close attention, you may notice that there are some similarities among different viral pieces that you can use as a “formula” (though there is truly no solid formula for making this happen, just some guidelines) and some search engine optimization techniques that you can try to use to get as much exposure as possible.
Here are a few things to know as you are working on your content marketing plan, things that may indeed help you develop the next viral post:
- Know what it means to “go viral”: This is a term that is used to describe content that becomes suddenly and quickly exposed to a large number of viewers, in almost an explosive manner. Nearly everyone who reads the post seems to share it or link to it, giving the post tremendous exposure and recognition, quite quickly. Only a few years ago, “forwards” of emails were the way that content went viral, but in today’s internet world, the sharing is primarily—and almost exclusively—done on the social media networks. To get a large number of people to share content, the content must stir some kind of emotion in them, and make them want others to know about it.
- Know what kinds of emotions you need to elicit in your readers: When you are thinking about creating “emotional” content, this does not mean that you should be writing pieces that make people cry (though this can sometimes do the trick!). Playing upon the emotions of the readers can involve humor, anger, joy, frustration, excitement, or any other kind of emotion. Emotions may be positive or negative, and both can help content go viral—just be cautious that if you do go with the negative emotion route that you do not turn off too many readers in the process. The responses to negative emotions can be tricky! The idea is to establish a connection through a common ground—emotion.
- Know that you have a limited opportunity to engage the reader: Super long posts are less likely to go viral. People in general have short attention spans, and you need to capture their attention with your content instantly, within the first few sentences. More people tend to skim content than read it carefully word by word. Make sure that you get the length right, or else you risk having readers lose interest. The emotions that you are tapping into need to be activated right away for best results.
Trying to create viral content intentionally for your internet marketing business is a tricky task, but you should always be thinking about how to best engage your readers and you can hope that their interest spreads!