What is viral content and how to use it to get more traffic to your website

Content going viral

You must have come across the phrase “this has gone viral” especially when it comes to some amusing video or an image or even a meme (remember Kim Kardashian’s break the Internet?”). When your content goes viral, it means it is being shared on the Internet in general and social media and social networking websites in particular like crazy. Millions of people may share it on their blogs, on Facebook, on Twitter and personal websites.

There are two ways you can use viral content for content marketing and consequently, get more traffic to your website:

  1. Create viral content yourself
  2. Create content that is somehow associated with the content currently going viral

There is no exact science that explains what sort of content goes viral although there are some fundamental ingredients that may go something like this:

  1. Your content is outrageously funny or outrageously, well, something
  2. Your content is some breaking news that can change people’s perception or can give them a totally different point of view
  3. Your content is something that gives a new twist to an existing piece of information
  4. It captures attention immediately
  5. It encourages people to create their own content based on what you have created
  6. It should have global relevance

How can you make your content go viral in order to generate traffic to your website?

Remember there used to be Digg? The website is still there, it is not as popular as used to be to make content viral. Every start-up would dream of appearing on the first page of Digg. Once you had reached there, you could rest assured that your content would go viral and even if it didn’t go viral, the massive traffic would stall your servers.

There were many ways you could get Diggs for your link, but the best way was to be friends the so-called Digg power users. They were a part of an inner circle that could push any piece of content to the front page. In fact, this also proved to be the undoing of the website. All sort of shitty content was being pushed (because a small group controlled which content would reach there) and eventually they had to back up. Anyway, this is how content used to go viral back in those days.

Listed below are a few ways you can make your content go viral:

  • Keep creating content: Since there is no exact science to know exactly which piece of your content can go viral (even if you apply the above-mentioned fundamentals) keep producing as much interesting content as you can. If you don’t have much content, there is no chance of your content going viral although in rarest of the rare cases, the first-most blog post or an article written and published can go viral but then again, it’s a once in a million chance. Most of the websites and blogs whose content goes viral have been publishing for many years on an ongoing basis.
  • Properly know your target audience: I’m not sure when Kim Kardashian posted her epic butt-thrusting photograph she knew it would go viral or not – maybe she knew because if you know that millions of people are following you, even if a very small percentage reacts, it can set off a chain reaction. But one thing is clear, she knew that her fans would love the photograph and they would share it. What turn it took (according to the Mashable link given above), maybe even she hadn’t expected that. What matters though is, it went viral and as many claim, it actually broke some servers. So knowing your audience helps.
  • Be spontaneous and don’t invariably worry about your content going viral: Again, since there is no exact science to predict whether a particular piece of content will go viral or not, you cannot specifically create content for this purpose. Just keep following the fundamentals because they should anyway be followed for writing, creating and publishing valuable content, use the appropriate channels to promote your content and then move on to your next piece of content. Something triggers the viral effect. It is unknown exactly what triggers it.
  • Keep in mind that visual content has more chance of going viral compared to textual content: This is not some rule that is written in stone, but visual content always has a greater chance of going viral.
  • Network with influencers: Influencers, merely because they are influencers, wield more influence compared to people who are even more talented than them. This is a hard reality of the world. Even if you are a PhD in philosophy, if Kim Kardashian, even with her Internet-breaking butt thrust forward in full glory, says something philosophical, it will get more attention and more responses compared to you. So it would make sense if you somehow convince Kim to promote your content rather than you promoting it yourself.

Creating content that is associated with the content that has gone viral

This may seem like piggybacking, but sometimes, some content that is associated with a viral content also can generate massive traffic. I remember once I wrote a blog post about a herd of buffaloes rescuing a calf from crocodiles as well as a group of lions. A few years ago that video had gone viral. I just blogged about it, wrote a couple of paragraphs and then embedded the video from YouTube. I still don’t know how it happened, but in a couple of days, I received 25,000 visitors to that particular blog post. It was my literary blog and aside from making me some AdSense money (around $15 every day for almost a week) it didn’t give me any business benefit but the blog post still remains one of the most popular posts on that blog.

How viral content can generate more traffic for your business

Remember that if your content goes viral and nobody knows who originally the content came from, it is going to go waste. There has to be some association. If it is one of your images that is going viral, somehow people should be able to know that you are the originator of that image. Maybe there is a prominent photograph of yours or your business product or service. Maybe there is some branding message that makes it easier for people to know that it is from you. Maybe it is your company name that appears with a photograph. If it is a blog post, then it should have links back to your website or blog, If it is a video, there must be some information or some tag that lets people know that you are the one who has created it.

Leave a Reply