10 Factors that Help Articles Go Viral

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Who wouldn’t want their articles to spread like wildfire across the internet? In today’s post, I’ll focus on various factors that help articles go viral.

Let’s quickly jump in.

Get Emotional

make your articles go viralContent that doesn’t move readers will likely get ignored.

Try to evoke readers’ emotions in the form of humor, sadness, anxiety, and even anger. Why do you think click-bait articles gained so much traction in the early 2010s?

As you already know, however, click-bait content was rather artificial and annoyingly exaggerated (so, don’t take this route).

While click-bait strategies were inherently flawed and temporary, any content that is genuinely emotional will always stand the test of time without fail.

Many people can still share something (even if they’re not a fan) simply to provide a different opinion and to seek approval, for instance.

Controversy Never Hurts

I’d like to point out the following:

  • Controversy is absolutely NOT necessary to help your blog posts go viral
  • Never force or shoehorn controversy into your articles; fit it in naturally

That being said, don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers if you believe certain details will enhance the article. After all, harsh truths are often hard to swallow but they also carry the most weight.

For example, imagine a well-composed article titled, “Why I Admire Donald Trump As a Democrat.” This, combined with some tried-and-true social media strategies, can help your blog post go viral for one or multiple reasons.

Tell an Exceptional Story

blog post viralityThis is generally difficult for people, as it takes some serious storytelling skills to keep readers hooked and wondering about the moral or lesson of the story.

Storytelling works best if you mix it with emotion, as I previously discussed. Even if the story itself isn’t directly relatable to all readers, its impact could leave them itching to share it with others and/or commenting on the matter.

Story in Images

What if your blog focuses largely on images as opposed to text? Thankfully, a picture really is worth a thousand words (as long as you make it that way).

Say you’re writing out a recipe. First of all, don’t just mindlessly list all ingredients and portions like a robot. How about adding a short story that’s relatable to food lovers and to most people in general?

But most importantly, show a clear “before and after” image of the meal that will leave readers absolutely stunned.

For instance, your blog post title could say, “This is How Awful My Meals Looked Like, But Everything Changed By Adding One Small Step.”

This headline would be followed by your previous “disappointing” meal prep, compared to a beautiful “after-picture” that looks unbelievably different and tastier by comparison.

Leverage Social Currency

Here’s a question: Why do you think people share content that is witty, profound, and humorous? People don’t just do it out of the goodness of their heart…

We share content that makes us look cool, smarter, and feel socially empowered overall. This is the shallow reality.

That’s why the average Instagram profile has some witty quote or one-liner under the main profile photo. This is the reason why we try to find “the perfect” profile picture to represent us on social media.

This is partly the reason you see countless references to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. The very title itself is rebellious and controversial, which has made many people share it for both legitimate AND for shallow reasons.

The same rules apply to blogging. If you can come up with content that genuinely sticks out, people will potentially share it like there’s no tomorrow. All in the name of seeking approval — even on a subconscious level.

Make it Insanely Useful

Granted, useful content by itself will *NOT* automatically go viral. We have all read blog posts that are deeply informative and actionable, only to end up gaining very little traction among readers.

If you combine useful information with everything else covered in this article so far, the chances of going viral will increase exponentially.

But how exactly do you define what’s useful? The answer lies in understanding your audience to the core. Don’t just give them what they need; give them everything they didn’t even know they needed.

For instance, an informative weightloss article could include the following:

  • Encourage cheat days instead of telling readers to “only eat salad no matter what.”
  • Teach calorie counting, general intake, and what amount makes up a pound
  • Link to necessary tools that can help readers with their weightloss journey
  • Factual information, as opposed to myths
  • If using anecdotal evidence, provide multiple examples and contradictory ones
  • Use plenty of statistics supporting the article’s main purpose

Nobody has a reason to share generic, cookie-cutter content, so make sure your articles always go above and beyond as a means of helping them go viral.

Use Power Words

Power words are those that carry an impact (the aforementioned click-bait articles relied heavily on power words). But again, we’re talking about genuine, evergreen content that also makes good use of said words. This combination could very well lead to the next big thing on the internet.

Examples of power words include:

Free
New
Imagine
Instant
Glorious
Guaranteed
Proven
Horror
Banned
Mind-blowing
Mesmerize(d)
Spectacular
Breathtaking
Heartbroken
Outrageous
Furious
Panic
Crave
Boom!
Soaring

Power words can subconsciously raise alarms and make your content pop, thus drawing readers’ attention. This simple headline comparison can give you a pretty good idea:

Average title: How to Have a Good Time in Mexico
Better title: How To Make Your Time in Mexico Truly Mesmerizing

See the difference between those two?

Honorable Mentions

Make your articles easy to read: Forget about complex, academic words. Your aim is not to sound profound, but to help everyone understand your message. The more someone struggles with a lecture, the more like they’ll quit.

Timing can often make or break your chances of virality: Analyze when your audience is more likely to digest your articles, especially if you share them on social media.

Also, leveraging timely subjects (from the news) along with evergreen content can also help your blog post go viral.

Embrace shameless promotion: Simply put, it all starts with you. While many viral pieces seemingly take on a life of their own, you’ll often need to get the ball rolling by sharing it on multiple places over the course of several days (or weeks).

Post your content on a popular LinkedIn / Facebook groups, on Reddit, ask fellow bloggers for a share, and conduct other promotional strategies to maximize your chances.

Ready to Go Viral?

While you don’t need to execute every single step simultaneously with each article, combining some of the above strategies dramatically increases your chances of going viral.

It’s all about analyzing the audience you serve, which helps determine the best approach for your articles.

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