Admit it! All bloggers and content marketers dream of creating viral content. Content that spreads like wild fire in social media or any online marketing avenue for that matter is not a dream. We know most big names do it! We wish we knew what the secret ingredients are? Wouldn't it be nice to find the components of a viral post with research backed data?
Well, that's exactly what you get with this viral content infographic.
Infographic source: Backlinko.com
1 - Use Numbers in Your Title
List posts are one of the best post types as people like quick lists. What better way to get attention than to provide a list of actionable tips, resources or tools.
Titles with numbers generate 36% more clicks. Numbers get more clicks - Brian Dean, Backlinko.com
Odd numbers perform slightly better than even numbers and have a click through rate [CTR] of 20%.
2 - Use Brackets [where Appropriate]
Headlines with brackets have an increase in click through rate by 38%.
You can use the bracket to describe the content type for example - eBook, Video, Case Study or Infographic.
3 - Use Short URL's
Short URL's have 2.5 times higher chance of attracting a click.
I will admit it, I am guilty of not following this and time to make a change. It is never too late!
A short URL:
4 - The URL Should be Descriptive
Using short URL's does not mean you use non descriptive URL's. In fact, your URL should be descriptive. A descriptive URL is readable to both humans and search engine bots.
A descriptive URL:
A non-descriptive URL:
5 - Have a Colorful Image before the Users have to Scroll
Colorful images grab attention; they also make the page look attractive.
Images can improve readability.
Content with images are viewed 94% more on social media compared to those without.
6 - Put Social Share Buttons at the Top of the Page
Using social share buttons that scroll along the page is even better.
- They are always visible and a constant reminder for the reader to share
- Users don't have to scroll up or down to find them
- They are easy and convenient to use
Elements on a page above the fold are viewed by 63% more users.
7 - Start with Short Sentences
Quick, the reader is going to hit the back button
switch to another tab.
You need to grab the reader's attention upfront.
Use short sentences.
Guilty as charged -> change of tactic required.
Short sentences increase readability by 58%.
8 - Use Images to Build Credibility
Content with images can build credibility. You can use any image that is of good quality.
An image of a statistic or screenshot or even just a simple image that is relatable will do the job.
9 - Make Text Scannable
Short sentences, short paragraphs, subheadings, numbered lists and bullet points make the text more readable.
Scannable content increases readability by 47%.
10 - Provide Practical Content
Your content should be actionable and useful.
In theory every tip is great.
Why is your tip great?
What is the proof?
Instead of just saying - "do this" try to provide details on how to do it.
Instead of just saying use StumbleUpon to drive traffic, I produced an infographic that shows how to use StumbleUpon.
11 - Use Professional Images
Everyone knows content quality matters; image quality matters too.
Professional images do not have to be paid images, check out the guide below!
Finding free professional images is not easy and we have put together a visual guide to finding free images.
Did you know Facebook posts with professional images get 121% more shares?
12 - Use Emotions
Content that evoke an emotional reaction has 28% better chance of going viral.
Emotional reaction could be positive or negative; such as laughter or anger. Similar to the kids animated movie - Inside Out.
13 - Create Infographics
Infographics have 2.3 times higher share rate in social media than how-to posts.
Infographics make a great viral post. Of course the content and design have to come together.
Make sure the story stands out in the infographic and not the statistics.
14 - More Images = More Shares
Content with one image has at least one reason to be shared. So why stop there?
Provide more images so there are more chances of being shared and viewed in social media.
Content with at least one image received 94% more views in social media.
15 - Include Influencers
This could be an example of how an influencer achieved a result, a statistic or a quote.
Including influencer alone can make or break a piece of content going viral.
When including an influencer, make sure it is relevant to the content and not a pure marketing tactic. The honest truth is, not all influencers will take note of you or their inclusion. Don't be disappointed, if they respond think of it as a bonus. At the least you will create a list of influencers who do respond.
16 - Include a Personalized Call to Action - Ask for Social Share
A CTA specific to a post has 42% better performance than a generic one.
17 - Produce long Form Content
Long form content has a better chance of going viral; in fact they have 76.8% better chance of going viral. Aim for posts over 1,500 words. The longer the better your chances of creating a viral post.
Longer content has a better chance of ranking in the first page in Google; they also attract the most social media attention.
A BuzzSumo analysis of a popular blogging site - Number of social shares vs content length.
18 - Include a Featured Image
Always include a featured image and depending on the plugins you use the featured image can be displayed in social media. I use Yoast SEO plugin (WordPress) for many reasons and this is definitely one.
19 - SEO Tag Copy = Adwords Ad
Search for your topic in Google and see the ads that come up. Create your SEO title and description similar to those ads. This trick is to maximise clicks on search engine results.
20 - Use Hashtags to Your Advantage
Are you using hashtags to amplify your content reach in social media?
Hashtags are not just used in Twitter but also in Facebook and Google+
Tweets with hashtags have a 55% better chance of being retweeted.
21 - Best Publishing Time: 8 am to 12 pm
27% of all social shares take place between 8 am and 12 pm US Eastern time. I am not a big follower of publishing time as much as social promotion times. If you have been blogging for some time, you would know Monday to Friday is good to get your content into social media channels. Ideally, spend more time promoting your content than creating it. Keep a small budget for promoting your content if you can afford it.
Last but not the least, manage your expectation about creating viral content. Every post you produce is not going to be viral but you can work towards creating one or two viral posts. From there who knows, your blogging or content marketing may take a different path. Be patient and consistent with your content. Here's to your next viral post!