Going viral: What it takes to hit the jackpot

Michael Marchese
September 17, 2015

Going viral: What it takes to hit the jackpot

Michael Marchese
September 17, 2015

going viral
Seeing content you’ve created go viral on the Web is like winning the lottery, and the odds of each are about the same. With intense competition for page views, you have to work hard at making your content stand out. And even when you do everything right, it’s often a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
While there is no sure-fire way to achieve viral content, there are a number of steps that can be taken to improve the chances of your content being sent around the world.

Be personal and have a friendly tone

When creating content, it is a good idea to keep it personal and use a friendly tone. Content that is dry, stuffy or lacking in substance is not likely to create excitement. In many cases, generating attention comes from inserting humor or crafting it in such a way it strikes a chord and triggers a response. People are more likely to talk about and share content that touches them on an emotional level.

Have an engaging title

Sensational sounding titles get lots of attention. After all, who can resist clicking on a link that sounds fabulous or incredibly outrageous? When writing a title, it is critical to be both accurate and relatable to the content shared. If a title is misleading, this can lead to a loss of credibility. A viral post is a great feeling in the short-term, but if it generates a loss of trust or decreases authority, the viral title is not worth it in the long-term. Keep the focus on writing an attention grabbing headline, but never at the expense of accuracy.
Many sites try out multiple headlines and ultimately go with the one that has the best “hook.” Entrepreneur suggests testing multiple headlines on social media to see which ones get the best feedback.

Grow a social media following

Landing a great position in Google search is fabulous, but there are no guarantees content will be positioned on that first page or even on the fifth page of search results. It is worthwhile to spend time growing a social media following and curating content. Additionally, content that is heavily shared on social media by users tends to gain better SEO traction.
But don’t join all of the social networks. Spreading oneself too thin is not a good idea and takes too many resources. Instead, pick a few social media sites that fit the company’s niche and spend time connecting with and getting to know like-minded folks who are interested in the same type of information.
There is no guarantee content will go viral on social media, but spending time building a strong network certainly increases the odds of it happening. Especially if the lead is good and readers are instantly hooked. Attractive images also boost the odds of a piece of content going viral.

Use great photos and videos

Speaking of images, this is an important factor to consider. People are more likely to share something that looks aesthetically attractive. Add images that are good quality, eye-catching and extremely relevant.

Be straightforward

Be succinct, say what you mean and do it in a clear and concise way.  You can go in-depth when it’s warranted, but don’t extend the content to make it drag out.
Readers who lose attention quickly will just as quickly bounce to another page. There are many variables that come into play where viral content is concerned. Before publishing, ask yourself: “What are the takeaways from the content? Are they useful and worth sharing?” If the answer is yes, make sure that information stands out on the page.

Publish about current trends

Watch to see what people are searching for and look to see what relevant content can be crafted to fit in with trending topics. Timing can be critical here as search trends change rapidly. But hit the right post at the right time, and you can strike gold. Don’t forget to add strong related keywords and tags to articles and posts. On social media, be sure and include hashtags.
One thing to keep in mind when trying to keep up with trends is to be original with content. Regurgitating information that is already out on the web reduces your chances of going viral.

Don’t be disappointed

If content does not go viral even after you’ve done everything right, don’t be discouraged. It does not mean the material is not good. Sharing content an audience finds useful is a good strategy because these will be the visitors that will come back again and again, increasing daily web traffic and further boosting your chances that a post will go viral in the future.
Tempesta Media is a managed services provider of custom original content. With more than 11,000 vetted professional writers in our network, our unique service offers a variety of services related to content marketing. We are involved every step of the way and can help your firm amplify the content we create to get you or your clients more visibility.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

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Michael Marchese

Michael Marchese

Michael is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership, and overall business operations across all the company’s segments. With over 25 years of experience, he has held various strategic and operating positions. ​​As a recognized expert, he has served on numerous committees for the following industry associations: SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization), IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau), CGA (Casual Gaming Association), and the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association).

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