Having a post go viral is the Holy Grail of blogging. Your post shared over and over and over again.
Virality means increased page views and blog traffic. It can even mean many more email subscribers and income from your blog.
Here are the factors that contribute to an idea going viral and be able to start applying them to your blogging:
1. SOCIAL CURRENCY
People like to share!
This should make sense based on the incredible growth of internet social sharing platforms over the last decade. I can name at least 2 dozen popular social networks off the top of my head. I bet you can name even more.
People prefer sharing content that makes them look smart rather than dumb, interesting rather than boring, and hip rather than out-of-touch.
- Make your content more sharable by upsetting expectation. Take a different view than the norm in your blog post. Jon Marrow calls these “Contrarian Posts” because you’re arguing contrary to the accepted or common views.
- Courting mystery and controversy. Find a topic that is controversial. Every niche has a topic or a few that everybody seems to disagree about. Stop trying to write about the boring stuff everyone already agrees on and blog about something that fires people up. Or find a mystery and write about it.
- Share a secret. People love feeling like insiders. Behind the scenes posts. Exclusive content and interviews with famous people or at least people famous in your niche are great ways to create shareable content. Provide exclusive content to your email members.
- Scarcity. Get it now before it’s gone! Giveaways and special, limited sign up bonuses are a great way to add urgency to your content and great more buzz.
A trigger is something (a stimulus) that reminds someone of a past memory.
The key to triggers is the occurrence of the trigger in a person’s environment.
Another key to getting triggers right is the strength of the signal.
If a trigger is already strongly associated with another product or topic or many others, the strength of the trigger can be greatly diluted and ineffective.
Triggers are a great way to build long term word of mouth about your content or product.
- Environmental triggers. Triggers are great for content like recipes. Make sure you associate your recipe for a specific meal. Include an anecdote or picture in your post that brings to mind your trigger.
- Sharing triggers. Social share buttons are so ubiquitous on the web nowadays, people are conditioned to look for them. Make sure your post share buttons are easy to find so it’s easier to share. And it’s lovely to have a beautiful, unique website, but make sure your buttons are easily identifiable as share buttons.
- Piggybacking. Try to find another famous or ubiquitous trigger and connect it to your own content.
Arousing emotions are ones that provoke a physical response in a person.
Arousal is a physical state of readiness, a state of action. Arousal stimulates the fight-or-flight response. It includes emotions that make our heart race, our breathing rush in and out and our hands shake.
Arousing emotions can include ones that are traditionally positive and negative. Content that provokes positive emotions like awe, excitement and humor is most often shared. Yet content that excites anger and anxiety elicits similar levels of sharing.
Public visibility is a better phrase to describe this concept. This pillar of virality is based on how readily observable to the public a behavior or topic.
- Make sure your content covers topics that are regularly discussed. It is very difficult to get people topics that are culturally taboo or considered private issues.
- Social Proof. Share counts, comment counts, reviews, testimonials, popular posts lists. All these are social proof which helps make a generally private action (sharing content or making comments) public.
5. PRACTICAL VALUE
I love a good deal. I bet you do to0. Practical content that show how to save money or get a great deal is always popular. There are entire sites, couponing sites for example, that are built on this concept.
Useful information that helps people do things they want to do faster, better and easier provide great practical value.
- Providing Practical Value. Provide tips that are immediately actionable and help your reader do something quicker, easier or better.
- Save a penny. Tips about deals and ways to save money are always popular.
- List it. Short list posts with a small collection of tips related to a single topic are super popular.
- Consider your audience. Narrow may be better when it comes to sharing. The key is to keep your topic and audience narrow without being too narrow.
For thousands upon thousands of years, people have been sharing via stories. Hidden within these stories are often information or a moral meant to teach or instruct.
When compared to ads, stories are more believable. Consumers approach ads with great skepticism these days. But a well-told story that is seems genuine is more convincing and harder to argue with because it is the essence of word of mouth.
- Add stories to your content. Even short examples within a longer post can harness the power of storytelling to enhance your content.
- Build your Brand Story. Create an About page or profile that tells the story of why you do what you do.
- Keep it relevant and integral. Make sure the point you’re trying to make is integral to the story.