The 4 Keys To Developing Viral Content

Blogs are often a very viral medium. It’s become commonplace to add a range of “share” buttons to blog posts and invite people to share the content with their friends, or link to it from their site. There’s something about the perceived relevance of blog content (because of its obvious recency) that makes people MUCH more likely to spread the content than regular ol’ web pages!

But how do you develop content that’s more likely to be shared?

There are a few key concepts to make sure you cover to ensure the viral success of your content…

Step 1

First, ask yourself “What other successful viral content have I seen in my marketplace?” Then break it down to its core components. Was it funny? Or controversial? Or just plain useful? Was it related to a current event? Or to a classic story, event or “thing?”

Find out what’s currently popular (or even “viral” in your marketplace) – for example:

  • step by step guides for common problems in your industry
  • inside jokes about your market or “celebrities” in your industry
  • free guides to a secret strategy (e.g. making money online, getting business funding, baking awesome cookies)

Then just brainstorm ways that you can include these successful traits in the content you publish for your visitors.

If you’re stuck for ideas, you’ll find that most industry publications have websites… and most of these websites have a “most shared stories” or “most popular content” section. Check these out to see what’s popular in YOUR market. If you still can’t find anything, try looking up your industry on or searching on for inspiration!

Step 2

Next, you need to decide on what kind of media or platform your content will exploit.  What about putting a video on YouTube?  Or giving away a report on your blog that can be shared and redistributed? How about creating an ebook that can be modified and re-branded by other people? (With this strategy, people are more likely to distribute your content to their subscribers because it appears to come from THEM, but it will still have your links, content and promotion inside AS WELL!)

CRITICAL: You also need to decide how your content will actually generate traffic for your blog. Here are a few ideas:

  • Include permanent links in your report or ebook directing readers to your blog
  • Ensure YouTube videos have your URL stamped onto them, as well as a “call-to-action” to visit your blog at the end
  • Make sure you include your URL on your YouTube channel and in the description for each video – these are links that people can click on to visit your site right away
  • If you’re giving away a piece of software or small application you’ve had developed, include an advert for your website on the “home screen” so that it’s always there in the background, building your brand and allowing people to easily click-through to your site

Step 3

Now you know what content WORKS for your market – and what media would suit it best – you need to create it! This might be a daunting task, but if you don’t want to develop your own content you can find very reasonably priced contract workers at the various freelance websites, such as:

Step 4

Viral campaigns don’t just market themselves from the beginning… you’ll need to prime the pump a bit! Suggest your content to your friends and close business associates and ask them to pass it on if they think it’s worth it. In the beginning, they’ll probably only be checking it out as a favor, but once they see the quality/comedy/usefulness, they’ll hopefully be willing to forward it to their contacts… and so the viral “snowball” begins!

You might also consider pointing some pay per click (PPC) advertising to this content and posting about the content in the forums in which you have begun regularly participating – the ones we talked about earlier in this series.

Your viral content campaign should now be ready to grow on its own. For best results, monitor the number of people downloading/installing your content and “top-up” your promotion as necessary.

So there you have it… a simple 4 step process to follow to make sure your content has the best chance of being well-received, consumed and SHARED… all with a minimal cost to you!

Now, of course, I could go into a LOT more depth about each of these 4 steps… in fact I could make an entire training course on it (now that’s not a bad idea!) However, the 4 steps above are all you need to get started creating content that your visitors not only LIKE, but also SHARE with their friends and colleagues!

Don’t forget, you don’t NEED your content to get millions of views or downloads to be successful… those kind of results are usually just for big brands that spends tens of thousands of dollars getting the campaign started anyway! What you need to do is to make sure you’re just following these 4 easy steps as often as possible, and this will not just improve, but MULTIPLY the effectiveness of your efforts and give you a bunch of free promotion in the process!

So with a bit of strategic planning (i.e. following the plan I laid out above!) you can get some REALLY wide-reaching promotion and a LOT of new visitors to your blog or website.