In the digital age, creating viral content is a key goal for brands looking to expand their reach and get talked about. But crafting content that takes off organically is easier said than done.
This article will explore 8 proven tips and tricks to make your content contagious so it spreads like wildfire across the internet.
Viral content refers to any type of media like articles, videos, images, or posts that gets rapidly and widely shared online in a short time.
In many cases, viral pieces seem to explode almost instantly, getting massively circulated by audiences across social platforms and sites.
What is Viral Content?
Viral content typically displays some key traits:
- Wide appeal – Interesting, relevant, and accessible to large audiences
- Easy to consume – Bite-sized, digestible, snackable formats
- Highly sharable – Inspires social sharing across networks
- Evokes emotion – Triggers positive or negative high-arousal feelings
- Compelling hook – Grabs attention within first few seconds
Why is Viral Content Important?
Viral content presents huge opportunities for brands to:
- Expand reach exponentially
- Drive brand awareness rapidly
- Increase site traffic and inbound links
- Cultivate engaged social followers
- Position themselves as trendsetters
But perhaps most importantly, content that goes viral gives brands the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing as millions pass it along and talk about it.
How to Create Viral Content: 8 Tips and Tricks
Let’s explore tactics to make your content contagious.
Tip 1: Understand Your Audience
The foundation of impactful content is intimately knowing your target audience. Their interests and habits determine what will resonate and spread.
Who Are You Creating Content For?
- Map out audience demographics like age, gender, income, location
- Determine their psychographics – beliefs, values, attitudes
- Understand where they consume content – sites, platforms, influencers
What Are Their Interests?
- What topics, industries, and hobbies appeal to them?
- What trends, current events, and ideas fascinate them right now?
- Where are their attention and conversations focused?
What Are Their Pain Points?
- What challenges and problems do they face?
- What questions and needs do they have?
- How can you help address their pain points?
How Can You Create Resonant Content?
Truly knowing your audience allows you to identify exactly how to grab their attention and fill their needs. Tailor content specifically to who you want to reach and what will matter to them.
Tip 2: Create High-Quality Content
Great writing, information, and visual presentation are prerequisites for content to be deemed viral-worthy. Follow best practices in your medium and genre.
Ensure Content is Well-Written
- Craft compelling headlines and intros that hook readers
- Maintain a conversational, engaging writing voice
- Format content for readability – headers, bullet points, etc
- Proofread thoroughly for typos, grammar, inaccuracies
Make Content Informative and Engaging
- Research the topic thoroughly to provide real utility
- Share interesting facts, data points, and examples
- Include expert perspectives, interviews, and quotes
- Insert humor, emotion, and personality where appropriate
Make Content Visually Appealing
- Use high-quality, relevant images to add visual interest
- Add graphics like charts, illustrations, and infographics
- Embed videos or GIFs to make content interactive
- Ensure consistent formatting and branding
Invest time to make your content truly high-caliber in every aspect. This builds trust and authority with audiences.
Tip 3: Promote Your Content
To ignite the viral process, targeted promotion helps get initial views, shares, and momentum. Leverage a mix of channels.
Promote on Social Media
- Share content from brand social accounts
- Engage followers by commenting and liking their posts
- Run social ads targeting relevant interests
- Partner with influencers in your niche to share content
Promote Through Email Marketing
- Share new content in email newsletters and updates
- Promote segmented lists based on their interests
- Write compelling subject lines to drive opens
Guest Blog on Industry Sites
- Pitch relevant blogs and publishers to accept guest posts
- Secure backlinks and expose content to new audiences
- Ensure guest posting guidelines are followed
Focus both on getting content in front of your existing audience and exposing it to new potential sharers through strategic promotion.
Tip 4: Make Content Easy to Share
The viral effect relies on audiences being able to instantly share your content across their networks. Minimize friction in the process.
Include Social Sharing Buttons
- Add Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest share buttons
- Use horizontal sharing bars near the headline and bottom of the post
- Ensure buttons are visible on mobile
Use Hashtags and Tag Relevant Accounts
- Include a branded hashtag for followers to use
- Tag any featured or mentioned accounts
- Add popular related hashtags to improve discovery
Create Sharable Images and Videos
- Design infographics, quote cards, and other visuals to share
- Pull compelling quotes, stats, and excerpts to spotlight
- Produce short snippet videos that preview your content
The more seamless you make sharing, the faster content can spread to new networks.
Tip 5: Be Timely and Relevant
Content that connects to current events and topics buzzing online has a built-in chance to ride waves of interest. Stay alert for opportunities.
Comment on Trending News
- React to the latest developments people are discussing
- Provide context, interpretation, and opinions
- Localize trending stories for your audience
Create Content Around Trends
- Identify viral trends like dance challenges or meme formats
- Add your brand’s take for a fresh spin
- Align content with awareness days and events
Capitalize on Pop Culture Moments
- Award shows, album releases, season premieres – tap into fan excitement
- Analyze online conversations in real time to identify viral moments
- Be nimble – strike while people are engaged to maximize exposure
Tying into the zeitgeist of what people are intrigued by generates momentum for your content.
Tip 6: Use Humor and Emotion
Content that makes people laugh or tugs at their heartstrings gets shared more than strictly factual information. Elicit reactions.
Incorporate Humor When Possible
- Use witty writing, amusing observations, or irony
- Create formats with humor built-in like sketches or comics
- Poke fun at familiar situations people relate to
Focus on Positive Emotions
- Uplifting stories of triumphs and kindness
- Inspiring narratives and examples
- Showcase “feel good moments” – cute animals, kids, etc
Don’t Shy Away From Some Controversy
- Debate both sides of a contentious issue thoughtfully
- Highlight injustices in need of awareness
- Express righteous indignation at appropriate targets
Making audiences smile, tear up or cheer gives content more stopping power as people look to share the emotional experience.
Tip 7: Tell a Story
Human beings are wired to respond to stories. Craft compelling narratives people connect with and want to pass along.
Spotlight Interesting People
- Profile inspiring founders, innovators, and thought leaders
- Share underdog success stories people root for
- Introduce characters your audience cares about
Use Storytelling Formats
- Investigate intriguing mysteries, scandals, and “unsolved” cases
- Feature motivating interviews with your heroes
- Use before-and-after and rags-to-riches formats
Structure Content Like Fiction
- Establish a relatable protagonist
- Introduce conflict and stakes
- Build to a climax and resolution
Leveraging storytelling elements like character, plot, and narrative arc gives content more magnetism.
Tip 8: Analyze and Refine
Watch how your content performs and see what resonates. Double down on what works and improve on what doesn’t.
Identify Top-Performing Content
- Review analytics to see the biggest traffic and social drivers
- Note topics, formats, and angles that attract engagement
- Spot when and where content spreads fastest
Find Pattern in Virality
- When did shares occur – what prompted them?
- Who responded strongest – target personas? Influencers?
- What platform or channel worked best?
Optimize Future Content Accordingly
- Give people more of the type of content that worked
- Adapt formats that attracted interaction
- Craft content for contexts and channels that drove sharing
Analyzing viral wins allows you to refine strategies to create consistently contagious content.
To quickly recap, here are the key ingredients for creating viral content:
- Know your target audience deeply
- Produce high-quality, compelling content
- Promote content across channels
- Make sharing frictionless
- Align with trends and current events
- Elicit emotional reactions
- Tell gripping stories
- Study viral patterns and optimize
Combining these elements will give you the best shot at developing content that spreads far and wide across the social web.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the best social media platforms for promoting viral content?
A: Currently, the top platforms for viral content include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Reddit, and Snapchat due to their massive user bases, sharing capabilities, and algorithmic feeds.
Q: How can I create sharable images and videos?
A: Design eye-catching thumbnails, pull interesting stats, add captions/text overlays, use bold graphics, crop for multiple formats, and produce snippet videos that preview content.
Q: How do I find out what topics are trending?
A: Use social listening tools like Buzzsumo, Talkwalker, and Sprout Social to identify hot topics. Check trending hashtags on social sites. Follow influencers in your niche to stay on the pulse.
Q: How do I write controversial content without being offensive?
A: Do not attack or insult groups and communities. Aim for thoughtful debate and discussion. Represent all perspectives fairly. Be cautious with humor.
Q: How do I tell a story in my content?
A: Establish engaging characters/subjects, have a situation develop, build up conflict, and drive toward resolution. Structure content in storytelling formats like profiling interesting people. Use narrative elements like flashbacks.
Creating viral content opens up immense opportunities for brands seeking high visibility and large-scale audience engagement.
By tapping into psychological triggers like humor, emotion, and storytelling combined with smart promotion across social channels, you can develop content that spreads across the internet like wildfire.
Analyzing performance metrics helps continuously refine your viral approach over time. With these tips, you can craft content that fascinates and resonates with audiences to the point that they can’t help but share.