How (and why) content goes viral

Producing viral content has almost become the Holy Grail of marketers. Having that kind of impact in the digital arena can only be a good thing—it’ll make audiences sit up and take notice, and the results can be startling. Just think of all that extra traffic you could generate! Given that producing great content should already be a core part of any SEO campaign we thought we’d take a look at how (and why) content goes viral, and you might even be able to recreate it for the same kinds of results…
OK, first up, the bad news—there’s no guarantee athat any one piece of content will cause an internet storm (sorry about that). But, there are still things we can do to make content that little bit more desirable and more likely that it could become the sensation it deserves, because the one key rule we need to remember is that whilst not all great content goes viral, content that does go viral is great. That means we need to spend time focusing on making content the best it can be, and (after taking a look at research on viral trends) that there are a few extra things you can do to add that je ne sais quoi:

Write in-depth posts. Detail is what matters—people want to learn something, and if they’ve learnt something they’ll be more likely to share it.

Cover hot topics. Creating content that’s old hat won’t set the internet alight, so try to focus on topics that are currently making headlines and you could soon make some headway. Of course, the downside to that is you’ll be facing a lot of competition, but if you add your own spin on things and make it truly exceptional (and follow these rules of course) you could soon stand out.
Generate an emotional response. If you’re not connecting with your audience you won’t be going viral anytime soon, so make sure to create content that generates emotion in some way. You need to show you care about your topic, and research has shown that high-energy emotions like anger, awe and anxiety have the best response rates in terms of sharing.

Be practical, surprising and interesting. Need we say more?

Known authors make a difference. We’d all like to think that good content speaks for itself, but actually the credibility, reputation and perceived authority of the author will go a long way to making it really speak to an audience. That means it might be worth aligning yourself with an industry authority who could take charge of any vital piece of content.

Make ‘em laugh. Content that’s gone truly viral is almost always funny. Use humour well and you can enjoy universal appeal, and whilst it may not work with all topics or all kinds of content it’s worth considering if you want to reap the rewards.

So, have you worked these factors into your content creation strategy? If not then now’s the time to do so, and if you do it well you could be one step closer to creating viral content and seeing your SEO results go stratospheric…

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