5 ways to get your content to go viral
Kitty Harris
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
3 min read

5 ways to get your content to go viral

Going viral is the pinnacle of content marketing. Having your website shared across thousands of platforms all over the world means that your website is valued by readers and reaches a wider pool of people. But what triggers this reaction in some posts and not in others? How can you predict and create posts that will have that contagious factor? Well, although there is some content that goes viral for reasons known only to those that share it (who didn’t love the planking craze?) there are some actionable similarities when you compare content across the board.
 
1. Trigger an emotional response.
The stand out feature of every viral post is its ability to make the reader feel something. Whether that’s amusement, sadness or anger, it doesn’t matter as long as the emotion has some weight to it. Evoking a strong response in people will ensure they want their friends to know about it and hence the sharing begins. The feeling of nostalgia is particularly evocative, hence those ‘only 90s kids will remember’ posts that are everywhere.

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2. List it.
Listed content is some of the most shared on the web. Bite-sized, easy to digest, list-format posts are the king of viral content. Why else would we all be reading '14 times spaghetti lived by its own damn rules’? It is simply a combination of an engaging headline and the infamous list, meaning you can click, read and absorb it quickly.
 
3. Surprise people.
Causing a stir on the internet can be as simple as writing content that is surprising. Find an unexpected slant on a subject and come at it from that angle – ‘Studies show that graduates are more likely to eat doughnuts’ provokes a need to click on the article in order to discover how the headline could possibly be true. And once it is discovered to be true (let’s hope those studies stack up) then there is the incentive to share in order to notify the world.
 
4. Tell them where they are going wrong.
People hate to think that they might be missing out. Capitalise on this human flaw by creating content that focuses on what you could be doing wrong. Let them know that they might be missing out on ‘this one weird trick’ that would allow them to reach success. If you are able to pinpoint an unusual tip that could be valuable to your audience, then you will strike viral gold.
 
5. Tap into their competitive nature.
Quizzes and IQ tests are shared like wildfire, because humans are inherently interested in themselves. We want to know more about how clever we are, what our subconscious thoughts mean, what our favourite colour says about our personality. Humans are also competitive, which is what triggers the sharing on social media – ‘I got a score of 80/100 and I challenge you to beat me.’

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Bonus tip.
Focus on the headline. 80% of users never read past the headline of the article, so often that’s the thing that goes viral. Make it snappy, engaging and intriguing – just don’t underestimate it.

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