This is a guest post by Michael Cash a twenty something freelance writer and internet consultant offering SEO services, residing in western Michigan. When he’s not coaching people out of 1990s era web practices, amateur astronomy and hiking take up his time. A completely random fact about Michael is that he used to “ghost hunt” as a youngster. Michael specializes in the creation of content for promotion. I asked Michael to share some viral content marketing ideas and tips. Now without further adieu…
Creating viral content is not at all an easy task. For most, it equates to hours spent before the keyboard, trying desperately to simply come up with a catchy and unique title or phrase. There are many methods of brainstorming which can make the process much easier. Many believe that viral content is something that is to be used sparingly on a blog or website, but with the many different varieties of viral content it is not difficult to keep viral content fresh and appealing.
A simple example of viral content that is a sure-fire method of drawing traffic towards a site would be a how-to guide. A how-to guide for a simple DIY procedure, such as building a solar panel, can draw many new readers to a web site. There are many things which people are simply clueless about, so there is a chance that even an article that describes the process of properly doing laundry may go viral. Like many of the other variations of viral content, only a small amount of imagination is required.
Providing some sort of product to readers or visitors to your website is an astounding method of drawing attention. For writers looking to give an impression of their work, creating an online ebook and making it available on the web is an excellent method of gaining web traffic. Of course, this book will require hours upon hours of work at minimum, but will pay off well in the long run. Attempt to cover a topic which is considered a niche, and do research to make sure the market is relatively untapped.
Creating viral content can be as simple as creating a title which is designed to attract attention, or sometimes, outrage. Titling an article about fluoride water treatment, “The poison being put into your water” is something which is likely to catch someone’s attention. Another way to title an article which garners attention is to offer hidden insights. A title such as, “The two things you didn’t know about genetically modified organisms” would suggest to the reader there is some knowledge to be gained from the article.
The key areas in viral web content which should be paid closest attention to are the titles, and the introductions of articles. While the rest of the article should be up to par as well, a reader will most often decide whether the article is worth the time to read based upon the title or the first few sentences. This is why newspapers will tend to load the first paragraph or two of an article with the most information. Just as questions can be used within a headliner, questions work quite well as an introduction to an article.
The main body of an article that is being designed to go viral may not be the component which draws in the reader’s attention, but it is certainly what keeps that attention. Readers are likely to become annoyed of articles with bold, extravagant titles that have no substance or facts to back the title up. Always lead through an article with the most important points of information. Using bullet points to clearly separate different facts and information allows readers to quickly skim through the content. When writing, always remember to keep the sentence structure simple. If this content is to go viral successfully, using clear sentences is necessary in order to appeal to more than just English majors.
Viral content is certainly the next and biggest thing for online communities, and those who wish to produce it really must earn it. Creating viral content is certainly not as simple as creating a funny or painful looking video. In many ways, viral content is much more rewarding and worthwhile than silly pictures of cats. It may take hours to produce even just a single article which can be considered viral content, but the amount of traffic such an article can potentially draw in is well worth the cost.