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4 Tips for Creating Viral Content

By Andrew Deen

Social media and the growth of smartphone use has changed the way people read the news, interact with one another and gather information. According to Facebook, they have 1.13 billion active users  everyday with just over one billion of them using their smartphones to connect. Instagram has 500 million profiles with 300 active users each day and Twitter has 313 million users each month. This constant connection to social media is impacting people's lives and helping marketers create content that quickly spreads around the world. Everyone wants to create content that will become viral, but it takes a certain mindset to produce content that readers want to share. Highlighted below are four tips to help you create viral content. 


Ensure Emotional Value
Content that creates an emotional reaction such as laughing, crying or awe has a greater chance of going viral. Videos and content with lots of visuals are a good medium to exploit reader's emotions, however a well written article or list post can also illicit emotions if there is an effective and empathetic storyteller behind it. A good content creator has to be able to bring out the emotions of the reader through the way the information is presented.



The reader also needs to be able to connect to the content even if they don't agree with all of the information provided; however pieces that stimulate positive feelings tend to perform better than those with negative feelings, boasting a higher click to tweet rate. Images can inspire a range of emotions and the ones that go viral tend to trigger surprise from the audience.    
 
Clear and Easy to Understand
Readers want articles that are clear and easy to understand which can mean adding visuals and infographics that explain more complex details. Content that is useful in a practical way has a higher chance of going viral as well as the ideas broken down into smaller pieces that can be easily understood. Interactive content allows users to select responses and get tailored results at the end which can help explain specific aspects to the audience. To help readers analyze data, it is helpful to use lot of numbers, statistics and quotes from additional resources to make the information more trustworthy. Headlines are also important in providing clear messages for the readers. Big, bold headlines that include emotional triggers are more likely to be clicked on by readers.  

Provide Unique Insights on Trending Topics
A good content creator should find obscure information that has not been fully explored on the Internet as well as trending stories on individuals or events. In particular, people are interested in learning unique facts regarding new technologies that could alter society. For example, the topic on how Facebook's AI robot accidentally taught themselves a new language quickly went viral due to its potential impacts that this development could have on society. 

Simple to Share
To help your content go viral, it is important to prominently place your social network buttons such as click to tweet or a Facebook share button. Most sites prefer to give people a chance to read the headlines before they place the share buttons. A 2006 study, revealed people read content on the web in an F-shaped pattern meaning they will follow two horizontal stripes and then a vertical stripe. By understanding eye-tracking studies, you can determine the best places to put social network share buttons just make sure to use the correct type of buttons so it will not overlap with the post's text. 

By creating a content marketing strategy, you can post the kind of articles and visuals that keep people coming back to your site as well as sharing your posts on social media. Viral content can attract potential customers. You might not succeed at creating viral content in the beginning, but the more you work at creating unique and insightful posts, the more success you will find. 


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Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. 

He implements lean methodology and currently writing a book about scaling up business. 

Twitter @AndrewDeen14.

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