How to make a viral impact

Aug 25, 2017 by
How to make a viral impact

One of the difficult things about content marketing is that you never know which of your posts are going to get the most engagement. Sure, you can do a bunch of research, see what topics people are interested in and then aim to deliver something that your audience will like – but this still doesn’t guarantee success.

In order to improve your chances of generating huge engagement, it’s useful to assess other pieces of viral content and see what they have in common. If you can replicate at least some of these features in your content, then your potential to make an impact improves by a fair chunk.

Utilise controversy

Using controversial content doesn’t mean wantonly offending people, it just means you’re prepared to take a firm stand on certain issues that will agree with some people and repel others. Not everyone has to like or agree with you in order for you to succeed in content marketing. When you risk alienating some people, you have a much higher chance of creating a deep connection with others.

Personal growth blogger Steve Pavlina has a huge following, despite posting numerous anti-religious articles such as How to Graduate From Christianity. Obviously, he’s going to rub a lot of people the wrong way with this type of content, but his intention is to communicate with authenticity rather than directly offend people – which results in a lot of engagement.

Aim for high emotional arousal

EmotionEmotions, such as anxiety, fear, joy and surprise, are all classified as highly arousing. Low arousal emotions would include sadness and contentment. When creating viral content, the level of emotional arousal is more important than whether or not the emotion is negative or positive: the more intense, the better.

Superstar marketer Neil Patel is an expert at conveying highly arousing emotions in his headlines. Take the post 7 Common Website Features That Hurt Conversions – you’re compelled to click this link and read the content due to the fear that you may have made one of these common conversion-killing mistakes. Particularly for B2B content, the fear of losing out on financial rewards or business opportunities is a strong emotional driver into which you can tap.

Kelsey Libert states:

It’s not enough to be able to find stories that are emotionally compelling or newsworthy. A good content creator must also be able to properly bring out the emotions in the reader through the way the material is presented and explored.

Leverage the power of images

There is a reason why Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more likes and shares than those without images. Visuals are inherently more emotive and thus more engaging.

One of the best ways to get started with visual marketing is to include relevant images in your blog posts. You can find some great free images in directories such as Pixabay and Flickr that will help to accentuate your posts.

Alternatively, Canva is a powerful free tool that you can use to great images for your blog posts and social media. You don’t need any design skills to use it and you can crank out professional looking images in no time.

For something a little more comprehensive, consider publishing an infographic about a trending topic. Although infographics aren’t as popular as they once were (due to the fact that everyone started releasing weak infographics as a way to accumulate links), if you have an interesting topic that could be explained properly using visual aids, infographics are still a powerful content marketing tool. As with all forms of content marketing, visual content is only effective when you’re delivering value – and you have to deliver value if you want to go viral!