The Art Of Making Your Content Go Viral

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“So, content is King is it?” I can hear you saying it now, “I have the content. I have lots of content, but why aren’t I king yet?”. There are many reasons why (besides living in a democratic republic or not being next in line to the throne by blood) your content may not be making you king. You see, when Bill Gates made that statement way back in 1996 he misled a lot of people. It’s not having content that makes you King (although the quality of your content is a major factor), it’s the way in which you implement and share that content, whom you share it with and when that will determine its success. There was a time when simply having some form of content marketing (however ill-strategized) gave businesses a leg up, but those days are long gone. Content marketing is no longer a novelty, in fact it’s used by around 94% of brands. In order to make your voice heard among the masses, you need to give yourself a viral boost. But how?

If there were a single, foolproof way to make your content “go viral”, everyone would be doing it and the exercise would be pointless. However, there are some ways in which your content can be tweaked to enhance your likelihood of going viral.

What is “going viral”?

Many use the term “going viral” in relation to online content without a particularly clear idea of what it means. So, for the sake of clarity, virality is how quickly and widely a piece of content is shared around the world. When content goes viral it’s very often a case of the right people noticing, consuming and distributing the content at the right time. The rise of social media celebrities means that certain people are well placed to share content with their sizeable following and boost its distribution exponentially. These people are called influencers.

While many books and articles claim to be able to impart the secret of virality, the truth is that it’s a process that will occur organically under the right circumstances. While you can’t force these circumstances, there are some things you can do to help yourself…

Invest in regular, high quality, relevant content

Sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it? The fact, however, is that too many businesses think that they can build a powerful content strategy on cheaply sourced, poorly written or irrelevant content, just as you can’t build an impenetrable fortress on sand. Your content should be posted regularly (for regularly read daily), and should be of high quality, written in a way that is SEO friendly (use the Yoast plugin if you need guidance with this). Outsourcing your content is all well and good, but the more specialized your field, the more specialized your content should be. Your content should be attuned to the demands of your target market and address issues, news and trends that matter to them.

Dare to be different

In an age where more providers than ever are dishing out free content to your target audience, it pays to do what you can to make your content look or feel different. For example, turning a regular series of blog posts into an instant Flipbook gives your content the look and feel of a magazine. This will be more appealing to readers and increase their chances of sharing it.

It’s okay to make lists

A small but vocal online subculture look at list articles with disdain, but look at Buzzfeed and you’ll see that some of their most shared articles are in fact lists. Lists are popular because they represent digestible yet information dense format that’s suited for consumption in small doses while on the go (which, in case you weren’t looking is how people consume their content these days).

Have personality

Aside from providing specialist information and the kinds of insights that only you and your insights can give, it’s important to have personality. After all, intelligence is attractive in our friends and loved ones but nobody wants to hang out with a walking encyclopedia. Finding the right balance between personality and making your content feel weighty is a tricky one. Your tone should be engaging without glossing over salient details. You should be funny without being flippant, you should be articulate without being confusing and information dense without being dry.

Finally, know your onions

You can have the punchiest and most engaging prose style in the world, but if your information is incorrect or unfounded, audiences will not forgive you for it. Having someone tear your insights to shreds on social media because you didn’t do you research isn’t a good look on any business.

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