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Be Patient Zero of a Viral Content Outbreak

Have you ever been at the center of a viral content outbreak? The signs of a viral content outbreak can include tweets in the thousands, trending on LinkedIn Today, features on industry websites, such asviral-content-outbreak-social-media Socialmedioplous, and exponentially boosted website traffic. Sometimes, what triggers a viral content outbreak is outside of your control, such as when your content is featured as the top story on Social Media Today or gets tweeted by an industry thought leader like Jeff Bullas.

You cannot control everything that happens to your content after it is published. You simply hope that your insight gets recognized and wish that your content attains high rates of social content curation—spreading throughout social media and across the internet like wildfire. However, in order to increase your chances of being patient zero of a viral content outbreak, the first step is creating something unique, engaging, information-rich, high-impact, highly shareable and infectious—content that your audience will be compelled to promote and share with their social networks of friends and industry contacts.

Each time your content is liked on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, “+1ed” on Google+, shared on LinkedIn or “pinned” on Pinterest, it gets a social stamp of approval—increasing its reach and magnifying your chances for a significant increase in lead generation, enhanced SEO and amplified website traffic.  While there are no silver bullets or surefire ways to create viral content, certain types of content are more likely to be shared on social media.

7 Infectious Content Types

1.  Infographics

2.  Newsjacked Content

3.  Longer, in-depth content, such as educational whitepapers

4.  Content that will reflect positively on those who share it on social media

5.  Content, which triggers happiness, awe, anger or anxiety

6.  Visual content, such as webinars and SlideShare presentations

7.  Hybrid content that mixes mediums like written content, infographics and video

Viral Content Best Practices

Know Which Industry Topics Are Trending on Social Media

Stay current with what is trending on Twitter and LinkedIn Today; see what is hot on Social Media Today.  Explore Topsy to discover the most popular content—sorted by topic—shared on Twitter and the internet as a whole. Consider using Klout to discover what the top influencers in your industry are publishing. You do not want to waste your time creating content that no one will care to read. You can use these resources as inspiration for content topics. However, be sure to present fresh ideas and a unique perspective in your own original content.

Select Highly Clickable Titles

Failing to choose enticing titles for your content can have serious consequences, including lower numbers of views, ineffective SEO and reduced social content curation. Your titles should appear highly shareable—advertising must-read content. While trends and keyword research are critical, resist the urge to jam-pack your titles with keywords, if doing so would leave them too long and awkward-sounding.  Great titles are attention-getting, clear, concise, highly relevant, actionable, authoritative, intriguing and sometimes slightly mysterious.  Do not shy away from humor, intrigue or even provocation. The more clickable your titles, the more your content will be read and shared on social media channels—increasing traffic and generating fresh leads.

Make Your Content Easy to Consume

People are deluged with a surplus of content and data on a daily basis. In order to get and keep the attention of your audience, structure your content so that it can be easily skimmed by including paragraph headlines, lists and bullet points. A neat, ordered structure allows readers to skip to the information, which they are most interested in—increasing the likelihood of you getting their social stamps of approval.

Appeal to the Emotions of Your Audience

Ensure that your content is unique in order to draw in a larger captive audience.  Use active storytelling to promote engagement, and do not be bashful about your opinions.  A strong viewpoint is far more interesting than the ramblings of “wafflers” who are unwilling to express their true beliefs due to a fear of offending anyone on the other side of their argument.  Tap into the emotions of your audience.  Trigger high-impact responses of happiness, awe, anger or anxiety, which all increase the likelihood of social sharing.

10 Characteristics of Highly Shareable Content           

1.  It covers real-time, relevant issues or news.

2.  It includes captivating images.

3.  It includes compelling and illustrative infographics.

4.  Highly shareable content has breadth and depth.

5.  It shares fresh, original thinking.

6.  It relates to hot topics blowing up in the news a la newsjacking.

7.  Highly shareable content is not solely focused on pushing products or services.

8.  It is free of spelling errors, typos and grammatical and editing flaws.

9.  It is visually interesting and presented in an organized fashion.

10.  It showcases industry-relevant thought leadership.

Create content that compels social sharing, because it is high-quality, unique, information-rich and relevant.  Strategic content marketing can improve your SEO, greatly increase website traffic and prompt higher lead generation.  Fail to produce high-quality content at your own peril, because you cannot generate social capital without it.  Creating highly shareable content could get you recognized as an industry thought leader, greatly increase your reach, generate and convert more leads, and perhaps even help you become patient zero of your own viral content outbreak.


Join The Conversation

  • Monica Romeri's picture
    Mar 1 Posted 4 years ago Monica Romeri

    Thanks for your comment Brian.  I am glad you enjoyed the article, and I like your point about employing fun interactivity.  

  • DeKoning's picture
    Mar 1 Posted 4 years ago DeKoning

    This is a great post in that it gives marketers a very good jumping off point for generating new content ideas. So, thanks for sharing it, Monica! I was thinking about a similar topic this morning - the ingredients of a succesful video meme - after watching, reluctantly, the Miami Heat's Harlem Shake video. So one more element I would add is a level of fun interactivity so people can add their personality, share it, and contribute to a larger trend. Just one more for your already impressive list.

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