Every day we hear about viral content marketing – a new post or an image that goes wildly popular overnight. On every social platform, people jump onto the same discussion, throwing comments and opinions everywhere!
All thanks to the vast digital landscape, you don’t have to be Adele, of the Jonas lot, or a Kardashian to create viral posts. There is a broad margin for us to acquire the same (or even higher) share volume.
The secret of viral content marketing success
Marketers everywhere struggle to create content that causes a ripple effect. They drop their virtual pebbles in the digital pond and expect a series of ripples that span all over the web and social media. Such posts receive millions of shares within a few minutes, and traffic to your site multiplies like crazy!
However, it is not as simple as it appears to be. The humungous heap of content in the digital world brings in aggressive competition. Plus, the attention span of human beings has shrunken to eight seconds. You have to make a hit within this limit.
Viral posts are tough to pull off, no questions asked!
A content marketing study by Backlinko recently revealed that a small percentage (0.01%) of content (called “Power Posts”) drives most social sharing. In other words, most content generates zero shares!
Yet on the other side, we see some entities consistently making it big.
- 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity by Buzzfeed obtained 13.3 million views
- 50 People You Wish You Knew In Real Life by Buzzfeed got 11.5 million views
- 12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Music by Buzzfeed got 9.5 million views
The list goes on.
But the point is, what is their secret formula for success?
Experts believe there is an inexplicable element of timing and luck when it comes to viral content. It can be a cutesy video of twin babies babbling around or deep-dive biographies of influential personalities. But for the most part, it is about strategy, thought, and attention to detail.
This brings us to the next section –
Posts that go viral
Viral posts contain three elements: strong content, a great catch, and an understanding of the audience. Let’s move ahead and probe into the science of posts most likely to go viral:
Regardless of age and gender, everyone needs pep talk once in a while. Something that boosts morale and jolts them with energy!
Motivational quotes, including images and inspiring text, have become a popular form of viral content marketing on the internet. A group of researchers analyzed New York Times articles that were among the top 20 most shared, tweeted, and emailed articles. Those with inspirational words like profound, awe, appreciate were more likely to be viral among readers.
Brands can also tailor their message and give users a personalized message by editing personal cues. They can play around with background imagery and incorporate a brand palette that aligns. Companies can make their audience feel in a certain way by posting inspiring content related to their field.
For example, Coca Cola ran the #ShareACoke campaign. It encouraged people to share their joy with their fellows. The distinct nature of this campaign attracted millions. Not only the campaign itself but the content circulating it also turned out successful.
You need to strike the right cords at the right time. For that, you must create content around a topic that’s blowing up. Hop onto the wave and make sure you reach the top!
In simpler words, look around for the hottest topic. For instance, in 2015, a post about Zombies and apocalypse could have brought you the highest viewership. Fox News published an article “Zombie-themed “walking dead” cruise setting sail in January.” This post got 400, 000 comments. It received around five times more shares than its other popular content.
Hence, you need to figure out what’s hot and what’s not. Craft a piece of content within a short span so that it can be relevant. The best way to find growing topics is through Google Trends. You can check out the local as well as international discussions in trend. Right now, crafting a post about COVID-19 and somehow relating it to your niche would be perfect. Or you can write about a national incident and how your brand condemns the tragedy.
Humorous and amusing stuff
When you scroll down, and a post makes you laugh, you can’t stop but share it. Right?
Most people log onto social media because they need a break from monotony. As soon as they come across a meme or a funny post, they share and tag others. A study by the New York Times found one of the common reasons people share content is to bring valuable, entertaining content to their friends.
When more people start sharing the post on their profiles, it gets viral overnight. People repost and share until it becomes a drag. And that’s your win as a content developer!
This is a nook where only a few people dare to enter. Tap into sensitive topics, and you will be top trending in no time. But the risks of this practice are pretty high. Controversial posts can divide your audience. There will be a tribe supporting you and others that pledges never to look at any of your content.
Controversial posts always focus on the unpopular opinion. For example, Seth Adam’s “Marriage isn’t for you,” received more than 1.8 million shares on Facebook. Major publications like Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Mail Online, and others also published the write-up. It resonates with so many people because:
- It tempts us into murky waters
- It speaks out loud their concealed thoughts
Speaking of the same subject, Donald Trump has set a considerable track record of controversy through his posts. He is divisive, but he has a tribe with similar opinions on his profile. The interaction on these controversial posts is higher than the ordinary posts.
Quiz or Contest
This is yet another kind of post that makes it to the viral content marketing list. Posting quiz contests and visual puzzles will excite your audience. They take it as a challenge to solve the quiz and forward it to their friends on the list.
As per a survey by Buzzsumo, a quiz goes viral if it has three main ingredients:
The quiz must be meaningful for the person who takes it. Make him/her the star of your viral social exam. When you have indulged in the quiz taker, they feel a strong compulsion to share your post. It will suck in more participants, increasing traction.
The key here is to pick quiz areas according to the demographics of the target population. For instance, Harry Potter quizzes receive clicks from kids and adults alike. They want to know whether they are Team Harry or Team Malfoy. They want to see if they would pass their exams Hermoine-style or Ron-style. So you can create a quiz like, “Which Harry Potter character are you?” by Buzzfeed.
Make sure that the quiz relates to your brand. It must spark creativity and increased demand for your product/service(s). Also, it must be practical and informative for your niche. It will help people to relate to your brand.
Visual content has proven to be one of the most efficient and effective ways to get your message across. For brands, they allow the audience to put a face on it and make the brand more relatable. They can also use visuals to show “behind the scenes” of their operations. Or they can show the product/service(s) in action.
If you use relevant images, you will be able to drive 94% more views as compared to having no photos. Plus, 65% of the information in pictures is more likely to retain after three days.
Besides the photos, you can also use videos in the viral content marketing strategy. In fact, some marketers believe it should play a leading role in your content marketing strategy. It adds voice and sound to your brand’s personality.
A great example is Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” Campaign. It features the inner thoughts women experience while working out, followed by a sense of accomplishment upon completion. The witty and honest sound bites pay off. Till now, the video has more than eight million views on YouTube!
Some of the reasons include:
- Higher engagement
- Customer retention
- Better SEO
- Strong emotional connections
Make it a motive to grab users’ attention while they skim through the thicket of images, videos, and articles on the web. It should be concrete enough to make users click the share button within a blink.
Parting Thoughts – take the cyber world by storm!
Viral content marketing is no longer a matter of chance or luck. It is a strong brew of emotional factors and crafty skills. Marketers who crack the code can eventually reach for the volumes they wish for.
When outlining your next campaign, don’t forget to give this blog a second read. And last but not least, share your views and opinions with us in the comments section below.