In the ‘Grow Your Traffic‘ bundle training, I’ll be discussing what going viral means and how to give your content the best chances of it happening. In the training, I mention 4 things to ensure your posts have to make it ‘viral-worthy’ – here they are in more detail.
Firstly, let’s just clarify what ‘going viral’ means.
Many believe it means hitting the millions in hits and shares, but that’s just not the case!
Going viral can be a much more personal thing, related to our own traffic and engagement goals.
If we’re used to getting 100 views a month on a blog post but suddenly one hits 1,000 – to us that’s viral. If we’re used to a pin getting 32 repins but suddenly one gets 4k – that’s viral. And if our Instagram posts go by with 20 likes and 2 comments but one suddenly gets hundreds and 10 reshares to stories – that’s viral.
Of course, traditionally, ‘viral’ meant content that became ‘famous’ but often that means a flash in the pan, never to be replicated.
Therefore I believe it’s more productive to look at all of the elements of viral posts and apply them to the content we regularly put out!
Choosing A Viral-Worthy Topic
I hate to break it to you but that blog post about your trip to Margate with the cafe that did nice chips ISN’T going to go viral.
Head over to the Grow Your Traffic bundle for a full e-book on going viral.
Viral topics are often original – its often the first piece of content on a topic that ends up being the one that blows up.
Last year, when I was writing about Love Island EVERY DAY (help), I was able to break news stories, updates and gossip because my finger was on the pulse. I was then the first person to write a piece about one of the contestant’s behaviour. This got picked up by 2 newspapers and I had 70,000 views in a day.
This is why niche is SO important. You’re not going to be the first person to do a Benefit make up review but you MIGHT be the first person to do a brand new Benefit foundation review for women over 40, with dry skin. Ya feel?
Alongside with originality is timeliness – if there’s something popping off in your niche or zone of interest – get a piece of content out as soon as you can.
My most popular blog posts are ones I’ve written as news or gossip is breaking, with hardly a spell check in sight.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to get a bit controversial. You might have a wildly differing opinion on a subject than the popular, more accepted opinion – that’s good and that will generate views and sharing.
Obvs there’s a scale between controversial and full blown internet asshole – just ensure you re-read and ask others to read before you post so that you know which end of the scale you fall on!
Choose A Viral-worthy Title
Clickbait that is backed up with a banging piece of content does not.
It’s the difference between, ‘OMG THIS HAPPENED IN THE SUPERMARKET’ and video 1 being about finding your favourite yoghurt sold out and video 2 being about Taylor Swift stealing tapioca from the dessert aisle and trying to get it through self-checkout without paying.
So don’t be afraid to be a bit sAlaCiOuS with your titles – as long as your content backs it up.
Be as witty, short and punchy with titles as you can.
Viral posts are NOT ones we really need to be concerned about ranking at No1 on Google so we don’t have to go through the clunky SEO titling process (although you definitely CAN for your SEO title, but your post title should be more creative).
Try and use power/emotion words to pique interest – anything that tells a potential reader that something outrageous/dangerous/exciting/ground-breaking/relatable etc is being discussed within the post, is going to get clicked.
Formatting For Viral-worthy Posts
I’ve researched and collated the common features of viral-worthy posts and formatting plays a bigger part than you think!
Subheadings, lists, numbers, narrow post width, short paragraphs and punchy images/graphics were all common denominators in viral posts.
Make it SO easy for your reader to consume quickly and share instantly.
If it was easy for your reader to read, they’ll be happy to share it for their followers to read too!
Getting Your Viral-worthy Posts Shared
Shares online are key to your posts going viral. Yep hashtags, SEO and Pinterest will all help to generate more traffic but other people sharing your stuff will help your content hit the big time.
But can you guarantee people will share your stuff? Not really! On occasions, I’ve created something that I thought will go cray, it hasn’t and vice vera!
What you can do though is give your content the best chance of getting shared.
If it’s helpful, people will want to share it to help their followers too.
If it’s funny, people will want to share it because it makes them funny by proxy.
If it’s inspirational, people will want to share it to inspire others.
Then there are the technical things you can do to make sharing easy – have sharing buttons, tell people to share it, have a Pinterest graphic ready, use ‘Click To Tweet’ – all inside your blog post.
On social media, share it widely yourself, tag in friends who might want to consume it, encourage them to share it too!
I hope these 4 steps to viral-worthy content have been useful. Don’t forget to tune into the training here for more tips!