These principles that we will share with you been extracted from the analysis of factors that we consider to be the key to viral posts.
Are these principles the recipe of creating viral content?
No, but we can assure you that if you use one or more of these, your content will be more attractive for readers. And that for sure will help spread your article on the World Wide Web.
#1 Title Is The Key.
If you have a good title, then you are halfway there.
A fine title does not only attracts the eye of those wandering around the Net, but also generates a desire to click on it, and at the very least, to see what there is on the other side of that linked title.
Sometimes, the title is so well done that people will even share with their friends or followers, without even wondering inside the article to see what is actually inside.
Exactly, many posts are shared on social media for the sole reason of having a catchy title.
Don’t believe it?
Then why does Mashable have a RT and like button on the front page of their blog?
One thing is for sure, it is not by chance.
They know that there are many people who share the posts without reading them because they assume that the content they share will respond to their expectations and that it will be well received by their friends or followers.
#2 Certain Topics Are Inherently Viral.
If within your post you will be talking about cardboard boxes, you are bound to not get many visits to this one, but if you instead talk about topics like Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Google, Steve Jobs or things like that, you have a much more likely to receive a healthy amount of visitors who are interested in reading your post.
So, we can agree that if you are planning to get a viral article, you have to write about something that is either relevant, or something that you know will be of massive interest, such as technology, or social media.
#3 The First Paragraph Must Encourage Further Reading
The first paragraph plays a gigantic role.
It has to be specially designed to increase the interest that the visitor already had when he clicked on the title, and keep them interest once they are done reading it.
If you do not manage to get them hooked within the first paragraph there will be a lot of readers that will just skip the rest and close the article.
We already established that the title was super important because is the main source to capture clicks and new visitors, but the first paragraph must be equally as good, since it is the only way to confirm said reader that what he/she is about to read is worth the time, and that you are not click baiting them.
On a side note, we also suggest not to make the first paragraph too long, somewhere around 40 to 60 words sounds like a good option.
#4 The Lists Power
Listing articles are one of the most powerful and crowd gathering means in the blogosphere.
They are not only easier to write than some other posts types, but they also have a visual impact that a regular blog entry might not have.
This is no secret, if you go to one of the biggest blogs out there, BuzzFeed, you will see that almost 40% of their articles are based on lists.
“19 People Who Are So Savage It’s Hilarious”
“39 Signs You’re Actually An Old Person Trapped In A Young Body”
In conclusion, if you want your post to go viral or have a high visitors rate, you better start making a good list!
#5 Structure And Headings
There are several ways to structure a list.
If you pay attention, the two BuzzFeed we mentioned above have two different list structure.
The 19 People who are savages one have a big <h3> Subtitle for every entry of the list, while the 39 signs have the token listed inside <p> blocks.
But those are just minor differences, sometimes a list can have a heading and a number for each token, while some other can have a small yet packed of information paragraph about each point.
If you will be doing a smaller post, maybe something regarding images, we recommend going for the big header with a number for each piece of information.
If the article will be packed with more information, well then you can go for the small paragraphs structure.
Something to keep in mind:
Round numbers are more appealing ( 10, 20, 100).
In addition, I recommend that those points that you consider the most interesting, to be placed at the very beginning or the far end, and keep the points you like the least in the middle of your list.
Why? Simple, because if the first ones are really good, that assures you that the reader will keep reading through the whole article.
And if the last ones are also good, the article will be more likely to be retweeted or shared on Twitter or Facebook.
It is also well known that readers tend to remember the beginning and the ending of what they read.
And that is why you put the juicy points at the start and the end of the listing.
If it is convenient, and you can, consider adding touches of humor to the text of the post.
With a few, nice and graceful notes will suffice. Smiling faces can also help to create that relaxed tone we are looking for.
#7 Be Visual
Write so the readers can imagine everything you are telling them about in their heads.
Comics or anecdotes works like a charm.
Images or photographs illustrating the history help quite a lot.
If the article is too short, there is no need to include more than one picture, the larger the post, the more images you can add.
Feel free to include GIFs, which can be also used for humorous purposes like we stated on #6.
#8 Use a Close and Direct Language
Get used to using the first (“I”) and second singular person (“you”) in your text when you refer to yourself and your reader.
Meaning, you will be writing for one and only one person (that being the one reading you at that precise moment) and not for many at the same time.
Why? It is much more direct and, in addition, you personalize the interaction between you and your reader, thus making the reading look like a conversation between two friends.
#9 Find Out What Works For You and Blow It Up On a Regular Basis
If I learned something from my previous blogging experience is that if you have let’s say “your own thing”, make use of it, and explode it.
For instance, post about curiosities behind big brands or things that I bet you don’t know
is what made BuzzFeed the monster that they are nowadays.
When the time comes, and you discover what is working for you, do not let it go, grab it and make it your own.
But do not overuse it, maybe making a post once a month for that specific type of post, let’s say for example “You won’t believe what is the recipe of X” is more than enough.
#10 Call to Action
Once you finished your post, you should include a brief message to invite the readers to share your post.
Just adding a line at the very end is usually enough.
You will be surprised as for how many shares and retweets you will get if the users enjoyed, or find your article interesting.
Do not forget to add a call to action buttons such as Facebook like, share, and retweets, otherwise you will be asking them to take a couple more steps in order to be able to share your content.