Everything You Need to Know Before Trying to Write Viral Content

November 17, 2017

Are you dreaming of having one of your blog posts go viral? A single viral post can transform any obscure blogger into a major influencer. So, what are the ingredients to create a shareable, viral post?

Why Content Fails

Before trying to have your content go viral, you need to ask a few important questions: Why does content fail? If no one notices your content, did it even happen? Does your content lay out a formula to success?

If your content isn’t offering your readers a solution to a problem, then it’s essentially useless. Your need to recognize a problem, identify the audience that shares this problem, share with them how you have experienced the same problem and the solution you found to resolve the problem. It can be a difficult, delicate balancing act. It doesn’t matter how helpful your content is – your job is to help readers easily access your content, connect with it and apply it to their own problem.

Good Things Take Time

Ever read an article like “How to Write a Viral Post in 30 minutes?” Unfortunately, it’s lying to you. If you want to have a post go viral, or to have your content appear first during a Google search, you will most likely be spending ten times that drafting your post.

You don’t need to put together an article listing hundreds of tips for consumers. But how much actionable information do you think they can truly pull from an article sharing three things everyone who writes content needs to know? The trick is to include as much content and details as possible. However, it’s your job as the writer to organize it so that it’s easy for consumers to digest.

Fill your article with bullet lists and hyperlinks so readers can easily jump around your article to find the exact information they are looking for. Joanna Wiebe's 11,000-word The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever) is the perfect example. It opens with a linked table of content so readers can jump directly to the content they’re searching for.

I was lucky enough to hear Joanna speak at Content Jam recently. She talked about her company’s blog, and how out of their twenty posts for the month, it was the longest post (an eighteen-minute read to be exact) that went viral. She spent four hours on research, read twenty blog posts, two hundred forums and took more than one hundred notes. In total she spent more than nine hours on the post. She ended up with a post that receives more than 30,000 views in one day, and is now ranked as the top article on Demoing SaaS.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

“Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller. Do you have all of the contacts you want to quote in an article? Of course not! That doesn’t mean that you can’t get them. Put together your dream team and then follow the simple steps below to make it happen.

Step 1: Create a dream team list

List everyone and anyone that you would like to quote or reference in your article. Think BIG. Whether its trendsetters in the market or specialists in their field. Add at least ten more people than you expect to need.

Step 2: Reach out

Send them a simple email or Google form asking them to include their name, title and two questions that relate to your post or article. I would also suggest including word length. If everyone specializes in the same field you will most likely receive similar answers from multiple people. The second question ensures you have additional content to pull from, and the word length ensures your blog post doesn’t turn into a short novel.

Step 3: Get the Last-Minute Stragglers on Board

Do you have someone who hasn’t responded to your initial email? Tag them in a post on social to catch their attention, but make sure not call them out for not responding. Instead try a brief post describing the article you want to write, and say you would love to get an expert like XXX’s thoughts on the topic.

Sharing is Caring

Share the love on social media! Not only should you be posting and sharing your article on social, but your contributors should be sharing it as well. Draft differing posts on social media where you tag contributors individually. This is a simple way to indirectly ask them to share your content.

If you want a more direct approach, reach out to your contributors individually. If you wrote great content, they will be more than willing to share your article. It’s your job to remind them and to make it easy for them. Send them an email, thank them for their contribution, share your post and make sure you link to your article.