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5 Ways to Create Viral Content

Author
Victoria Affleck | 3 Dec 2018

Digital marketing executive. Creative wordsmith with an inventive mind. Partial to a brew, or two.

Each day, millions of blog posts are published surrounding a wide variety of topics, so the chances of the blog you are about to publish will have been done a thousand times before is highly likely. Therefore, it is essential to generate content that stands out and grabs the reader’s attention. But, most importantly, the content must be shareable. At its core, viral content generates traffic, which generates more shares, which ultimately boosts everything else, like Google rankings and even sales. When it comes to creating any kind of content, whether it be a blog article, a social media post or a video, it is important to bear in mind how shareable it will be.  

What makes content go viral?

How do you make a post shareable and make sure you are ticking all the right boxes? According to blogger and podcaster Lucy Lucraft, “Creating shareable content is far easier than people think." She says the key is to "make sure your headline is indicative of your content and easy to share (not too long, or clickbait-y) and think about how you want your reader to feel; emotionally uplifted, light-bulb moments of clarity, amused? Offering value is so key, but that doesn't have to be in the form of a listicle. It's also great to include an image, such as a pin-able graphic or even a pre-written tweet that readers can easily share.”

Here at Reboot, we have analysed exactly what makes a piece of content get shared by readers. Read on to find out the best ways to make your content go viral. 

1. Keep content simple and easy to digest

  Photo credit: Gonzalo Aragon / Shutterstock

The key to writing good quality viral content is to make sure it is easy to read and digest, however, this doesn’t always mean writing short ‘cluster’ content. Interestingly, research from Buzzsumo found that longer content between 3,000-10,000 words – otherwise known as ‘pillar’ content – got far more shares (although this is relative to the content you are writing).

BuzzSumo’s ‘Content Analysis’ tool helps to indicate your audience’s preferred content length, which can help you to budget time or money for website content creation. For example, if a competitor has clear success with content ranging between 3,000 and 10,000 words, you may want to plan for more time, or budget to create pieces of similar length. If they get numerous shares for infographics, you may need to add the cost of graphic design or video creation to successfully compete.

In addition, it is worth thinking about the user experience when uploading too. Let’s be honest, no one wants to see paragraph after paragraph with no pictures, as this will prevent your readers from staying on the page and significantly increase the bounce rate. Therefore, make sure that your online content has a range of visuals (pictures, infographics or videos) and break up text by adding in a range of headings and subheadings, with bullet points where possible. 

2. Make your content useful

  Photo credit: Gonzalo Aragon / Shutterstock

When you write viral content for your audience, it is important to make sure it is full of information that your readers want to know. There is no point writing different types of content that isn’t intended for your target audience, otherwise your content is pretty much redundant

When you begin curating engaging content around a certain topic, tools like the ever-popular UberSuggest and Ahrefs enable you to complete valuable keyword research on the topic at hand. By using these content tools, you’ll be able to see how often your potential topic is searched for, and what other related keywords people are looking for surrounding the subject. As a result, this will allow you to think of more robust and targeted content ideas that your readers are looking for on your site, which is crucial for gaining traffic to your site. 

3. Create content that appeals to your audience

  Photo credit: Gonzalo Aragon / Shutterstock

If you are writing content your audience wants to read, they are likely to share it with their like-minded friends and family, as they believe someone else will receive some value from it. If there is no value to anyone in what you have produced, it is unlikely to become a piece of viral content. 

Therefore, it is important to create content people want to read. When creating viral content, the key is to think about user intent and what kind of posts your audience is looking for – is it informational or transactional? This should help to shape your content marketing strategy and make it clear what is most appealing to your target audience. 

One way to do this is by looking at your competitor blog content ideas and evaluating what has worked best for them. Again, you can use BuzzSumo’s ‘Content Analysis’ tool for this, as a way of looking at what kind of content your competitors are getting more engagement for and what platforms are seeing the highest engagement levels – take advantage of this and compete for the top spot!

Think about doing the following exercise:

1)    Making a list of your top five competitors 
2)    Take a look at the last six months of content that they have published
3)    Is there anything in particular that has seen high engagement or anything that you could do better? 

4. Look for relevant trending topics

  Photo credit: Gonzalo Aragon / Shutterstock

Another way to make sure your content is shareable, whether this be through gaining backlinks or on social media, is through capitalising on any trends. The key to this is to make sure you are planning for any events as far in advance as possible – around a month in advance is suitable time frame. You can plan ahead for specific days of the year or month-long events that are of interest on some of the following websites: 

daysoftheyear.com
brainyhistory.com
onthisday.com
ads.twitter.com > Analytics > Events

On top of this, another good way to keep up to date with this is to regularly check the Twitter and Facebook’s “Trending” section. By using specific terms or hashtags that are trending on social media, it can really help to increase your engagement and expand your reach well beyond your Twitter or Facebook followers; particularly useful if you don’t have many.

You can also use Google Trends and BuzzSumo to see what is on the rise and becoming viral content, to take advantage of it. Cobus van Vuuren, an SEO expert, said: “It's also a good idea to research the engagement of the topic you are interested in on sites like Quora and Reddit – if you find something popular then you’re onto a winner”. 

5. Make your content trustworthy 

  Photo credit: Gonzalo Aragon / Shutterstock

It is far from professional to write a piece of content that is factually incorrect, so it goes without saying it is vital that you do your research when writing any form of content. Readers of your blog will immediately doubt your content and may even vow to never visit your site again, which is the last thing you want. So, when website content writing, double check the facts to avoid any embarrassment.

It is also good to include links to trustworthy sources to complement your words, such as high authority websites like .gov and online media outlets, for example – it’s worth checking the site’s DA (domain authority) by downloading the free MOZ SEO toolbar – anything over 30 is considered to be ‘good’.

In actual fact, in one of our studies, we measured whether there is a correlation between the number of outbound links and ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). We found that outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings. 

  Photo credit: Gonzalo Aragon / Shutterstock

To make your piece of content even more trustworthy, consider speaking to an industry professional or someone in the field to provide an exclusive quote, to give their view or some pointers about the topic. It can often be difficult to find contacts, so it is worth getting in touch with people on LinkedIn or utilising social media sites. Twitter is a great platform for this, where you can ask using the hashtags #JournoRequest or #PRrequest. Not only does this create unique content on your site, it could help increase the number of content shares, particularly if the industry professional is a well-known individual in your field.