How to Create Viral Content for the Web
Viral content is the idea of creating online content that has the ability to spread throughout the web, via social media channels and websites, to further raise awareness to a brand. The results of this viral content could cause a great increase in sales. However, creation of viral content is a difficult task because it isn't a definitive science and not all great content has the ability to reach the masses.
This article will attempt to share how to create viral content for the web using techniques and strategies that have been effective in previous content that has taken over the web.
Before Starting: The Main Topic
As noted, not all greatly written content has the ability to spread like wildfire across the web. It truly comes down to the topic and how it plays into the interest of the large, online social communities.
Topics should be chosen based loosely on elements such as whether it's a topic that is not relatively known, trending or has lasting power. An example would be breaking news of celebrities or a highly detailed tutorial on a new piece of software or technology.
Choose a topic that is both entertaining and informational. People are far more likely to share articles, videos and audio that other user can have a laugh at or that greatly increases the value of their lives. Once the topic is chosen, begin the process of researching and involving oneself into the subject as much as humanly possible to understand every element of the topic. This will bring the right kind of information to the piece.
The Right Medium for Content
With a topic in mind, it's now important to understand which medium will have the greatest effect for creating viral content. This could be articles, info-graphics, video, audio podcasts, pictures, slideshows and more.
The medium of the potential viral content will be dependent on the type of content that is readily passed around the social circles that related to the industry one would target. Articles will be infinitely more effective than video for older crowds where as the opposite is true for a younger audience.
Choose a medium that is the best vehicle for sharing the information related to the topic and will have the ability to easily be passed around the web using social media and embedding to websites.
Elements of Viral Content
As noted in the beginning, it's difficult to gauge whether content has the ability to go viral on the web because it relies on many factors that are often out of one's control, such as current interests, trends, medium and topic. The best piece of information related to a topic, no matter how valuable it may be, will not go viral if people do not find it particularly helpful and entertaining for their current needs and wants.
However, there are a few elements of viral content that can be said from those that have experienced the effect from earlier attempts seen on the web:
An enticing headline - The headline should be wildly entertaining, informational and edgy in order to capture the attention of Internet users. The headline will help project the content beyond the point of origin and greatly influence how well it spreads amongst social media users.
A powerful opener - The first few elements (paragraphs, minutes of video, opening audio) of viral content needs to be powerful and explosive. It needs to create instant excitement that will keep the viewer or reader highly engaged throughout the entirety of the content.
The content substance - Once a viewer or reader is engaged in the content, it's vitally important to provide something extremely valuable or entertaining that makes up for the use of their time. Provide something that encourages viewers or readers to forward it on to their friends and family on social networks.
The scanable structure - A subsection of the content, structure is a vital element of viral content. It will allow viewers or readers to easily understand or become entertained rather than forcing them to put additional time into the effort in order to appreciate the information. The content should be easily consumed.
The closing call-to-action - Prior to ending the content, it's imperative to close the information with a call-to-action which will encourage user to share it across the web. These call-to-actions can come in the form of a simple line of text that tells people to share or even as elaborate as social media buttons.
The elements listed above are merely guidelines for increasing the chances of content going viral across the web. As noted, it's extremely difficult to determine whether things will ultimately come to fruition, but a constant test of these in each piece of content could prove to be extremely beneficial in the event that content takes off and spreads around the web and pulls in thousands of new visitors.