Can Quality Content Go Viral Without Marketing?
There are many different opinions about what makes written content go viral, but most people think it all boils down to emotion. If the content makes a person feel angry, inspired, challenged, excited, sad or validated, they’re more likely to share it or act on it by signing a petition, taking a quiz, even buying a product. Viral content gets people’s attention and starts a thread of discussion – it’s exactly how all viral content is born and spread online like wildfire. Without this compelling aspect to your content, it’s going to be near impossible to pull off a viral piece of content – no matter how much marketing is used to get your content out there.
Marketing experts know that injecting quality into content writing is crucial for it to genuinely tap into their audience’s attention. Approaching viral content is similar to that of making sales, precisely in the way that they both offer content or a product so unique that it’s hard to simply reject. Marketers always ask themselves this question, ‘If someone within my target audience scrolled down and went past this article in their newsfeed, would they care?’. If the answer is negative, the content probably doesn’t pass the quality test. Luckily, we’ve narrowed down the key marketing tips you should know to get a better chance at executing your next viral content article online.
1. An Irresistible Headline
Considering the humongous amount of content you’ll find on the internet, making a stunning first impression is vital. This begins with the headline. The way to make sure people don’t scroll past your post is to make your headline attention-grabbing. It has to offer a benefit, make people curious, and above all, it has to be catchy. Ask yourself if you were a reader, would you click on your headline or scroll on by?
2. Quantity doesn’t matter, Quality does
Most viral content is short, and since the average concentration span is shrinking, people usually don’t read long, complicated articles. People scan writing so make your blogs interesting with short paragraphs, images and short bulleted lists. For a video, you’re looking at only 30 seconds to a minute.
Lengthy posts can still go viral. Whenever this does happen, it’s clear that they do a fantastic job in providing exceptional value to the reader. This could be in terms of breaking down a complex problem with simple and easy steps or seamlessly weaving in paragraphs of great content that never fails to lose the reader’s attention. At the end of the day, most viral content is short, however, if people really connect with your content and can clearly understand the message behind it, the length of your article/video may not really matter at all.
3. Make it Personal
People relate to content about people. Maybe you love the new trend of mushroom-infused cocktails? Can’t wait to get a new flip phone or Oura ring to track your wellness? Your boss is driving you crazy, why? If readers apply your content to themselves, they’re more than likely to share. If it’s personal to them, they’re sure to pass it on.
4. Strive for Authenticity
Anything that has a hint of falseness or is polished and overdone won’t appeal to people as much as authenticity does. So keep it real, and make sure it has a genuine feel about it. People don’t look for videos or blogs that seem to be trying too hard to sell something they don’t want or need. Good examples are ‘how to’ blogs or videos, or an interesting angle on a popular topic or event.
5. Don’t Make Readers Feel Like Idiots
Going viral means appealing to all and sundry. People put their reputations to the test every time they share something on social media. It’s there for all to see, so it’s wise to make sure your content won’t patronise minorities or turn away groups of people. However, public figures such as politicians and celebrities are fair game. And the more controversial, the better, whether you’re for them or against them, you’re pretty sure to get a reaction from both sides of the argument.
6. Get People to Join In
If you have expertise in some area that’s of interest to lots of other people, wrote a blog about it and ask questions and make sure people can comment at the end. People love to give their opinion on just about anything whether they know what they’re talking about or not – which doesn’t matter. If people comment, it’s a trigger for others to throw their hat in and so your blog or content will be shared. Quizzes work the same way.
7. Keep Communicating
Always respond to comments whether they’re positive or negative. An excellent example of how to add your voice to a trending subject is newsjacking if you can add something quirky or valuable to the audience. If you’re running a blog or forum, it’s crucial for you to have an optimised website that’s made for easy and convenient navigation.
8. Pull Readers With Lists and Images
We’re drawn to visuals – people can’t get enough of pictures, graphics and lists.
- If your offering contains lists, you’ll increase your chances of going viral.
- Add images, and your chances of viral content are raised even higher.
Make sure you’re posting your content on visual-heavy social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram – it’s super easy for any user to quickly share your content to other social media platforms once it’s caught their attention.
9. Make Appropriate Posts
Nothing turns people off more than bad grammar, wrong formatting, or writing that simply doesn’t make sense! So make sure when you post anything on social media that it’s readable. Nothing irks people more than long, drawn-out paragraphs. On Twitter, leave up to a dozen spaces to encourage people to retweet.
10. Use SEO
Keep in mind the fact that your content is for people, not robots. Learn SEO by all means, but don’t let it take full control of everything you write. Your aim is to get people responding, sharing, liking, and talking about the great content you’ve made. SEO strategies simply help your content become more accessible to a larger audience, however it isn’t a crucial component in executing a viral campaign.
Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development experience. He is currently working as Digital Adviser
for Acclaim Rewards.