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How to Create Viral Content

Content Marketing

Jun 25

Let's be honest. Everybody wants their stuff to go viral.

Not only can it be a huge ego-boost, but it's also a surefire way to get a TON of new people to visit your site...

And then buy your products or click your links... or watch your ads or whatever...

But despite the fact that the occasional lucky bastard will make millions off his very first video or post, going viral is hard (and requires a bit of luck.)

Check out what happens Every Minute:​

  • Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content.
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times.
  • Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos.
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content.
  • Apple users download nearly 50,000 apps.
  • Email users send over 200 million messages.
  • Amazon generates over $80,000 in online sales.

Content, in all shapes an sizes, is literally gushing at us 24 hours a day, out of every screen we come in contact with. Read on if you want a fighting chance at getting noticed in the swarm.

​What Makes Content Go Viral?

Is viral content something that happens by chance? Not at all. At least, not in the +95% of cases. We've analyzed experts in the field of viral content as well as studied scientific research made regarding those people who have that “Midas touch” of making content go viral time and time again.

Here’s what they are doing right:

They are arousing people’s primal emotions.

In general, content that is aimed at awakening basic emotions in your audience can be over 10 times more likely to be shared on the net than regular ho-hum content (even when the latter is objectively more valuable to the reader!).

Those who learn to effectively harness to power of the viral-gods can get free traffic and leads in numbers that surpass huge companies with nearly unlimited budgets!

How to Create Viral Content

Creating viral content is a three-step process:

  1. Define your goal
  2. Research and create your content
  3. Share and make the content shareable

Defining Your Goal

Your goal is obviously to get noticed, otherwise you wouldn’t be delving into viral content, right? The thing is, how do you want to get noticed? Here we go back to awakening people’s emotions.

Before you start writing , pick any one of these emotions to focus on. Remember, only pick one for each article or blog post you plan to write:

Joy

Or, if writing's not your thing, cute babies work too :-)

Tell a suspenseful story with a happy ending. This can be a personal story of yours, someone you know, or even something you remember having read online. Aim at uplifting and inspiring people. Share a story in which person overcomes an obstacle and emerges from it even more powerful than before. People love the underdog.

Surprise

Anything that goes against common knowledge. Feel free to break paradigms, go against the norm, and even make use of exaggeration remarks. Examples would be:

– Why being disorganized is better than being organized

- How you can lose weight by eating nothing but Twinkies

– How to make more money by offering less value

Awe

This one is a little tough. To inspire awe you've really got to hit someone with something unfamiliar and out of the box. Keep in mind- it's often times easier to arouse this emotion with pictures or video than with words alone. Some examples of awe worthy content are:

- Natural Phenomena (northern lights, animals saving kids, mountains, etc)

- People who rise above incredibly difficult circumstances (like Kyle Maynard)​

​- Showings of selflessness

Lust

Lust means you will be writing about sex?

Not necessarily. People are down to lust after just about anything: money, fame, knowledge, etc. When trying to create content that evokes lust, ask yourself "what do people want". Then dangle it in front of them or tell them how they can get it.

Hell, even spirituality can be a topic for lust. For instance, article headlines such as “How I achieved enlightenment in less than 30 days” will make spiritual seekers push that “share” button more than you have pressed your keyboard’s space bar in the last hour.​

Fear/ Anxiety

Fear sells better than sex. You need look no further than talk radio or the nightly news to see how well this one works. Fear evoking material is some of the most viral content ever produced.

Fear mongering tactics usually focus on a fear all humans have: the loss of something valuable. It can be our properties, our pets, our lives, or our shoelaces. People are terribly loss averse. Invoke the fear of loss and you'll get people’s attention whether they like it or not.

Anger

Making people angry isn't hard. In fact, a lot of people are pretty pissed already, so pushing them over the edge doesn't take much work. It can be as simple as delivering content detailing a certain unfair or rude act.

Whether it’s a politician enriching himself with “dirty money” or giant corporations making billions by hiring people in third world countries with deplorable working conditions, people love to bitch about the unfairness of it all

It may surprise you, but positive content normally gets shared more than negative content. Also, content that is useful to people, in this case to your target market, will also have a greater chance of getting shared.

Use fear and anger sparingly, too much will actually push your audience away. By making most of your content positive, you will have visitors coming again and again. Metaphorically speaking, positive content is the meal and negative content is the spice.

Research and Create Your Content

​Once you've picked your target emotion, it’s time to do some web surfing. Let your imagination and creativity guide you as there are countless possibilities in this respect. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and try to get a feel for their reactions. It works even better if you happen to be a member of your target audience.

This is also a good time to take advantage of sites like Reddit and YouTube. Check out what's trending at the moment and try to gear your content towards topics that are already getting attention.

Be bold and definitive with your writing. Leave out wishy-washy words like "I think", or "in my opinion". Boldness stands out. And what stands out gets remembered (and passed along.)

​Share and Make Your Content Shareable

​Obviously, your content won’t go anywhere if you don’t share it with others in the first place.

Promote your target piece like hell on social media.

If your target piece is on a blog make sure that it's easily sharable. If people can’t find the “share” button in less than one second, it will pass into oblivion.

Far too many would-be viral pieces of content slip quietly into the darkness because of novice mistakes like this. Don't let it be yours.

Last Words

Creating viral content is both an art and a science. It's a trial and error process in which you will be honing the ability to pull people’s emotional triggers.

Don’t expect all of your content to go viral. It won’t.

Abide by "the law of large numbers" . If you create 10 posts and they don't go viral, it doesn’t mean you have 0% chance of succeeding. It may take many posts before you see a few of them being shared worldwide. 

Even the masters in the field will tell you that only one out of 100 posts will become viral. Sometimes that number is even less. Don't let that hold you back though. As soon as one piece of content goes viral it will open up new avenues and more than reward you for all of your hard work.

Remember: Even if your stuff never goes viral it doesn't mean you can't still be successful. Focus on creating incredible content and your audience will eventually find you, one way or another.

Got any tips for creating viral content? Please share 1 in the comments section!​

P.S. If you enjoyed this article please share it with your friends... maybe it will go viral ;-)

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