Dreaming of viral content?
To post something that takes off and is seen by thousands – maybe millions?
While we can’t predict exactly what will go viral, we can increase our chances.
Start with the tips on this infographic from Backlinko!
How to create viral content people love to share
1. Use a Number in Your Headline
Headlines with numbers are 36% more likely to get clicks, according to research by Conductor. And odd-numbered headlines have a 20% better CTR than headlines with even numbers.
Either way, using a number means the reader needs to find out what they all are – so they click!
2. Use [brackets] Where Appropriate
In an analysis of over 3 million headlines, Hubspot found using [brackets] in a headline bumped up CTR by 38%.
Funny, I used to use them, and switched to a colon because I thought brackets were [unattractive]. After seeing this stat, I switched back!
3. Use Short URLs
Marketing Sherpa found that short URLs are 2.5x more likely to attract clicks.
I generally shorten my URLs to the keyword phrase I’m targeting – adding another word if I’ve used that phrase before. This is not only SEO-friendly, but also lets people know what the post is about.
4. Use a Descriptive URL
A Microsoft study found trusted domains get 25% more clicks. Opt for domain.com/viral-content vs. domain.com/blog/post?id=5421!6g for clarity and increased trust.
I started my blog with a number between my domain and the keyword. I kept the domain/number/keyword format because changing would make me lose my (excellent) social share numbers. I won’t make this mistake on my next site.
5. Use Short Sentences in Your Intro
People only read 28% of a blog post, so you need to hook them fast.
Use short sentences.
Dr. John Morkes found that short sentences boosted content readability by 58%.
I follow Social Media Examiner’s example by leading with short questions the reader will think “YES” to.
6. Add a Colorful Image Above the Fold
Xerox found that colorful visuals made people 80% more likely to read a document.
I always include a horizontal image (Facebook link size) at the top of each post.
Alternately, you can use a half-column-width image that sits next to your first paragraph.
7. Images Mean More Shares
Skyword research found that text content with at least one image generated 94% more views on social media.
Images are a MUST on social media! ‘Nuff said.
8. Images Mean More Credibility
But there’s more! A Claremont University study found that images – any images –boosted content credibility by 75%.
People aren’t going to share content unless they think it’s credible. So help them believe – include an image.
Overwhelmed yet? Make it easy on yourself. Here’s how to find viral content to share on social media.
9. Use Pro Images
And – image quality makes a huge difference. An internal Marketing Sherpa study found that pro images received 121% more Facebook shares than “semi-professional” photos.
Always use relevant, high quality photos, that are the proper resolution. That means: never upsize / stretch images.
10. Publish Long Content
Professor Dr. Jonah Berger found that longer content was 76.8% more likely to go viral. Aim for at least 1,500 words per post.
Long posts take time – but they pay off in authority for you, and shares for your blog.
11. Use a “Featured Image”
Setting a featured image ensures your social shares include an image. Social shares with images get 150% more retweets on Twitter and 53% more Likes on Facebook.
I use Yoast for WordPress to set the featured image, and usually have to follow up with the Facebook debug tool, too, to make sure FB pulls in the image for a link post.
12. Include an Infographic
Data from BuzzSumo found that infographics generate 2.3x more social shares than how-to posts.
This one’s too easy. Most infographics creators practically beg you to post their graphic on your blog and link back to them.
Go find a relevant one, and do it!
13. Put Share Buttons Above the Fold
A Google study found that elements above the fold are seen by 58% more people than those further down the page.
I put my share buttons top and bottom. You can also use a floating share bar that moves with the reader’s scrolling.
14. Get Emotional
A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found content that elicits the emotions “awe”, “surprise” or “anger” was 28% more likely to go viral.
I’m not much for emotional. Though I hope you do find some of my posts awe-inspiring 🙂
15. Mention Influencers
Link to influential people in your post (and let them know about it). A Columbia University study found that for your content to go viral, influencer shares were”critical”.
This really works! Here’s the closest thing I have to an influencer roundup. Be sure to @mention one or two of the names when you share on social media. They notice.
16. Publish Between 8am and 12pm
Shareaholic found that 27% of all social shares occur between 8am and 12pm EST.
All my scheduled posts publish at 8:55am Eastern.
17. Use Hashtags
Dan Zarrella analyzed 1.2 million tweets and found that hashtag-containing tweets boosted retweets by 55%.
Always use hashtags on Instagram (lots!) and Twitter.
18. Use “Scannable” Text.
Dr. Jakob Nielson discovered that “scannable” online content boosted readability by 47%.
Break up your text with subheads, bullets, and short paragraphs.
19. Be Insanely Practical
Dr. Jonah Berger found that highly-practical articles are 34% more likely to go viral.
I love to be practical! I hope you find my posts useful to your business.
20. Find SEO Tag Copy in Relevant Adwords Ads
Adwords ads are designed to maximize clicks. Base your SEO title and description tags on Adwords ads to maximize traffic from search engines.
I haven’t tried this – great idea though!
21. Ask People to Share.
Include a CTA at the end of your post… and customize it.
Hubspot found that targeted CTAs (“Share these marketing tips”) outperformed generic CTAs (“share this post”) by 42%.
CTAs – what a great note to end on, right?
Impress your friends and followers! Share the viral content infographic.
Sanskar Tiwari says
Loved this great [infographics] thanks for sharing ? I pinned it
Prashant chevale says
Link posts are excellent ways to not only generate traffic by going viral but also a good thing to build long-term relationships.
Louise Myers says
Laura Mirren says
Great post. The key to viral content is emotional arousal, particularly that evokes high-arousal emotions, like joy or fear.
Louise Myers says
Hi Lauren 🙂
Chris Hopkins says
A great infographic with some excellent advice. Long form articles with high quality graphics are working well for me.
Louise Myers says
Great content strategy, Chris!
Loved this great [infographics] thanks for sharing 🙂
this works really?
aw not afraid if people will take advantage of your post to make something bad goes viral?
you’re good xox
Louise Myers says
That would be on their own conscience, nothing I can do about it ?
A very good “how to change graphics/photo”on Facebook article. Two thumbs up!
Louise Myers says
Hi Lynne, good to see you!