11 Tips for Creating Viral Content (Updated May 2019)
The first and most important requirement for any content to go viral is that it is shareworthy. The more people who want to share your content, the more chances there are of it getting is to go viral.
But that is easier said than done. Creating viral content is not easy. There is no hard and fast rule as to how content becomes viral. And, there definitely aren’t any sure-shot techniques for creating viral content.
However, there are certain characteristics that most viral content have in common. These can provide you insights into creating viral content.
Here are some of the most effective tips for creating viral content.
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#1. Grab Attention With Catchy Titles
When it comes to getting attention in the first place, the most important element of all is the title, since it’s usually the first thing that people will see. So, you need to write attention-grabbing titles that encourage viewers to read or watch your content.
Here are some tips to write effective titles for your content:
- Use numbers in your titles to get more clicks.
- Ask a question that your audience can relate to.
- Keep it short.
- Use catchy phrases.
- Use your targeted keyword.
Writing good titles is an imperative part of creating viral content. And that’s why you should pay special attention to your titles.
#2. Keep it Short
Short-form content is easier to grasp and share, and that’s why it has higher chances of going viral. With long, text-heavy content, people often tend to lose interest.
So, you can use short-form content for both your text and video content, to make it easier to read/watch and share.
#3. Use Attention-Grabbing Images
Almost all viral content becomes popular in the first place because it makes use of eye-catching visuals. While written content is also important in viral marketing, it tends to be great visuals that help to foster engagement and encourage sharing.
For articles, the most important image is the header, since it’s always kept above the fold. This image will also accompany social media shares, making it as important as the headline for representing your content and giving people a reason to click it. Further images also add credibility to the content, even if they are only relevant to it in an abstract kind of way. Just make sure you avoid the clichéd stock images.
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#4. Promote Sharing
Many marketers will tell you that great content markets itself and, to an extent, this is true. However, there’s certainly nothing wrong with giving it a head start by actively encouraging people to share it. The easiest way to promote sharing is to simply integrate social sharing buttons, which you should be doing anyway with every blog post and other types of content you have online.
Sharing buttons allow people to quickly share content they like on their favourite networks or forward them to a friend via email with just a couple of clicks. However, including too many sharing buttons can confuse people and put them off, so be sure to only use the most relevant ones.
#5. Make It Scannable
When someone carries out a search on Google, they’re usually looking for quick, concise and relevant answers to their questions. When someone opens up their favourite blog, they’re usually looking for some quick entertainment. As such, scannable articles that satisfies the short attention spans and constant craving for easily digestible content tend to do much better online.
Authors might not be too happy about the fact that most people will simply skim through their work to pick out the points and answers that are most interesting to them, but that is how online audiences work. Writing for the Web is different to writing for print in this respect.
#6. Keep It Accessible
The last thing you want to do is go to the trouble of creating excellent content only to have people abandon it because it’s not suitably presented. All content should be easily accessible across all Internet-enabled platforms but, if you’re going to prioritize any one platform in particular, then make sure it’s mobile.
Mobile online traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic, so it’s imperative that your content is easy to read and your website easily navigable on the small screen. To make your content more accessible, be sure to use responsive themes, large text sizes, clear typography and simple layouts with plenty of whitespace to draw attention to your content.
#7. Evoke an Emotion
The number one trick to creating viral content is to create something that evokes an emotion in your audience.
To succeed with viral marketing, you’ll need to understand the psychology of viral content. Raising recognition and encouraging shares requires content that pushes people’s buttons and provokes emotional reactions. In other words, you need to be publishing content that people react to strongly enough that they’ll share it on their favourite social networks without a second thought.
Topics that people are most likely to share and talk about are either remarkable, hilarious, outrageous, controversial or just plain unusual. Reactions to viral content won’t always be positive, but the key to creating viral content is to evoke an emotional response.
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#8. Provide Credible Sources and References
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that there’s a lot of rubbish online, including things like blogs masquerading as news websites but publishing nothing more than wild fantasies that are completely disconnected from reality. Although people enjoy viral content primarily as a way to be entertained, that doesn’t mean that credibility isn’t important.
One of the most effective ways to enhance credibility is to mention your main influencers and cite your sources. Don’t be afraid to link to influential people and content elsewhere on the Internet in order to start building your reputation as an authority figure.
#9. Create Lists and Videos
No guide on creating viral content is complete without the mention of listicles and videos. These content formats tend to get more shares than others and have high chances of going viral.
Videos are, by far, the most engaging content type and constitute a majority of viral content. According to a study, almost all of the most viral Facebook posts in 2017 were videos.
And, another study showed that tweets with videos get retweeted more than any other type of tweet on Twitter.
#10. Get the Timing Right
Crafting excellent content only represents half of the battle. There’s also the right time and place to think about. Turn up too late to the game, and your content will never take first place, so it’s important to pounce on trends and new ideas as soon as they become apparent.
You can follow the latest trends by exploring websites such as Google Trends or Buzz Zumo if you’re looking for ideas on what’s popular right now in certain niches.
However, it’s also important to publish your content at the right time. According to a detailed study by Sprout Social, the safest time to post on social media is between 9am and 3pm during weekdays. However, it varies by the social media platform and industry.
The best times to post on Facebook:
The best times to post on Instagram:
For all social networks, Wednesday is the best day to post content in order to get maximum engagement. So, keep these times and days in mind when you post your content on social media.
Just creating viral content is not good enough, you need to post it at the right times to get maximum engagement.
#11. Create Interactive Content
Another useful trick for creating viral content is to make it interactive. Interactive content is more engaging and involves your audience more.
Interactive content like quizzes and polls are fun to engage with and share. People often engage with such content either to test their own knowledge or to see how others think.
In any case, creating interactive content is a fun and engaging way to get your audience to consume and share it.
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Creating viral content is not easy. And even if you follow all of the tips above, there’s no guarantee that your content will go viral.
However, there are things that you can do to take your best shot at creating viral content. Use these effective tips for creating viral content that your audience will love and want to share with their friends.