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How to Create Viral Content for Marketing Your Brand : The Ultimate Guide

Mathew Maniyamkott

Mathew Maniyamkott

10 min read

Everyone wants their content to be liked, commented, and shared by millions of people. That is not humanly possible because there is no formula for virality. But you can always follow a bunch of steps, or let’s call it best practices, to create content that people love.

Brands love viral content because it puts them on the map for a long time. It can help them get discovered, bring in more customers, increase sales, or even put them in front of investors.

How to Create Viral Content: 20 Tips and Tricks

Viral content is all about striking the right chord for your customers. Here are some tips from the good folks at SurveySparrow where they speak about some of the best practices that you should follow to go viral.

Would these best practices help create viral content? Not necessarily. But it will help your content go viral than earlier when you weren’t following the below actions.

1. Longform content

Everybody has access to information on the go since they carry mobile phones on their person. Most of the information consumption happens on mobile phones. It would seem that creating short-form content is the best way to get relevant information quickly. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is more to it than that meets the eye.

The truth is that long-form content gets more shares than short-form content. When we are talking about long-form content, it should be somewhere around 2500 words and above. There is a general consensus that long-form content has more value than short pieces of content. These pieces are usually saved or downloaded for future reference too.

2. Include compelling visuals

If your 3k word article doesn’t have any pleasing visuals or even funny memes, do you think it will continue to hold the attention of the reader? Of course not. Also, images are known to break up the monotony of the content so that it is easy to consume important information. It is best advised to use visual aids such as pictures, infographics, GIFs, emojis, memes, videos, etc. They are an extra element that your readers will appreciate much.

One of the most popular forms of visual content that are informative while also pleasing to the eyes is Infographics. You can add a lot of statistics, numbers, and other information in it. They are also easy to consume and it will also elicit a lot of shares across social media.

3. Be authentic

People would love to hear your true voice. If all of your emails sound sales-y or corporate-ish, then you are not really helping with the image that people will have for you. You will be able to inspire trust in the minds of your viewers only when you come across as authentic. You need to be true to your audience in all your dealings. It is all right to be vulnerable too.

Focus on the people in your life. They could be your employees, customers, vendors, partners, or even your family. Highlight the challenges that they meet on a daily basis and tell how you solve their problems with the help of your business.

4. Interact with your audience

You cannot expect to have a great relationship by engaging only on one side. In fact, your audience might even get tired of you. People always want variety and they also want to share what is on their mind. If it is possible for you to give your audience a chance to participate with you, then include them as well.

The audience could be a part of your advertisement or a testimonial or even be a guest on your channel. Always lookout for ways to make your audience look good. Bring them out in the open by giving them a platform and an opportunity to speak.

5. Positive content

With all the emotionally distressing things that are happening around the world, there is no better time than now to be an apostle of positivity. If you are in the food industry, then you could talk about the struggles of the delivery men in your city. You could talk about the farmers who are bringing food to your table. Interview other restaurateurs who might be going through a bad patch too. Uplift them by sharing their stories with the world.

Try to give a positive edge to everything around you. Go out of your way to seek positive news and share it with your audience. They will love you for it.

6. Know your objective

One thing that you need to know is what is the reason behind wanting to go viral. Is it just to toot your horn or does it have a purpose behind it? If the reason to want to go viral is for vanity, then you have got it all wrong.

The reason behind going viral should be to bring more prospects deeper into the funnel or to get more engagement or to expand your operations or anything that builds your brand. You need to write down your goals behind wanting to go viral. Once you know the purpose behind it, you will be able to streamline your actions accordingly.

7. Create videos

Videos are extremely popular these days because of two reasons:

  • There is faster Internet speeds available on mobile
  • It is easy to consume

There are only a few people who will read a full blog when given the option to watch a video. Videos are easy to consume and don’t require a lot of effort. Not everyone is a fan of the written word. Videos are also easy to engage with. Videos are easy to share and they can embed your videos on their website or blogs.

8. Be unpredictable

One of the keys to going viral is to be unpredictable. While there is no formula to be unpredictable, you can always come up with strategies where you take an action that is completely outside the norm. You can even copy strategies from other companies that are successful. People won’t bother about it as long as you can strike a chord with the unpredictability.

The unpredictability should not be just to promote your product. It could be an extension of your brand personality. People love brands like that.

9. Make listicles

If you think gone are the days when people were sharing listicles, then you are totally wrong. It is still relevant and people are going ga-ga over them. Listicles are easy to consume, the readers know what it is about and it provides a lot of entertaining information.

Would you not click on a link that reads “10 Best Performance Management Tools of 2020” if you are an employer or an HR manager. Of course, you would. Why? Because there is clarity in terms of the number of ways you will get to know to make more customers.

10. Be funny

Fair warning. Not everyone can be funny, but if your brand has a gift for coming up with funny one-liners, memes, and GIFs, then you need to take advantage of it to the hilt. People love sharing content that is entertaining. They will share it with their friends and family. And before you know, there goes your first viral piece of content. Sometimes, it can be as simple as that.

But being funny can also be a double-edged sword. There are people who take offense for certain things and you don’t want to be in the middle of a controversy that doesn’t do any good for your image. Ensure that such pieces do not get published before it passes through your careful eyes.

11. Go deeper into topics

Whatever information you share with your clients, ensure that you give them content that has been well-researched and has a lot of sources that are attributable. You don’t want to write half-baked content that doesn’t touch upon anything with certainty. With the right amount of research, you might end up writing the most informative article on that particular topic.

12. Interview influencers

One of the easiest ways to make viral content is to interview influencers for an article. They will share it with their audience. These are people who already have a huge following. Tim Ferris’ book Tools of Titans is actually an interview of more than 200 world-class professionals who are at the top of their field. A best-seller book just by interviewing influencers. How’s that! It surely helps that Tim already has a huge following around the world.

Let’s say you are in the B2B industry where you sell productivity software. You can interview motivational speakers, founders, athletes, C-suite executives, etc. People would love to hear from high-achievers. When these influencers share the final article or video using their social media handle, the kind of reception you would be getting would be phenomenal.

13. Practical content

Make it a point to publish a lot of ‘How-to’ content. Imagine if your business is one place where your reader gets top-notch information about everything related to your industry. How would that be! They would flock to your website to get more information. They would even bookmark your website and tell you about the content you publish to their friends. This is exactly how going viral works.

Publish a lot of super helpful guides for readers in your niche. Use these guides to collect contact data of your visitors so that you could send them more informational content. Your readers are always looking out for content that gives them step-by-step instructions of how to accomplish something in your niche. By writing practical guides, you are slowly gaining their trust and increasing your chances of going viral.

14. Write conversational emails

Does your email newsletter copy put the reader to sleep? Your email newsletter is a precious place because you get to your subscriber on their mobile phones, and that’s a personal space. They have given you permission to send information to them by sharing their email IDs with you. If your email copy is dull even though the content inside it may be interesting, you aren’t helping your cause because they have to click on the link inside your email. Otherwise, you’re losing out on potential readers for your blog.

Write about the topic you have published on the email copy in an interesting way. Instead of sharing the headline, tell your audience how you came up with the idea for the article, who contributed, what was the discussion initially, and so on.

15. Dominate on search engines

Well, you can dominate the search engines with a mix of organic content and PPCs. We are not going to talk about paid ads here as going viral cannot depend on it. Most of your traffic will come from the search engines, and it is also the most sustainable way to do it. Your team needs to identify topics that could go viral and find low-competition keywords which could be the gateway to going viral.

Use keyword research tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find low-competition keywords. Segment the keywords into different groups and pick the ones where you would be able to rank reasonably well. Then work on the content.

16. Make your readers look smart

LinkedIn recently rolled out a feature where it says if someone’s content has been trending on a particular topic. This is great social currency for LinkedIn users and gives them a lot of bragging rights. Most of them share this on LinkedIn and other platforms because it makes them look good in front of their peers. This increases the participation from these LinkedIn users, and others want to get on the bandwagon too.

Note: LinkedIn overused the feature because even a low-engagement post started getting the same “Your post has been trending in….” messages. But it still makes the average LinkedIn user happy when they see a notification like that.

17. Interact with your audience

Add a comments section on all the types of content you post, no matter if it is a blog post, video, infographic, anything. You want to know from your readers what they think about your content. They might be a bigger expert on the topic you have just shared, by interacting with them, you will be the one who gets a new fan.

Respond to all kinds of comments, both the good ones and the rude ones. If you think you can handle trolls with panache and style, then go for it. Otherwise, they are best left ignored. Your responses can be funny, but never be condescending to the readers. Even the ones who like your content will feel disrespected when you treat one of your readers with disdain.

18. Use the right tools

No, there are no tools that can make you go viral. Apologies if we got you excited about the heading. We meant that you should use the right tools to craft brilliant content. How? Use tools that help you find relevant keywords for your niche. Use tools to collect email IDs of your subscriber. Work with an online survey tool like SurveySparrow to collect feedback from your customers.

Launch your product on Product Hunt. Create a community of users on Facebook Group. Use marketing automation tools like HubSpot. With the right tools by your side, your journey to becoming viral might not be that hard. All you need to do is to keep perfecting your process.

19. Keep experimenting

As we have time and again reiterated in this article, there is no formula for going viral. So if you keep experimenting with different strategies, you might end up hitting the right note. Try different types of content, not only blog posts, and videos.

Create interactive content where your audience can also participate in it. Quizzes are extremely popular. If you think you can make quizzes work in your niche, then nothing like that. You can even experiment with your old content. Some of the information that you would have shared would be evergreen. So if you find anything interesting that is worthy of being shared, then try the same content in a different format, style or for another audience.

When you experiment with your content, you are bound to fail. But that’s a good thing. The more you fail, the better your understanding of what will work and what won’t. Try A/B testing and keep experimenting.

20. Giveaways/Contest/Promotions

Having a giveaway promotion or a contest that has an exciting prize is one of the easiest ways to go viral. You need to create a marketing campaign that talks about the benefits of being associated with it. The campaign should not be over in a week’s time.

Come up with a campaign that can run for three months or more. While it might look like a really long time, you can stir a lot of interest in your brand by doing this. The only catch is that the end prize should be enticing for those who want to participate in your contest.

Apart from a grand prize for the winner, you should offer a variety of other prizes too so that people won’t get discouraged from participating thinking that there is only one winner. With the right strategy, everyone can be a winner. Anyone who participates by following all the guidelines can get free access to your product for 6 months. Remember, the size and success of your content is only limited by your imagination.

Conclusion

We all know about the power of going viral, which is exactly why brands are vying to be in that position. The road to going viral is filled with difficulties, but it is not something that is impossible. With the right kind of content, you could be making a killing.

Sit down with your marketing team and understand which are the areas that need more tweaking. Find out the chinks in your marketing armor, smoothen them, and create a strategy that is excellent for your niche. Now create the kind of content that will make your readers happy.

Remember this, you cannot and should not be writing for the algorithm, but for your readers. Everything that you do for the algorithm should only be to bolster your chances. But your ultimate goal is to make your reader happy. That kind of attitude rarely fails.

At his company’s most important meetings, Jeff Bezos leaves one seat empty. According to him, it’s for the most important person in the room- the customer. If you want to be wildly successful and go viral for the right reasons, that is a fantastic attribute to share. No wonder Amazon’s valuation crossed $1 trillion.

Mathew Maniyamkott
Mathew Maniyamkott

Guest Blogger at SurveySparrow

Regular contributor to various magazines. Passionate about entrepreneurship, startups, marketing, and productivity.

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