Going viral, it’s what online marketers dream of. When you create viral content people want to share it and in turn they market your brand for you. Sounds amazing. Unfortunately, making your content go viral is difficult, but there are some things you can do to make it easier.
1. Make it good
This is some serious “no duh” advice, but it’s necessary. If your content isn’t super interesting/clever/funny/entertaining people aren’t going to share it. So think carefully about what you choose to try to make viral. When in doubt, ask friends or peers to evaluate your viral idea and see if they say it’s something they’d want to share.
2. Make sharing easy and encouraged
Your content won’t go viral if it isn’t shared, so make sharing as easy as can be. That means putting Tweet and Facebook Like buttons right on the page. Tools like AddThis are also a good idea. If you’re pimping a download, tools like Cloudflood or Pay with a Tweet can both be helpful. Remember when I used Cloudflood to promote my resources download? I got over 100 people Tweeting my URL in about a week and half!
3. Use your fans/customers/social web
Viral content needs to be seeded, which means it needs to get out to a sizable batch of people in order for it to spread like wildfire. Share your viral content with your social media contacts (i.e. Facebook fans, Twitter followers), customer mailing list, website visitors and even your friends. Ask them to share the piece of content you’re trying to spread. If you are active on forums or message boards, be sure to share there too.
4. Don’t neglect your SEO
Once a good piece of content gets out on the web, people will hear about it and look for it. Make sure it’s easy to find. Make sure the viral content has title tags and page copy that describe the content.
5. Seed around the web
Submit your viral content to as many relevant content sharing tools as you can think of and ask your fans and customers to promote those submissions. This means using sites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Flickr, etc. If your content is a video make sure you share it on Youtube, Vimeeo, Blinkx, etc.
6. Do some blogger outreach
A ton of blogs thrive on sharing viral content, so when you have something good to share make sure they know about it. Think about sites like Buzzfeed, Top Cultured, Fork Party, The Frisky, Instructables, etc. Pick blogs that are relevant to the kind of content you’re promoting and then reach out to their editors to pitch your content. Getting picked up on sites like these can give your campaign a huge lift.
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is. Even good viral campaigns usually need a little boost to get off the ground. If you’re going to do the work of creating great viral content, make sure you’re prepared to do the work of getting it out there too.