Viral Hacks: How to Create Viral Content

by Lindsey Winsemius - Posted 7 years ago

How to get more shares of your content...

Is creating viral content skill or just luck?

The older I get, the more I believe that we do create our own luck. Studies have proven that more than 80 percent of people who feel they're lucky actually work harder at creating their good luck. 

Do you ever wonder how other blogs, infographics, or videos get hundreds or thousands of shares, when you can barely get a few comments? Are they just lucky? Or is there a secret to making your content more “shareable”?

Here are 5 easy ways to get more content shares:

Spotlight others.

If someone mentions you on social media, or in their blog, you want to share it, right? Find ways to spotlight other bloggers, marketers, colleagues, or businesses in your content. Create a Roundup of great articles about a certain topic. Interview someone noteworthy in your field.  Use examples highlighting other businesses. Then share this content, and let the people or businesses you highlight know that you’ve mentioned them. They will likely share your content, greatly increasing the potential audience you can reach.

The title is crucial.

People often read content based on the title. You've got just a few seconds to attract their attention, so choosing the best words is essential. What kind of titles work best?
  • Leave some room for questions. Titles that tell part of the story and leave the reader wondering work well. “You’ll never guess what the most shared title was for 2015”. Just make sure your story lives up to the title.
  • Use eye-catching words like “Critical” or “Shocking”.  One study found these words to be in the most shared blog posts:  smart, surprising, science, history, hacks (or a variation like hackers), huge/big, critical.
  • Numbers also tend to perform well, particularly when they use digits (ie 10 performs better than ten).

Evoke emotion

Emotion plays a role in many life decisions. It is a major driving force for many individuals, including whether or not they are going to share something. If you make people feel something – joy, empathy, excitement, humor – they are more likely to share it. Write an article or create an image / video that is going to evoke emotion in your target audience and you’ll increase the shares of that content.

According to this fantastic article analyzing millions of shared content, the top emotions shared were:
  • awe (25%)
  • laughter (17%)
  • and amusement (15%).
Conversely, the least popular emotions were sadness and anger, which made up 7%.

Use images.

It shouldn't be any surprise that images are the most shared content on social media sites. While long form content might be more popular than short articles, we are more likely to share any content that includes a meaningful image. According to research by content site BuzzSumo, infographics are one of the top shared content types. Just be careful about the images you choose.

How can you choose the best marketing images? The best kinds of images fall into just two categories:
  • Images with story appeal.
  • Images which demonstrate.

Ask for help.

Whatever kind of business you are trying to promote, you have contacts. Connections. People who are invested in your success. Ask them to help you by sharing your content. Employees, family, friends, and colleagues are all important access points to a larger audience.

But don't just ask others to share your content. One of my favorite quotes is “Be the friend you would like to have.” This is perfectly applicable to marketing. Start sharing other people’s content, and they will be more likely to reciprocate. 

Viral content doesn't always happen overnight. Be patient and keep creating new channels for your content. With a lot of hard work, eventually you’ll get lucky.

Do you think luck plays a role in viral content?