Step 1. Write content that people can’t ignore
Have you ever watched a YouTube video or read an article that was so good you couldn’t help but share it with all your friends because if you didn’t you’d feel like they’d miss out something great and you know you’d regret it if you didn’t tell them?
That’s what viral content is. It’s something that’s so irresistible you can’t help but tell all of your friends about it. In some cases it’s something that’s so funny your stomach cramps from laughing.
Other times it’s something that changes your perspective on a deeply held view or something that is extremely important to you.
And sometimes it’s an article or a piece of advise that gets you to take action, move forward and achieve something you’ve wanted to accomplish for a long time.
These are the types of content that go viral and spread like a wild-fire through the internet.
When you’re writing for your audience try to think of a way to really make an impact in at least one of these 4 ways.
1. Make it hilarious (make it so funny that they end up crying and want to tell everyone about how funny you are)
2. Make it thought-provoking and meaningful (make it something that changes their perspective on something that’s important to them, get them to question something they value or help them strengthen a belief they hold deeply.)
3. Make it polarizing (take a strong stance on an important issue that people are debating)
4. Make it easily actionable and help them get results quickly (such as a step by step formula for getting from A to Z)
Examples of viral content: Have you ever heard of Jenna Marbles?
Well Jenna Marbles has a Vlog (video blog) on YouTube which generates millions of hits every time she releases a video.
While her video’s may not be highly informative they’re extremely funny and because of this almost all of her videos end up going viral.
Currently her Vlog has generated over half a billion views!
Not bad for a website that focuses solely on entertainment from an otherwise unknown person.
Part of her success comes from having a large number subscribers that can’t wait to see what she posts next, and part of it has to do with the hilarious nature of her content which people can’t seem to get enough of and makes them want to tell everyone they know about it.
She listens to her audience and creates the content they want to see, and because of this her subscribers and viewers know that when she puts something out they are going to love it, tweet it, like it, share it and so on.
In fact you can find all of Jenna Marbles funny internet videos here: Jenna Marbles on YouTube
Another great example is Brian Clarks blog Copybogger.
This website is dedicated to teaching people how to write better content and market it effectively.
Brian and those who run the website only permit content that is of the highest quality and extremely useful.
It’s informative, it’s actionable, it’s entertaining and it’s thought-provoking.
They focus on helping people get results instead of simply making them laugh, and because their readers get results from the content Copyblogger provides they share it with the world.
Here is the link to Brian Clarks website if you want to check it out: Copyblogger
Step 2. Follow the four “must have” rules on getting people to read and share your content before you hit that publish button.
You followed the 1st step for creating your amazing “must read” content and now your ready to share it with the world, but before you hit that “publish” button there’s four critical steps you need to take in order to make sure it gets clicked on, read and shared. 1. The headline – Your headline is one of the most important parts of getting people to read your content. It’s the difference between whether a potential reader skims past your article or whether he/she hits the read more button. Magazines know this and that’s why their headlines are always so dramatic. In many cases the best headline wins and the winners are determined by whether the headline compels a person to pick up the magazine, read it and buy it or just walk away. Study popular blogs, read news sites and watch magazines that know how to write attention grabbing headlines. Their headlines may be controversial, entertaining, emotion/desire driven or just flat-out shocking, but they get people’s interest, catch them off guard and get them to read more. Learn as much as you can about crafting great headlines and your content will stand a much better chance of getting read. Don’t put all your effort into writing great content just to have it ignored. If your headline is dull then chances are you’ll be the magazine that sits on the shelf. Note to the wise. Don’t write headlines that are misleading and don’t relate to what your content is about. Not only is it unethical, it could get you in trouble. 2. The image(s) Besides your title the images in your content are extremely important for compelling potential readers to look at and read your content. While the images aren’t going to sell the content by themselves they do create an emotional response and gain the interest of readers which helps you get more people interested in reading your content. The best images are the ones that engage the readers feelings, beliefs, desires and views and makes them stop in their tracks to find out more about your content. Images that create feelings such as love, desire, fear, despair, rage, excitement, inspiration, disgust (optional), ecstasy, intrigue, seduction and embarrassment are often great for getting people’s attention. Depending on your content and your personality the images you use to create emotional responses from your readers may change. The important thing is to keep your readers emotionally engaged from your headline to your images to the content you’ve created and get them to take action (such as sharing your content with their friends or getting them to take a step towards accomplishing a goal) by the time they finish reading your content. 3. The content I’m not going to elaborate on this one as I explained this part in the 1st step but your content needs to be so good that your readers can’t ignore it. Give them as little reason as possible to browse past your content and make it unbelievably useful, emotional, polarizing and/or entertaining to your readers. Make it original, make it great, make it memorable! 4. The call to action Your content should have a clear call to action. While reading your content or at the very end of it you should have a call to action to tell your readers what they should do next. Should they tweet it, share it or like it? Should they email it to two of their best friends? Should they write a comment or subscriber to your newsletter? Should they take action on one of your steps so they can start seeing results? Make it clear what you want your readers to do in order to get them to take some sort of action. Don’t over do it or be aggressive but give them some feedback on how they should use your content so that they can get the most out of it. BTW if you find this article to be extremely useful please spread the word by liking, tweeting or sharing it with your friends. ;)
Step 3. Create exposure by implementing a good content marketing strategy
After you’ve created and published your amazing content (the type your readers can’t ignore) the next step is to get it out there. There’s a reason bloggers say that in the beginning you should spend 80% of your time outside of your website. When you first start out no one knows about you and no one is likely to find you even if you try. Until you’ve established a presence and proved yourself Google isn’t going to list you on the first page, bloggers aren’t going to talk about your website and people aren’t going to share your content. You have to put yourself out there. Once you’ve followed the steps in the previous section the next step you’ll want to take is to get people to find and like your content. There are several things you can do to help with this process.
1. Contact your subscribers – If you have subscribers than contact them about your new and amazing content. This isn’t something you’ll want to do with every piece of content you write, but if you know it’s going to be a must read then let your readers and subscribers know about it and ask them to share it with their friends and audience.
2. Write guest posts that link to your content – If you haven’t built an audience yet think about writing a few guest posts for several popular blogs and linking it to the viral content you created. A well written guest post to a popular blog could get you several hundred visitors overnight. Plus the links you get from these popular blogs are likely to be high quality which can help give your content a boost in the search engines.
3. Email your influencers – Email your friends, fellow bloggers and other social media outlets that you’ve written something important and that it’s likely to appeal to them and their interests. If they like what you’ve written then there’s a good chance that they’ll talk about it on their blog, email their friends and tweet about it to their followers. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to others and grow your social network. These are the people who are going to get your name out there and into the blogosphere.
4. Create a series – Add your viral content to part of a “how to” or “must read” series. This enables you to get the most out of your viral content and hopefully your entire series will go viral which can help your website get a lot of eye’s, ears and traffic. The more content you can get to go viral the better.
5. Use other social media platforms – Create additional buzz by talking about it on your podcast, YouTube channel, Facebook wall, twitter feed and so on. This gives you a chance to reach out to a larger, already existing network of potential readers. By tapping into the millions of people who use these social platforms everyday you give yourself a much better opportunity for getting your ideas spread.
Lastly it is extremely important to think of your content as an idea that’s worth spreading.
If ” enough”other people feel the same way about your content than there is a very good chance that it will go viral.