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Socially Stephanie: How to Make Content "Go Viral"
Posted on May 3rd 2014
Dear Socially Stephanie,
I create really good content. But it's not getting the views or shares that I'd hoped for. How can I make my content go viral?
At a Standstill in Sonoma
I like what I'm hearing. Content is the future. Strike that: content is the past, present and the future. Content is and always was what great marketing was built on. Today, that content just lives on a different medium.
I want to prepare you before I launch into this though. There is no magic button to make something "go viral." However, there are some ways to increase your reach and make the sharing contagious.
When it comes to getting found online, the content will do some work for you on its own. As you publish content, keep in mind that it will always live on your website and always be there as a door for new visitors. But if you want to amplify that amount you need to add in another component. And that's where the virality comes to play.
Content + Influence = Authority. Or in other words Content + Sharing = Results.
The result you want is thousands, and maybe if you are lucky, even millions, of visitors and readers. You need both the great content and the targeted Influencers of the web sharing it to get there.
Let's dissect the two of these things. First of all, you need to make sure you are writing the right kind of content. The right content is that which resonates with your audience before anyone else. As Don Draper says, "Don't write for other writers." When you write to your readers for your readers, it will stick. Your content should be so spot-on that your readers will walk away from it saying, "Wow, I was just thinking the same thing." Or "Golly, I was just having that conversation with a friend." Or even "My god, I've always wondered that." You get the point.
So what kind of content works best? By now, you should know what I am going to say. Say it together now.
"It depends on your audience."
And that's true. But across the board there are some types of content that just works better than others. Lists, infographics, digestible information and how-tos are generally stronger than other types of posts. It's proven, so stick with it. It works. Another way to increase your share-ability is to write longer pieces as opposed to shorter. Sounds contradicting right? It's not. Again, it's proven.
That should get you started. Now it's time to get that right content for the right audience into the hands of the right Influencers. Before you do anything else you of course need to get it out to your own followers. Share it and share it often to your lists and through your social channels. If you have been doing a good job keeping up and building a relationship with your audience and niche Influences, I'm sure the right people will pick it up from there. But sometimes you need a little more to go from 0-60 in 5 seconds flat. This is where you'll need to put on your PR hat and engage in a little blogger and influencer outreach. Encourage different bloggers and influencers to share the content. If it's good and resonates with them and you are NICE you'll see good results.
Lastly, think about using a content discovery platform like Outbrain or Taboola to further amplify the reach of your content. These platforms showcase your content on very widely read and targeted sites like US Weekly or even Time. With a little tweaking you can target the right audiences and bring in even more viewers.
Well, you have your work cut out for you. Good luck!
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email SociallyStephanie@socialmediatoday.com and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells