The expression “going viral” is frequently used by Internet marketers and publishers to describe a phenomenon whereby digital content becomes wildly popular through sharing on various online platforms. Viral content these days has the potential of becoming a featured news headline due to the interconnection between online social networking and traditional media outlets.
Viral content these days is not limited to Internet marketers. News media outlets, authors and online enthusiasts are locked in competition to beat each other at featuring content that has the potential of going viral. There are various motivations behind viral content besides marketing; for example, authors, journalists and artists want to get noticed, political or ideological activists wish to propagate an idea, pranksters want to gauge audience reaction, webmasters want to generate website traffic, etc. The common goal is to increase page views, which in the Information Age have become invaluable.
Some Internet analysts believe that viral content happens at random, and this is true to a certain extent; however, creating viral posts can be achieved with a designed strategy that minimizes trial and error. Here are five points to keep in mind when creating blog posts and other content intended to go viral:
1) Go long and inject character: Writing informative posts that are between 300 and 500 words in length are good for blog maintenance purposes and to keep readers engaged. Going viral requires quality in-depth analysis that examines various arguments. A short essay that presents multiple points of view on a complex subject will often feature more than 1,000 words.
2) Help your audience: Well-written blog posts that are informative and helpful motivate readers to share among their social circles. This requires examining a problem and offering one or more solutions that readers can actually put into practice. This type of blog posts are more effective when they present a good amount of detail. The solutions should be written in a step-by-step format with a bullet list or numbered layout.
3) Always include visual media: Each blog post should be accompanied by an image, audio file or video. Pictures are the easiest to implement; they can often go viral on their own if they are original and interesting. A short blog post that includes and attractive and engaging infographic also has great potential to achieve viral status. Videos are the future of Internet content, but audiences can be very discerning in this regard. A high-quality video will stand on its own, but a crudely recorded video will require a lengthy, high-quality post to complement it.
4) Fact-check all information: A sure-fire way to lose and alienate blog readers is to publish poorly researched content that is not factual. This does not mean that a blog writer is not entitled to opinion, but hyperbolic opinions that are not in line with basic facts are never welcome.
5) Follow social media trends: One of the great features of online social networking is that it can be measured in many ways. Social media search engines usually rank topics that are trending and going viral at the top. Blog authors should keep their fingers on the pulse of social media trends when they are evaluating topics to write about and to get ideas on what they should work on next.