Even though there are a couple meanings of the word viral, the one that matters the most to marketers is having content or video circulate rapidly and widely. We’ve all seen it happen to posts or videos, but what does it take to get content to go viral? Sometimes the reason is unknown, but it is usually because it evokes intense emotions such as humor, anger or shock.
What makes it even more difficult is standing out above the overwhelming amount of info being posted and shared every day:
-400 million Tweets
-4.75 billion Facebook posts
-144.000 hours of video uploaded to YouTube
-400 million Snapchats
And this is only 4 of the more than 200 social media platforms!
However, there are some techniques that can help increase your chances of catching the attention of more online users. Many individuals tend to just scan through posts quickly, so the title and images are crucial. The content, as mentioned above, has to invoke a profound emotional connection.
Create An Irresistible Title
In a 2012 article about the importance of your title, Moz writer Dan Shure gave the following list of components making up a compelling title:
Even though this was written a while back, these factors are still huge as far as grabbing the attention of users who are quickly browsing their emails or social media accounts. When a visitor engages with content of their choice as opposed to content that is forced on them, they are more likely to share. The key is to create emotionally charged content that ties in with your brand, making it relevant and worth the time of the consumer to read or watch and then share.
Apply Images and Video
It is well known that color captures attention, and so does movement. A large percentage of people are visual learners and this makes the use of photos and video imperative for the success of a marketing campaign. But, to have this type of content go wild among users, it needs to have that something extra to break through the noise.
The Skyscraper Technique
Even with emotion and images, this may not be enough to make a post grow by leaps and bounds. So, what does it take to get content to go viral? There is a method of creating viral subject matter by actually improving on the original content and going into more depth with the topic. Dubbed the Skyscraper Technique by Brian Dean, there are three basic steps to using this method:
Step 1: Find link-worthy content
Step 2: Make something even better
Step 3: Reach out to the right people
According to Brian, he has had a boom in rankings from following this approach. For step one, you use platforms such as Ahrefs.com or Majestic.com to find a keyword phrase that is highly searched on and has lots of backlinks pointing to it. Once the topic is found, the next step is to expand on the information and break it down even more for users to really hone in on the “how to” aspect.
The last step involves writing to the original organizations that were linking to the content and let them know, without begging for a back link, that you are writing a more in depth article about a topic they linked to previously… just to let them know. Many times, they will re-link to your article if it’s worthy of their time.
Not an easy feat but well worth the boost in rankings when you provide something that appeals to the emotions of a high percentage of people wanting to share your information.