Guest Post by Elaine Bennett
What makes a piece of online content go viral? Quality? A clickable headline? Credible sources? Yes, but there is obviously more than that, otherwise every new post would be trending across the social media world. Creating shareable content requires careful planning and preparation, and it also requires of its creators to follow the latest trends but to also know when to defy them in order to set the brand apart from the rest of the competition.
It’s a nuanced game where nothing can be left to chance, a game that requires skilled players and experienced leaders. But let’s assume that you already have a crack team of professionals at your side, and instead focus on what truly makes a piece of online content, written or otherwise, go viral. Here’s what you need to know.
Weave the brand into the story
There is no denying it, popular names in the industry have a higher chance of going viral, and a much higher chance of producing content that drives shares and engagement in general. Why? Because of a powerful little emotional called trust. Trust in not something you can demand in the modern online world, but rather it is something you can only build over time by creating a compelling brand identity and weaving it into your entire content strategy.
If you want to create a trusting relationship with your target audience and become the trustworthy source of information the industry wants and needs, you will need to make brand-building your no.1 priority. You can start by creating a contemporary visual identity that will appeal to the modern consumers.
Next, devote plenty of time to create a unique tone of voice for your brand that will be your own, a voice people will recognize instantly. Use this voice to create every type of content. Don’t forget to define a set of brand values you can portray through your content – your audience needs to recognize their values in your content in order to connect with your brand on an emotional level. In turn, this will automatically increase the shareability of every single one of your posts.
Use the skyscraper method
The is nothing wrong with implementing the best practices in the industry into your own content strategy, but keep in mind that there can be no progress without innovation. In order to light a spark of interest in the hearts and minds of your audience, your content needs to offer something more, something of true value that they haven’t experienced before. While that doesn’t mean that you need to reinvent the wheel, it does mean that you need to improve on the successes of your competitors.
Strive to create content that offers more value to the consumer. This means producing content that is longer and goes in-depth on some of the most relevant topics and issues. Leave nothing to chance and make sure your content answers every possible question the reader might have. This will propel your content in terms of SEO, and increase its credibility and shareability.
Tend to meticulous content optimization
Speaking of SEO and credibility, there is nothing quite like a well-optimized piece of online content. Content that is rich with smart SEO features, boasts easy readability, and is optimized for easy sharing across a variety of social media platforms has become the emphasis of every digital marketing expert nowadays, as it guarantees that every post you publish will maximize its potential of going viral. You want to mimic this approach.
To ensure every piece of content is optimized for maximum readability and ranking in the SERPs, be sure to research the best practices in the industry in order to align your writing with what your audience likes, and also tend to meticulous keyword research in order to implement them for easy content discovery. A digital marketing company Online Marketing Gurus recently shared some of their best content marketing tips and secrets that can help you create profitable content and step up your content marketing game. Remember, if your content comes out on top of the search results, you stand a better chance at driving traffic to your website and getting the post shared on social media.
Make it new, make it controversial
All this talk about the best practices and innovation sounds like you need to cater to the exact needs of your audience, and while that is true for the most part, there is something to be said about controversy and how it can help you boost your shares and engagement. In essence, your content should challenge the beliefs of your audience in order to spark a reaction and build that highly sought-after social media buzz.
You can use lightly controversial content to play the devil’s advocate and help your audience solidify their opinions even further. On the other hand, you can also use this type of content to challenge their beliefs in such a way that they share it on social media as an interesting revelation that poses some good questions. This is the recipe for quick social media engagement, especially if you complement the copy with the appropriate headline.
Use clickable headlines for every post
Let’s not kid around, the way you structure your headline can make or break a post, no matter how well-written it actually is. People don’t have time to delve into your article or sit through a lengthy video, at least not if the title doesn’t inspire them to make time for you. If you want to improve shareability, you will need to craft compelling titles that are intriguing, but also offer immediate value to the reader. Stick with the tried and tested formats:
- SEO-friendly headlines with relevant copy
- “Best of” headlines
- Headlines with the “backed by science” format
To go viral on social media and across the online world, you will need to create quality content, but more importantly, you will need to create content that speaks to hearts and minds of your audience. Use these tips to create an emotional bond with your demographic, optimize it for maximum engagement, and watch as your content starts to go viral across social media.