I think we can all agree that when we have published a great new blog post, news article, or other immensely interesting and helpful piece of content it is rather depressing when no one reads it. What we’d all dearly love is for this potentially Pulitzer Prize winning piece of copy to go viral on social media and here-in lies the issue. With so much content out there how do you get your post to stand out above the rest and resonate with your audience….it turns out that it’s not that hard, we just need to turn to the stats!
The following list of 7 top tips for helping your post go viral are based on research carried out online. At the bottom of this article you will find a number of very helpful resources to help you give your post a viral-checkover before you publish it.
#1 – It’s all about the Headline/Title
Think about it…what makes you click on a link to read an article, post or other piece of content. Sadly we are not as individual as we might think as it turns out there are some key elements of a title that make an article much more likely to be shared….and the winning element? Make it a list post. It is no accident that this post is a list (‘7 Top tips..’). Research shows that consistently outperform Headlines of other types of post. In the resources section at the bottom of this article you can find great tools to help optimise your title.
#2 – Images are a must
Let’s face it…however well written and captivating an article is we all appreciate an image or two to break up the content and make it more visually attractive. Studies have shown that content with at least one image generate around 90% more views on social media and views lead to shares. Take your time to pick the a great image though as poorly chosen ones can seriously degrade your content’s chances of going viral! As an interesting aside…research has shown that users search for images of dogs more than cats but that content with images of cats is far more likely to go viral…why? I do not know.
#3 – The right web address
Things get a little techy here…Having the right web address (URL) has also been shown to improve dramatically improve click through rates. The two main things to bear in mind are; firstly, keep it as short as you can…very long URLs for example www.mycompany.co.uk/this-is-a-very-long-title-for-a-blog-post-about-going-viral-on-social-media would be better titled www.mycompany.co.uk/going-viral-on-social-media. Short URLs are over twice as likely to attract a click. In addition you should make sure your website uses user-friendly URLs (Permalinks) rather than the alternative which look like this www.mycompany.co.uk/blog/post?id=123.
#4 – Break up your copy in bite-sized chunks
Once again turning to the research which shows that people only read about 28% of a blog post. Short sentences and well spaced and sub-titled sections will go a long way towards hooking in your reader. Making an article scannable (definitely NOT a word!) boosts readability by over 40%.
#5 – Longer is definitely better
In life there are definitely times when brevity is the order of the day but studies have shown that if you want your article to go viral this is not one of them. Longer posts/articles are dramatically more likely to be shared on social media. Over 75% more likely in fact! We would recommend that you aim for around 1500 words per post.
#6 – Make it easy to share
Once you’ve finished crafting your most excellent piece of content and published it on your website you need to ensure that it is easy for your readers to share it via their chosen social media network… We strongly advise that you have easy to use ‘Share This’ buttons built in to the page on which your article is published and studies have shown that if these buttons are ‘above-the-fold’ (ie. near the top of the page) they are over 50% more likely to be seen than in other areas of the page, thus leading to more people sharing your copy.
#7 – Ask us for help
We have been building websites and advising clients on their copy for very nearly 20 years now and as such are well placed to help you optimise your article or other copy. We’re a professional and friendly bunch with all the experience you need to help get your copy going viral. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you with your content and don’t forget to ask about our Social Media Management services whilst your there.
Resources to help your post go viral on social media
- Headline/Title Analyzer
A wonderful tool that analyses and scores your post’s title. It provides suggestions on how to improve it so that you can get it just right
- Google Keyword Planner
Originally built to help users of Google Adwords optimise their adverts it is also an immensely useful tool for finding out what people are searching for on Google and as such enable you to tailor your article appropriately.
- Readability Test Tool
It’s all very well getting someone to the page on which your article is but if they’re going to share it on it has to be not only interesting but also easy to read. Use this great tool to test your content.
- Shutterstock Stock Images
A huge library of stock images at very reasonable prices to ensure that when you add the all important images to your, hopefully, viral post they look professional and increase the visual impact of your article.