3 Fail-Proof Rules for Creating a Viral Post
Posted November 4, 2009 in How-To, Marketing
If you want to be successful on the web, you need an audience. This is true whether you are a designer, writer, developer or a freelancer in any other field. Without an audience, success is hard to come by.
Most freelancers maintain a blog that they use for promotional purposes. A writer writes articles consistently to showcase his/her writing skills, a designer showcases his designs, and so on and so forth.
In this article, we will explore three practical ways that you can create content and titles that are bound to take off. If you can make your blog more popular, more freelance work is right around the corner. Let’s begin.
Start With the Title
For an article to go viral and be talk of the web, it takes much more than good copy. However, if we follow the rule content alone is king, it will be hard to make a post go viral.
Writing a viral post takes a good title. A good title pulls the audience in.
The content has to be solid, no doubt about that. However, the title is definitely the bait to get the readers curious enough to read your post.
Without a good title your post probably won’t get read.
Rule #1. Disagree On a Hot Current Topic
Do you know what people love to do the most?
They love to disagree. If you can write an article that is the center of discussion at any given time and swing it in a different direction, I can guarantee people will flock to read your opinion.
Remember, although you should write for your audience, your blog is your home. We are all entitled to our opinion. Don’t hold yourself back.
For example, if Twitter rolls out a new feature and everyone is going gaga about it, find a way how that feature can be devastating for Twitter or Twitter users and share your opinion.
Of course, you should be prepared to get some backlash, but that’s what surviving on the web takes.
Remember that you are talking about something that is already a hot topic. If many people are looking at one side of a topic, analyze and find the other side of it, good or bad, and explore it.
Be sure to provide reasonable opinion. Pointless blabber won’t help you go viral. But, a strong opinion with enough evidence to back it up will certainly help you draw a large crowd and many will come back for more. This is one rule that seems to work every time. Below are a few titles (examples) that will give you an idea.
- 5 Reasons Twitter Lists Will Cause Spammers to Explode.
If everyone is talking about how great the new feature is find the downside of Twitter Lists and bring it to everyone’s attention. Make sure your title is catchy!
- Facebook Hits Over 300 Million Users, 200 Million Are Spammers.
When Facebook hit the “over 300 million user” mark, everyone was talking how awesome the platform is. Give the topic a different angle and write about why numbers aren’t always the best thing. Express your opinion.
Rule #2. Inject Humor Into Your Piece
Many people are too serious when they write articles. Sometimes the best way to get others to comment and share a story is to make them laugh, or at least smile.
Whether the piece that you want to go viral is an article, a video, or an image, posts that make people laugh are the ones that get shared. Blogs like lolcats.com, and so on, are popular and are always trending.
I am not suggesting that you go totally out of your niche or comfort zone to create a humor piece, but unleash your creative juices and do something that would inject humor into whatever it is that you want to go viral.
For example, this article on a job search site went viral. The key here was to integrate Twitter, one of the hottest social media platforms, and to explore how technology might change job searches in the near future. Above all, there is a conversation going on in the piece that provides the humor element.
Be sure to let the creativity in you out every once in a while and find ways to humor your audience. Laughter is the best medicine and also the best virus. Here are a few more titles (examples) to give you an idea.
- Hey Web Designers, Why So Serious?
(Apologies if you are a web designer. This is just an example.) This title would get many people interested. Remember, designers are one of the closest knit groups of freelancers on the web. This piece could be a great humor piece. You could simply talk about why web designers act so seriously. Of course, the question itself creates curiosity. Curiosity and humor are two key ingredients of the recipe for success when it comes to creating buzz on the web. If you have ever watched the movie “The Dark Knight,” I am sure the title will give you one more reason to click.
- Uhh Ohh, Finally Someone Spilled the Beans on PR Writers!
Another title that would make me click. You can share how PR (Press Release) writers exploit search engine, and so on, in a funny way. The key is to tie the post to your niche or field and make your audience laugh. (Or, as I said before, at least smile.)
Rule #3. Tell Them It’s a Secret Even If It’s Not
Before you point fingers at me and say “how dare you ask me to lie,” let me make myself clear. Some things may not be a secret to you, but are a secret to someone else.
It’s easy to assume that everyone else knows what we know. Well, we are wrong! There is an information hungry audience out there seeking to learn something new. Information may not be new to you or to your existing audience, but sometimes you need to cater to readers outside of your core group.
Think of something related to your field. If you are a freelance writer, share what inspires you to write. We are all different individuals working in different environment and under different circumstances. Sharing your secret might help someone else relate to it and find a better way to do it.
Don’t hold yourself back thinking “this is not a secret,” because something that is not a secret to you might be the best kept secret for many others. Here are a few titles (examples):
- My Secret to Scoring Top Paying Clients
Personalization works wonders. Give some examples and share how you score big clients. The key here is to find something that a group of people would find useful and share it.
- 10 Secrets Online Marketers Won’t Appreciate Us Telling
Now don’t tell me you wouldn’t click on that headline if you saw it on Twitter or elsewhere. ;-)
Producing viral content isn’t easy. Following these tips may not give you results right away, but if you follow these examples and keep trying until you perfect what works best in your niche, I guarantee you will see results.
By the way, these three examples are known and tried methods that many viral content marketers use. However, there are a few viral content secrets that I may save for another post with a title such as “5 Viral Content Traps and How to Set Them.”
Share Your Thoughts and Ideas
Give these ideas a try and let us know how it pans out.
What do you do to make sure you draw a large audience to your content?
Share your responses in the comments.
Image by aussiegall
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