When you run a web site, it’s always important to follow several rules to attract new visitors/customers and keep those that have already chosen your site. No matter what web site you have, all users always want to get high-quality content or service. So do not think this post doesn’t refer to you or can’t help you to increase your website’s traffic.
There are sites that don’t have good content but they have high traffic. This is another subject for conversation, as those people use different tools and they are able to benefit without worrying about the content they provide. As for our subject, we are here because we value the content, want to learn how to write viral content and understand that only sites providing high-quality content have the future, while others will suffer after every Google update.
Before we start learning what we need to do for writing a super-duper content, let’s put a sight on our behavior and confess when and why we share something be it a blog post, a news post, a video clip or an image found in the net. Every time when it happens, it means someone could surprise, excite, amuse, or entertain. Remember every movie that you recommended your friends to watch, every book you gave to your soul mates hoping they will have the same feeling like you or a new video clip that you shared via Facebook informing your friends about them. Yes, we behave in this way because we are in a world where everything is in grey (or seems so) and we want others to know we’ve found something new, something fresh or interesting, so not everything is lost. I don’t know whether humanity acts like this 100 years ago, but now when it’s too easy to send a message or share a trouvaille with our friends, we use this tool at full. So you have to write content worthy to be shared.
The most shared posts are outliers, I mean if you want a viral post, it must be out of the norm. Fortunately, a viral post knows no rules and it can be written by a famous and professional journalist and by a beginner as well. But it’s difficult so many don’t have success in this area. As one of the latest research shows, 46% of businesses find it difficult to create outstanding content.
Now when we understand that content is the key to users’ hearts, it’s time to learn writing the best viral content. Why we give “viral” adjective to content must cause no questions, but if it does here is the answer. Your goal mustn’t write content with deep philosophical judgments or describe the case from the start to the end, but you must understand what people want to read, what will be interesting for them and what’s the most important what will make them share your info with others. Your content must be like a virus that spreads rapidly without help.
Below are the 6 secrets that make users share the content, thus what converts a simple content into viral. Are you ready to become contagious?
Secret 1. Good story
People like to read good stories. It must have an interesting or unpredictable scenario. Remember that no one wants to read about things that happen every day, because everyday stories are not intriguing. Those who are interesting in professional writing know there is the rule of five W’s: Who? What? Where? When? Why? This means all the sides of the story must be presented, readers mustn’t guess what you wanted to say. Of course, there can be posts having some mystic or hidden meanings, but that is the singularity of the genre.
Secret 2. Positive content
Ask marketers and almost all of them will say that positive content is more viral than negative content. For example, Jack Shepherd, editorial director at BuzzFeed, wrote 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity and this post got millions of hits. As the author commented, that list evoked the emotion felt when “you’re in the presence of the triumph of the human spirit”. Positive stories are shared more often because people share not only the content but the strong, positive emotional experience they had.
Secret 3. Arousal emotions
Your content must activate a high-arousal emotion. Among those emotions can be included awe, anger, anxiety, fear, joy, lust, and of course, surprise. And this is the hardest part because you must be (or become) professional. So let’s see how to activate high-arousal emotions.
Your content must be something that no one will pass it without commenting. For example, it can be a real-life story, secrets of success, health, diet, and fitness tips, secrets of love, dating or long life.
The most common method to make people get angry is talking negatively about things they believe or love. Though controversial posts seem to be divisive, people will share it to show their loyalty.
People don’t like to lose anything, so when you are talking about potentially losing out on something, that’s what will make your readers anxious.
Probably, fear is the strongest motivation, and you have to aware of people they are making mistakes. You don’t have to scare them but provide warnings.
Your post must make people happy. It can be a heartwarming story about a couple living together for 80 years.
We also like entertaining content, so make them laugh and your most will be viral.
People lust for not only sex, and you have to find things they will lust after money, results, women, men, or anything like that.
Anything that is against our expectations will surprise us. So if you write about new ways of doing something or new research and trends and include some facts and images in your post, it will be a great post.
People like reading inspirational quotes. But besides this, you must inspire people not to be under control. For example, you can write about the ways how to start one’s own business and not work for others. Probably, one of the most popular books is Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, which “advocates the importance of financial independence”.
Secret 4. Correct structure
After you’ve written a good story taking into account the above-mentioned recommendations, you must organize it according to some rules. I call it technical rules, as they show what you must do to make your content goes viral.
- Compelling headline
With the help of an irresistible headline, you can use your unique opportunity to attract readers and keep them with you. Obviously, you can write a good story with a terrible headline and vice versa. So remember that your headline must state the post’s purpose, have intriguing adjectives and show the value of the story. In another world, reading your headline they must be sure they’ll be getting a lot out of your story. Here are some recommendations:
- HuffPost recommends using brackets in your headlines, as they increase CTR by 38%.
- Use numbers, because as Conductor found out headlines with numbers are 36% more likely to generate clicks.
Posts with images are shared twice more than without them, so when it’s time to publish your story, do not forget to include several corresponding images into your post. This is related to the fact that images are more compelling than text, they break up your content making it easier to read, and they are credible, which is the main reason why people share. But you should keep in mind that the image quality makes a huge difference, so it’s preferable to use Pro pictures. One more thing, use featured images because they will appear when sharing via social media making it more attractive:
Although most of us tend to believe maps are infographics in and of themselves, they represent a different, more effective type of visual image that you might want to use in your article to get more exposure and gain quality link backs naturally. You can check out this case study to understand how a simple map can generate hundreds of backlinks from authority websites.
Posts with infographics are more popular than many other posts, so do not hesitate when putting such an object in the post. This happens because such objects show some differences more visually and it becomes easier to get what the author wants to say.
- Short sentences
People do not like to read long sentences, so you have to write a long post with short sentences. This is the most effective method to convey to people what you wanted to say.
Mentioning influencers in the post makes an impression you are aware of what you are talking about and know the experts in that area. So if you know someone or site that has talked about the topic earlier and said something worthy, it’s the right place to present his/her thoughts in that case.
- Share buttons
No one will share your post if you haven’t worried to put corresponding buttons there. But there is a huge difference between the places where you put them. So if you want your share buttons to be seen more often, put them above the fold, and ask them to share or comment it.
- Publish time
I know many sites that publish their stories whenever it possible and a dozen posts at the same time. But try to publish posts between 8 am and 12 pm EST, and see that they become more shareable.
- Scannable text
Your text must be readable. If it’s hard for this job, no one will read it. So as for the structure, the text must have paragraphs, subheadings and bullet lists
- Practical takeaway
People don’t care what you think, they want to know what works, really works.
Secret 5. Audience
Firstly, you should have a vision who will read your post. To know for sure you must spend some time analyzing your readers’ age, gender, geographical location, roles and so on. Moreover, user social media, say Facebook, to find out whether your posts are shared regularly or not. It’s also recommended to use other professional tools like Fliptop. After this, you can try to describe your typical reader. This will help you to add or remove some thoughts, images, videos and other objects from the post.
Secret 6.What people like to read
- We love quiz, especially if it tells something about ourselves. If the quiz is interactive and presents us in positive aspects, make it shareable and you’ll benefit a lot.
- We like and share picture lists posts. I guess you have met many sites that provide only such content, I even know many TV programs like this. So if you don’t know what to publish, make a similar post and you’ll pass the creative crisis.
- The next post type refers to cute animals and babies. I guess almost all the people like either animals or babies, or both together. So you can use this factor too.
- Obviously we don’t like monsters, but stories about vampires, zombies or werewolves are interesting always.
- We read “How to” posts, and if they are helpful, we often share them to let our friends be aware of them as well.
When writing a post it’s always individual, but there are several principles to follow, and be sure you’ll get the desired results. I introduced 6 groups of secrets that should help you become a viral content writer. Good luck!