7 tips for creating viral content

We all want our content to go viral in the same way we all want to win the Lotto, but in reality, creating content that takes the internet by storm is a lot harder than including a funny picture of a cat (not to say we don't love a good picture of a cat).

The secret behind creating content that goes viral is exactly that, a secret.

In fact, one of the biggest pain points for marketers is producing content that is engaging. According to Content Marketing Institute, the biggest problem for B2B marketers is producing the type of content that engages content – with 60% listing it as a problem.

However, if you have your heart set on reaching the masses with viral content, here's a few tips the social media analytics experts at BuzzSumo shared with OkDork.

Produce long-form content

The internet is flooded with small blogs and articles. According to BuzzSumo, there's 16 times more articles with less than 1,000 words than there are articles with more than 2000 words.

In most cases we would say having short and sweet content that consumers can quickly look over is best practice, but when it comes to viral content, it pays to go in-depth.

By analysing the top 10% of most shared articles, the folks at BuzzSumo found that on average, long-form content gets shared more than short-form content.

In fact, the longer the content, the better it performs, with 3,000-10,000 word pieces getting the most amount of shares (with an average of 8,859 shares).

Always include pictures, ALWAYS

Including images in your content works wonders. On average, content with images get twice the number of shares.

Get emotional

To make an impression on your readers, it's important to connect with them on an emotional level - but we don't mean make them cry. By looking at the chart below you can see the most popular three most common emotions invoked through viral content are: awe (25%) laughter (17%) and amusement (15%).

Make listicles

List posts receive more shares on average than other content types, with 10 being the magic number.

The guys at BuzzSumo found that having 10 item lists receive an average of 10,621 social shares, four times more shares than the second most popular number: 23.

Be genuine

Showing that your brand is authentic is a great way to earn their trust, and in turn, their loyalty. Make sure all your website has up to date company information and encourage your staff to have social profiles such as LinkedIn. BuzzSumo found that Twitter profiles with a byline received far more engagement and social shares than those without a byline or bio.

Promote, then re-promote

Online content has a low shelf life. After three days, the number of shares a post receives drops by 96% across all social networks.

BuzzSumo looked at the posts that were still doing well after four days and found the reason behind it was that the brands were re-promoting their content 11 days after it was published, so don't be afraid to re-post and recycle old content.

The post is going up, on a Tuesday!

Posting on a Tuesday is the best way to go for most social sites, with LinkedIn and Pinterest being Monday.

By applying these tips to your content strategy you should have a better shot at creating viral content. However, we believe going for the slow and steady, programmatic approach - producing high-quality engaging content over time - is far more effective than having a one hit wonder.


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