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Sometimes, you explore content simply because it’s gone viral. You’ve seen it on Facebook or you’ve gotten at least 10 links from friends. Take for example the top viral videos of 2014. Yes, cute animals and kids tend to have an advantage but people that focus on trendy topics or appeal to a particular audience can be quite successful in terms of creating sharable content, as well.

If you’re a marketer or a website owner, understanding content shareability (yep, we’ve coined a new term here) is of vital importance.

Chances are that you already have dozens of high-quality blog posts and articles, but none of them go viral. If the magic hasn’t happened yet you shouldn’t get desperate. Remember that you’re competing against two million blog posts published every single day and getting people to share your posts is far from easy. Still, by following certain techniques, you’ll increase your chances of success.

The Elements of Content that Gets Shared (a Lot)

Viral content has a number of attributes. Marketers have been trying to discover the perfect formula and so far, they’ve come up with certain characteristics that increase the chance of having your posts/infographics/videos going viral.

Provoke (Positive) Emotions

Content that Gets Shared

Content that provokes an emotional response has a bigger chance of getting shared, according to a survey by University of Pennsylvania researchers. People like to interact with content that is positive and amusing. This is the main reason why puppies and babies tend to do so well.

If they feel threatened or if they want to “virtually” protect someone, your content can also go viral. You have to get a powerful emotion – shock, anger, surprise and enjoyment will all do. When going the shocking route, however, you’ll need to be careful in order to keep yourself from committing marketing suicide (by alienating the audience).

Follow Trends

Today, a random photo of Kim Kardashian can easily go viral. We don’t say that you should be publishing images of Kim K’s gluteus maximus, but you can use Google Trends or BuzzSumo to find the top trending topics in your area.

Industry news, relevant developments, and even curious little facts can go viral, as long as people are searching for such information.

Use Numbers and Lists

Numbers in the headlines generate more clicks. From Cosmopolitan-style articles to numbered tips, people’s curiosity will be tickled. Chances are that they will want to see the Top 10 Celebrities That Became Millionaires in 2015 or 5 Easy Hacks for Keeping a Home Organized.

Useful Content

Practical information that helps users is more likely to be shared. Create content featuring clear directions and advice. Dig in your analytics data and see what searches bring visitors to your website. Use this data to create how-to guides that people would want to read.

Build Trust

Quote experts and statistics if you want to create credibility among users. This is the main reason why interviews with experts that answer common questions the audience may have tended to do so well. The best aspect of this tip is that it remains valid for absolutely every industry and topic.

Focus on Success

Inspire people by sharing stories about success in business, career development, love and personal life. People love to learn about how others have done it. They dream of being in the place of the rich and the famous. Inspire with such touching stories of success and you’ll build an emotional connection, keeping your content close to the reader’s heart.

Reveal Secrets

Do you know the secret of being in a happy marriage or how to start a business that will become successful within one year? If so, share this information with your audience. People are curious and they’re constantly looking for such hacks.

When relying on this approach, however, don’t opt for misleading (clickbait) titles. Don’t tell people you’ll share a life-changing secret, only to write about something that’s common knowledge. You are not in a term paper anymore and can lose your audience this way.

Keep it Personal

Keep it Personal

Write content and shoot videos based on your personal experience – use past projects, testimonials and speak of your future plans. Share your success and failure with people, make yourself vulnerable and you’ll be liked.

Ask Them to Share Opinions

Ask website visitors to share what they think about your text. Participate in the discussion and keep an eye on the comments that generate the highest interest. These can be used to come up with additional content on the topic.

Viral Supporting Elements

Visuals have a huge impact on the way website visitors perceive content. No matter how great your text is, it won’t make the same impression without a photo. Beautiful images will help people decide whether they want to read your texts or not. The same applies to video thumbnails

Make content easy to read. People don’t have time to go through humongous paragraphs. Subtitles and bulleted lists are always a good idea.

While the formula for viral content is still a secret, thinking as a user is always a good way to produce engaging content. Next time you start creating a blog post, take a few moments to think about the content that you and your friends share online. By putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, you’ll definitely become a more successful content creator.

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Posted by Alicia Honeycutt

My name is Alicia Honeycutt. I am a beginning writer and a content strategist. I love travelling and taking photos. Follow me on Facebook.

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