Although it may sound misleading, in the world of Internet content production, going “viral” is actually a good thing. As a virus spreads quickly from host to host, you want your content to be passed from reader to reader, reaching as many views and visits to your website as possible. The “infection” from your content usually comes in the form of an emotional response evoked within the viewer that prompts them to share the link.
Many content creators believe that there is a magic formula that will get the maximum amount of readers and sharers if followed. The truth is, there are a number of different ways to appeal to readers and to inspire them to share your content. Here are just three elements of viral content to get you started.
Long-Form Content Goes Much Farther
With more viewers arriving at content on mobile and on-the-go devices, one popular assumption abounding was that short-form content would garner more views and shares. A survey conducted by BuzzSumo recently found that quite the opposite is true. Of the top 10 percent most shared articles, long-form content was shared more than short-form.
In fact, BuzzSumo found that the longer the content, the more shares it received. Articles with 3,000 to 10,000 words had the most shares, more than 16 times those that had less than 1,000 words. This shows that well-researched, quality content that goes in-depth is still the way to go. This content is intellectually challenging and will help to draw a reader into your site, looking to you as an expert in your field.
Incorporate at Least One Image
Articles with at least one accompanying image were fond to be shared at more than double the amount of those that did not incorporate any images into a post, according to BuzzSumo. Not only does the visual element of the image attract and appeal to readers, but you can also implement a social meta tag that helps to classify your article for search engine rankings. BuzzSumo also found that the average shares for articles with Facebook thumbnails was 56 while those that did not include a thumbnail image only had an average of 17.7 shares. Twitter shares were also found to increase by more than double when an image accompanied a post.
Appeal to Readers’ Emotions
Studies have shown that people share content as a way of enriching the lives of their family and friends and also to reveal just a little be more about who they are. These people share content based on the types of emotions that a post evokes and the three most popular emotions were found to be awe, laughter and amusement.
Readers want to share content that is entertaining, but also allows them to be just a little narcissistic. Quizzes, such as those found on websites like Buzzfeed, have become increasingly popular because they make the reader think about themselves and are incredibly amusing. They then share whatever result they got for themselves and encourage others to take the quiz as well. This creates an endless cycle of content sharing.
What type of content do you find yourself sharing on social media and email? Let us know below!