Last Updated on April 28, 2022 by Scott Charleboix
What blogger doesn’t want Viral Content? If you’re a content marketer, you should be striving to have viral content. In my last post, I provided you with 20 Creative website ideas for Evergreen Content that you should look at to come up with some brainstorming ideas that will help you create viral content. In this round-up post we’re going to look at “purposely” creating viral content so it’s not left to chance.
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Evergreen content has a good chance of becoming viral because of its nature that these are the types of posts that people seem to prefer reading and are looking up in their search results.
Not only will you get people into your sales funnel if you have viral content, but you’ll tremendously create a temporary surge of traffic to your website (until the trend subsides).
Creating viral content doesn’t mean that you must be a marketing expert, but it does require that you’re familiar with the process of how viral content works.
Once you have that at your disposal, you’ll be able to use that information the next time that you create your next blog post to begin your viral content marketing campaign.
So let’s dive straight into the magic of viral content so that you can learn how to create an online marketing plan to grow your business (by creating viral content). The first thing that we’ll look at is reviewing what is viral content?
Grow your Blog with Viral Content
What Is Viral Content?
One definition that I found for viral content is from an article by Techtarget.com called What is viral content? They define viral content as: “Viral content is material, such as an article, an image or a video that spreads rapidly online through website links and social sharing.” Social shares via Facebook or Pinterest is a strong indicator that the information has indeed gone viral.
In another post called There Are No Guarantees — Or Exact Statistics — For Going Viral they contradicted the definition provided above to say that a viral post is not measurable and there isn’t any available statistics to determine what in fact is or isn’t viral.
In the same post it’s mentioned what is the exact number to determine viral content and there doesn’t appear to be a common consensus to answer that question. To compound things, in a post called Why It’s So Hard To Go Viral, your chances to have viral content are one in a million.
What I personally like to consider as a measure of whether something is viral is from a post that I wrote called How to make your pins go Viral in 7 easy steps where I was discussing Pinterest pins.
There I said: “What is a viral pin? Simply put, you’ve hit the Pinterest jackpot and your pin is generating tons of traffic from Pinterest to your blog.”
This is relatively very easy to measure because you can use social sharing plug-ins like Social Warfare where you and your users can see how many times something has been shared to Pinterest and/or Facebook.
What matters in viral content?
The things that matter in viral content is that the material is getting circulated and it’s making the rounds. People view your material and they love it so they share it on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so pretty soon everyone is engaging with the content that you designed.
Seven (7) common characteristics of viral content are:
- It’s a unique catchy slogan
- It’s memorable
- It’s commonly shared on social media platforms
- It’s helpful
- It can be “universally” understood – everyone looking at it from whatever country will be able to understand the message
- It needs to be an interesting and/or engaging image
- It’s a high-quality photo
How to create viral content that will drive traffic
In a post created by Neil Patel named: How to Create Viral Content That Generates 2,500 Visitors Per Day, Neil describes 7 seven steps needed to help give you a chance of making your content go viral. Here they are in a Reader’s Digest condensed format, for more details, check out his post mentioned at the beginning of this sentence:
- Start with Research and a goal that you want to achieve
- Be Different
- Hook your Users
- Get Visual
- Create a Promotional Plan
- Measure your success
- Try Again
Start with Research and a goal that you want to achieve
What I’d like to achieve for my blog is to have more than 1,000 e-mail subscribers. Which will more than double the current number of subscribers that I currently have.
Unless you have a definitive plan in place, you’re unlikely to achieve your goal.
Look at your competitors and see what they’ve developed and then make something better than what they’ve created.
An example of when I did this is one of my most popular posts that gets linked to the most called the Ultimate SEO Roadmap to Learning SEO. I liked the graphic that I saw that was on another post and realized that it had so much more potential so that it could be shared that much more amongst people who are struggling with how to learn SEO. My goal at the time was simply for myself to learn more about SEO and it has helped me learn SEO so much that I consider myself an SEO Expert.
A common trait amongst viral content is that it’s original material. So in a nutshell, if you want to create viral content, think outside of the proverbial box.
What does all viral content have in common? It’s original and authentic in some way. It delivers the unexpected.
Hook Your Users
The best way to describe this technique is analogous to the bait at the end of a hook to draw in fish. Your hook is going to be very important for the following reasons:
It makes the difference whether or not:
- People will decide to come to your website
- Will they pay any attention to your graphic in the first place?
- Does it convey a message that you want to look at it further for more info?
- If they like it or not and decide to share it on social media
These pieces of bait mentioned above are the factors used to draw attention to your website and lure your visitors into taking your desired call to action, (i.e., leading them into your sales funnel or your e-mail marketing funnel).
One of the things that my wife and I joke about is a saying that we use to tell one another that we’re over thinking something too much which is “Shoot the Squirrel”. It’s that situation in your head when you keep mulling something over and over again and like a hamster in a cage and you’re spinning your wheels.
Picture of a squirrel in a cage like a hamster spinning it’s wheels.
I mentioned this to you because when it comes to creating viral content you want to Shoot the Squirrel and you shouldn’t overthink it!
Things to keep an eye on for creating viral content is to be consistent with your branding. Use the same tone of voice in your blog posts, and the same fonts in your Pinterest pins. This is something that I personally struggle with because ever since Kindergarten I’ve always wanted to be different and not do things like everyone else. So it’s hard for me to be “constantly” consistent because I like having a little bit of variety. But I did change up my Pinterest pin slightly by adding my PinArtwork SEO logo to the pin whereas majority of the pins don’t have my logo on them.
When I first started blogging, I was so inspired by visuals. The first few weeks I didn’t know how to create visuals and now I realize that they aren’t that hard, you just need practice so that you can learn how to come up with better visual images. It’s sort of like coin collecting that you always want to have a better image than the last one that you had.
Bottom line, if you’re going to be creating a viral campaign, you need visuals. And if you have visuals, you need some sort of platform to make your visuals.
I find that that easiest platform to make visuals is Canva Pro. I’m Microsoft Certified and I know how to use Microsoft at the Expert level. But the thing about Microsoft is that it’s not designed with Pinterest in mind. Canva Pro is! All you need to do is to set your standard size for Pinterest at 1,000 x 1,500 pixels, find a good template for you to use and your off to the races with a consistent template that you can use to brand your website.
One last thing that I’ll mention about creating viral content (i.e. images) is to get creative. For some inspiration, please be sure to read my last post 20 Creative website ideas for Evergreen Content to help you create some viral content.
Create a Promotional Plan
There’s no guarantee that you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate prize of having viral content. So as I mentioned before it’s very important for you to develop your plan to promote your content and share it across different social media platforms. Two that I highly recommend are Pinterest and Facebook. But if you’re using different social platforms you don’t have to stop at Pinterest and Facebook, keep going.
Here’s some ideas and a strategy to develop your viral content promotional plan.
Numero uno! Have you developed a content goal for your website? Here are some sample goals that you can use for starters:
- Get over 2,000 Pinterest Followers
- Get over 20,000 Social Shares for one of your Pinterest pins (the more that you have surpassing 1K, the better).
- Get over 1,000 e-mail subscribers
- Boost the presence of your brand
For your information, all of these are goals that I’m striving to achieve (in no particular order).
Once you’ve got a clear idea on what goals you want to achieve, you’ll need to take a step back and strategize for how to achieve your goals. I’m a firm believer in using SMART goals and putting my goals into writing. There’s something about the power of putting your goals into writing that makes them achievable.
Once you’ve got your viral content created it’s time to start promoting it. People aren’t going to know it’s out there unless you promote it by social media, e-mail, or word of mouth. A good rule of thumb is to put it where your audience is most likely to find it based on the social platform that you’re more likely to use on a regular basis would be a good starting point.
I don’t like the idea of using ads and paying for ads. Personally, I’d rather like to see if it achieving viral content is possible without the means of paid advertising. It’ll require a longer effort of time to achieve that, but it’s doable if you’re not in a hurry.
Measure Your Success
There are a huge variety of tools that you can use to check the progress of your images and or text to see if it’s gone viral. It’s all going to boil down to the tools that you feel the most comfortable using.
Since there is no exact way to measure if something is viral, in the end the decision whether your content is viral is going to be mainly made by the metric or metrics that you decide to track.
A lot of bloggers prefer Google Analytics to show a lot of performance metrics and another good plug-in to use is Jetpack.
If you use Pinterest, you can look at the number of Pinterest Impressions or the number of Pinterest Saves.
Having a big Pinterest Impression means that your content is getting seen but it doesn’t provide you with the measures of how people are getting to your site. Therefore, you need to look at a number of factors.
A helpful indicator that I like to personally use that it’s extremely easy is by looking at the number of social shares (Pinterest shares) that are within my popular posts. What that means is that your content has been shared x number of times on the Pinterest platform.
What measurements should you track? It depends on your campaign, but you’ll probably want to track, for example, how many times people share your content on social media and on which platforms people share your content the most.
The thing to know with this method is the old adage of Try, try again! Even if you have a successful campaign start another one again.
One of my favorite quotes from a corny spoof of Star Trek called Galaxy Quest is a line by Captain Taggart that goes: Never Give Up, Never Surrender! Use this same approach if you want to capitalize on getting viral content.
If your viral campaign isn’t successful utilize it as a learning opportunity and you’ll need to readjust your strategy.
- Consider the strategy that you were using in the first place. Did you have clearly defined goals and were they SMART goals? Without a tangible goal you’re more than likely not going to be able to have your content go viral.
- Did you analyze your target audience? This is a fundamental rule in blogging that you need to take into consideration your audience and know their likes and their dislikes.
- Use Pinterest or Google to examine trends. These can be helpful to identify items that people are looking to find.
Lastly, here’s a link to a Neil Patel post called the Ultimate Guide to creating content in case you still need some more brainstorming ideas to create your viral content.
I’d like to know if you’ve ever created viral content. If so, please leave a comment and be sure to provide a link to your viral content.