September 21, 2016
Placing a brand in front of thousands (or even millions) of eyes is something every marketer strives for. Having your content viewed by a large social media audience is great, but it is even more amazing when your content is worth sharing. Creating viral content can bring potential customers you had never hoped to reach. Despite the fact that creating a viral campaign is difficult, there are numerous examples of them on the Internet. Thus, some content goes viral, while the others stay unnoticed. The question is: why and how does it happen?
Some people believe viral content is as random as a stroke of luck; and they have a point, but we believe that there are more ways for your content to go viral besides just pure luck. Sometimes it is all about careful planning, hard work, execution strategies, and so on. What it comes down to is, if you want to make your content viral, you should start with reading this article and take action.
1. Focus on your audience
If you think content becomes viral because it doesn’t have any specific target audience and everyone is interested in it – that’s not quite the case. Taking your content viral is not about showing it to people, but showing it to the right people.
For example, let’s take StudentShare, a platform for students who need some writing guidance. This website offers ready-made sample papers for college students, as well as other content-oriented on learners. If you visit its Twitter account, you will see it has a specific focus on students’ interests. The posts are aimed at students’ needs, and present relevant information: college tips, writing guides, funny stories, news, etc. By knowing whom your audience is, you will be able to establish a better connection with the help of interesting content shared organically by thousands of people. Students share with other students, and so on.
2. Emotions are important
Aside from being aware of your target audience, your campaign should also establish an emotional connection. Emotions motivate people to take actions. Things we see and hear sometimes touch our emotions and influence our behavior and decisions.
According to the scientific researches, there are basic emotions that influence us. They are:
These emotions are like water colors – you have a number of basic colors and then mix them in different proportions to get more. Sometimes you mix colors that don’t seem to blend but, as a result, you get something interesting and unusual.
Integrating different emotions in the correct way, you will make your message more appealing and effective. For example, when your product promotion is based on a story (text, video, presentation, etc.), you are welcome to play with emotions. Most marketers believe that emotional appeal is built the best when you structure your story like this:
- Start with something negative, like problems, fear of failure, or guilt;
- Move to positive emotions like joy, problem-solving, or a pleasant surprise and combine it with your brand.
Think about the effectiveness of your services and how it can be connected with emotions. This will attract significantly more attention to your company and increase your chances to go viral.
3. Take care of the sharing process
If you think that content creation is all about posting it and praying for someone to press a “Share” button – we have good news for you. You can make sharing a feature of your content. How? Ask DropBox. It became a millionaire company in a matter of days when it used a sharing feature. It is simple and ingenious – users get free storage space when they refer their friends to the service. This is how people shared DropBox of their own will.
This strategy can be applied in different ways. For example, some people (especially, on the Internet) are extremely interested in something exclusive. Considering the fact that Internet is mostly a free space of info, communities that are built on “invite-only” basis make people talk about them across the Web and beg for invites at forums. Well, making something that “elite” always attracts attention – people need to know what is so special about it.
Thus, content becomes viral only when people share it. So make them want to do that.
4. User-generated content is fine too
User generated content is one of the most widely used tactics of creating viral content. This type of content relies on users and they are the ones who actually promote your company. This strategy is great for a couple of reasons:
- Users take part in content creation delivering something that is interesting for them and, therefore, to people of the same social stratum. This increases your chances to generate a useful, interesting, or just entertaining content;
- Content produced by users is more trustworthy than content provided by a brand. This is a kind of ‘content humanization,’ that brings more life to your marketing strategy;
- It is a great fun.
If you want to make your content viral, your users must be engaged. When you stick to a user-generated content, you make your strategy interactive. For example, you can use Twitter to provide a link to a piece of art work your company produced, or make users tweeting links to the art works they have made to promote your brand. And when their friends and family see what they are sharing, you’ll get even more participants. Relying on your audience is a great idea, when you are looking for ways to make your content super-popular. The more users are interested in generating content for you, the wider audience you will reach.
5. Choose the right time
The other aspect of creating a viral content is time. Posting a tweet at the best moment is effective. This means that when some event is buzzing, like Oscars or Grammy, you should try to take advantage of this. To do this, you have to be aware of the latest trends and events of interest. Whether it is culture, news, sports, or something else, this can become fuel for creating a piece of a popular content.
There is no better place to learn everything about the latest happenings in the world than Twitter. You can try tracking what’s new in your industry or in general news. Once something draws your attention, use it to create content that is unique and engaging. But don’t forget about these important aspects:
- Do not create content using any tragic or negative events;
- Make it funny and entertaining;
- Twitter has a social management tool Dataminr which can help you monitor the most must-know topics. Use it to find and analyze public tweets, breaking news and emerging trends;
- Add some graphic or image to your tweet – this will increase its visibility;
- Don’t forget about hash-tags. Trending topics need appropriate hash-tags to make people find them faster.
Not every piece of content you produce will become viral. However, these simple tips can show you the best direction and increase your chances to become popular.
If you have any experience at creating a viral content, share your ideas and strategies in the comments below.
Veronica Hunt is a passionate blogger from Delaware City, DE. She loves high-tech and provide readers with up-to-date info in the spheres of technology, social media and content marketing. You can find Veronica on Facebook and Google+.