Creating viral content isn’t easy. A number of conditions are required in order for content to go viral. Follow the advice in this post to increase the chances of your content spreading like fire over the web.
Viral Content Is Non-Commercial
Calls to action and special promotions are great, but they don’t belong in your content. You can’t have a scarcity mentality when you create content (i.e. do something for others only because you expect them to do something for you.) If you want to stand a chance of having your content go viral, be extremely generous and don’t expect anything in exchange. It’s counter-intuitive, but a promotion-free piece of content will get your company a lot more exposure.
Viral Content Comes in Very Creative Formats
Blogging is good, but it’s not enough anymore. The most viral types of content are videos, infographics, quizzes, apps and tools. Here are some examples for inspiration:

My point is that you have to think beyond blog posts if you want your content to go viral. Blending in is the worst way to gain virality; stick out instead. Be a little crazy; you have nothing to lose.
Viral Content Has Great Headlines
Headlines are the most important piece of your content. This is because with the current information overload we’re all experiencing, we read headlines and then decide whether it makes sense to actually see the content in question. If your headline doesn’t get attention, neither will your content. I put together a list of proven headlines here.
Viral Content Gets Pushed by Influencers
This is a very important point, so please pay attention: you can’t drive your content viral by yourself; you need influencers to help you. This is the approach we use for our clients, which has been tremendously successful:

  1. Find thought leaders in your industry (bloggers, Twitter users and journalists).
  2. Build relationships with them. Help them in any way you can.
  3. Ask them for feedback when you’re creating a piece of content. Don’t ask them to promote it for you; they’ll do it if they feel like it. Ask for feedback; some people will give you feedback and some people will promote it.

IMPORTANT: ask for feedback when you’re creating the piece of content, not once it’s finished.
Viral Content Is Easy to Share and Embed
Great content has two elements:

  1. Social sharing buttons like these ones:
  2. An embed code like this one so people can embed your piece of content to their site (and link back to your site):

Viral Content Takes a Lot of Time to Produce
I know: you want to get something done fast so you can get it out there. But, you can’t create a viral piece of content in an hour. Between putting together a strategy, developing your content, tweaking it and promoting it, you’re looking at 3-4 weeks of solid work. That being said, a viral piece of content a month is far more effective than a few average blog posts or Facebook status updates.
Viral Content Is Innovative
I’d say that about 98% of the content on the web is a spin-off of something else. If you think you can read a few blog posts and combine them all in a more comprehensive post, think again.
“Viral” Content Doesn’t Always Go Viral
Something important to keep in mind is that even if you’re a pro, not everything you do will go viral. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you just don’t. But don’t give up and make sure you learn from what you do: if it works, do more of it; if it doesn’t, stop doing it.
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