The skills we teach deliver real ROI.

Content Marketing: 4 Key Strategies That Shape Viral Content

View the full Nov/Dec ASPE-ROI Newsletter to read this full article and more like it.

Deep down every time a marketer creates a fantastic piece of content,we secretly hope that it will be seen by people across the globe and reach viral status. Whether it’s a blog post, video or any other piece of content, our customers want us marketers to produce content that will catch on like wildfire. As a consumer, finding quality content can be challenging at times, as they are inundated every day with enormous amounts of information be it digital or otherwise.

Typically eight out of 10 people will read headline copy (thus why headlines are imperative in a good content marketing strategy), but only two out of 10 will actually go on to read the entire article. It’s extremely important that when writing for your target audience, you provide worthwhile information. It significantly increases engagement levels and helps drive up social proof. Achieving this, however, is much more than writing good titles and making people click through. Our content has to be emotional. At the end of the day, a fundamental understanding of who will be consuming our content is the foundation of any good content marketing program.

We all have that friend who has been out of work for a long time, retired, or we can’t figure out how they do any work at their office, who surfs the web all day and loves to send email jokes, typically sending multiple links each day. Every once in a while, he/she will say “this is the crème de la crème. If you delete all my other jokes, you must read this one, you will thank me.” So, we take time out of our extremely busy day of checking Facebook status updates, and read the joke. At the end, we find ourselves laughing hysterically and then what happens? We have an innate desire to share this with someone close to us, typically of the same sense of humor. We immediately forward the email, fill in the email address and send it off, usually with a message of “must read.” The reaction that triggered this response is a direct emotion after reading it, followed by a desire to share something.

There are four main elements that significantly increase the likelihood of content going viral.

1. Emotion

As previously stated, emotion causes us to react in either a positive or negative sentiment. The bigger stand you take on a topic, whether you are for or against it, the more engagement you are likely to receive. The more emotion you cause, whether an apex of euphoria or gloom and doom, the better chance you have of inspiring a deep emotional reaction.

2. Triggers

Daily reminders of an idea, product or service can help foster engagement of any piece of content. Triggers have the highest level of impact on everyday human behavior. They affect and test our intrinsic values and shape the way we make choices. In order for some of your own content to succeed, make sure you have some sort of daily reminder to your audience about it. However, be cautious of over-saturating an idea or product. Specific channel distribution and knowing how your customers consume their content are keys when applying the right triggers.

3. Practical Value

Besides wanting to share emotional content, we tend to also want to share useful information. If we think a product or service is cool and we know someone that can benefit from it directly, that person or persons come to the forefront of our mind and we reach out to them to share the product or service. The more useful the product is overall, the more it will be shared through public arenas like social media. Think about how helpful a specific content piece can be. What is the number one question your customers ask, and how many different forms of content or different ways to approach an answer can you take? The more step-by-step helpful ways you provide to solving a problem, the more your content will resonate with a potential user and then be passed on.

4. Storytelling

The last element to shaping viral content is the ability to tell story around your particular piece of content. Stories are a definite way of making sense of things where we don’t have all the facts to process at once. They allow us to live vicariously through the story teller’s eyes and imagine ourselves in that situation. Marketing is all about story telling. The more compelling the story is the better chance it has to make its way around the social web.

Whether producing video content, blog posts or white papers, integrating these four elements as a part of your content and content marketing endeavors will definitely increase the popularity of your content, and the overall likelihood of your content going viral is much higher.

Learn invaluable content marketing strategies and become an expert within your organization. Get more information on ASPE’s Content Marketing training.



Leave a reply