BuzzSumo recently released a report on the top 10,000 most-shared and viral articles on the Internet. While some of the results were obvious (e.g. having a picture increases your virality), some results are worth taking note of. For instance, did you know that long content with more in-depth research gets more social and email shares than shorter articles? Or that there are certain emotions that you should aim to tap into while creating content to up the content’s viral factor?
The largest number of viral content shares out there were lumped into the emotional category of awe, 25%. That means that 1 in 4 of the top 10,000 most-shared blogs and articles out there were able to awe their audience. Whether this was with amazing facts, unique photos or breaking news isn’t really the point here, the point is that you need to shock and amaze your audience with your content if you really want it to go viral.
A great way to do this is to present visually stunning graphics with mind-blowing facts and data connected to a personal story that takes the reader’s breath away. You want them to be so struck with awe that their immediate reaction after reading the content is, “I have to share this with so and so.” Of course, not every blog you write can be awe-inspiring; sometimes the info you have to share just isn’t that exciting. But try to approach your content creation from this point of view and if you can figure out an angle, go with it. If not, try being humorous.
Humor and laughter came in with 17% of the most-viral content out there, meaning that if you can take your reader away from the mundane life he or she is leading or get their mind off of the mindless drivel you are talking about, do it. Laughter is a great way to get information and data out there, not just for viral purposes, but for creating an impression with the customer as well.
Of course, not everyone can be Adam Sandler and not every situation is appropriate for comedy, but throwing a few funny analogies out there isn’t that difficult. Just make sure they are appropriate and not cliché (nobody wants to hear a knock-knock joke unless it’s clever!). If you want to be subtle about it, you can even just have funny subtitles, like maybe instead of writing “Evoke Laughter” here, we could have written “eVoke Laughter with Funny eMails.”
While laughter and amusement are closely associated, it is noteworthy that BuzzSumo separated the two emotions, with “amusement” claiming stake to 15% of the most-shared content out there. While humor and laughter can be amusing, this isn’t the only way to capture this viral emotion. Quizzes are amusing, in fact, 7 out of every 10 of the most-viral content out there is a quiz. Find different ways to amuse (and involve) your audience through your content and you’ll see a ton of success.
Stay Away from Sadness and Anger
Unless you have a strong business model built on sadness and anger, try to stay away from evoking these emotions. For instance, tapping into sadness to get donations to kids in Africa or abused pets will work for virality, as will getting people so angry about ISIS that they share videos, but this generally doesn’t go over well in the internet marketing world.