It is every blogger or Internet marketer’s dream that their content will go viral, meaning that it will be shared thousands of times, thus resulting in a massive stampede of traffic to the site, which may even cause servers to crash under the weight of its popularity.
However, several things are put into effect in order to make virality happen.
The content first must be well written, original, and be something that readers will want to share with others. While there is no set formula or guarantee that content (no matter how well it is written) will go viral, the following are some suggestions on how popular content gets its footing.
Outline The Benefits Or Incentives
One of the easiest ways to convince a reader that content is good enough to be shared is to let them know why it would be harmful not to follow its advice or instructions. Once the reader has decided to heed its suggestions, they will most likely also want to pass it on to as many people as possible.
Some title examples of using this method of writing include “How to Prevent a Company From Collapsing” or “The Best Ways to Keep All Your Data Safe”. Describing the problem and then explaining the solutions will not only educate the reader, but using this “crisis” perspective will make for more motivated readers.
Oftentimes, the word crisis is brought up with a negative connotation. However, these types of urgency-themed messages can also be utilized from a positive standpoint, such as “Want 50% Off The Social Media Week Tickets?” or “Clearance Sale Ends Tomorrow on These Products”.
For the most part, positive crisis spins are shorter because there aren’t necessarily any problems to solve that take time to explain.
Be Controversial Or Interesting
Saying something that isn’t the popular opinion, or bringing up topics in a new light that hasn’t been mentioned before is one of the easiest ways to become viral. However, it is usually the most time-consuming because it takes a lot of ingenuity to write a piece of content that is something no one else wants to bring up or has thought up in the exact way before.
Playing the devil’s advocate will always stir up interesting and traffic. It can also help drive discussion in the blog comment area. Constructive criticism and discussion can help drive viral content just as much as the original piece of content.
Oftentimes, it helps to write down an idea for a blog post or piece of content right when they are thought of, instead of promising to write it later. Having an original thought about a topic is often hard to remember later. If a piece of paper is not handy, send an email with the idea or save it in a spreadsheet.
Appeal To The Ego
Good examples of involving the reader by using the 2nd person include, “How to Download Your Photos From Facebook” or “10 Ways to Tell if You’re an Entrepreneur” instead of “Facebook Photo Download Instructions” or “Signs of an Entrepreneur.” Simply using the word, “you” can make a title standout and garner interest.
Make It Easy To Share
Even if a piece of content is original, strong, and has great points, if it isn’t easy to share, it isn’t going anywhere. Use sharing widgets like AddtoAny or many of the WordPress plugins (for self-hosted WordPress blogs) will help readers share and distribute content.
In addition to sharing options for the top social networking and bookmarking sites (like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and Google+), there should also be options for printing and emailing the blog post.
In a true “cart before the horse” metaphor, it helps to be an established blog or website in order for content to go viral. If someone is respected in their field, their content is much more likely to be shared often and regularly. But without well written (and usually viral content), a writer won’t become respected or well-known in their field.
There are ways about this, such as guest blog posting on other more popular blogs can help drive traffic to the author’s website and to get name exposure.
Additionally, consistently providing high-quality and thought-provoking content will make even the newest blogger more popular with every piece of content they publish. Keep in mind, consistently updated blogs are also more likely to be picked up and indexed by search engines.
In conclusion, even though the following guidelines don’t guarantee content going viral, it can help. Appealing to user’s needs, egos, and the desire to share and promote good content are all components of building a high-traffic blog with regular return traffic and email subscribers (of whom hopefully translate into customers).
Focusing on the quality of a piece, instead of its potential to go viral, will always help it more in the long run than any share buttons or mentions of “you” ever could.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.