How to write viral articles

Viral articles are the types that can get over 100k views in few days via the process of social sharing. The quantity of traffic can be so immense that it can bring down websites hosted on cheap-shared hosting accounts.

Viral articles become popular with the growth of social sites which made it easier for the users to share great content, however viral marketing was here long before web 2.0 when the content was primarily shared trough email and word of mouth.

Smart bloggers, SEO experts and internet marketers use viral content to get a lot of traffic, links and sometimes even make a lot of money (if the article is presented in the right way).

Anyway, writing viral articles is different and bit more complicated than writing normal content, so in this post I will guide you trough the whole process of creating one one of these yourself.

1) Social Research

The first thing you need to do before starting to write is to get to learn everything there is to know about your targeted reader, what he likes, what kind of content he liked before, what is interesting for him and in what format he wants it to be delivered.

Try to find the most successful viral articles in that specific niche in order to discover the things that made them so successful and to approximate the size of your audience.

Think about your targeted niche and instead of trying to get the whole world to see your article think only about the people that will really benefit from it. It is better to have 500 targeted than 10.000 untargeted visitors.

Some niches don’t have big audiences, so in this case it means that your article can only have limited success.

2) Framework:

After doing your research you should have gained the awareness about what kind of framework works the best for your targeted niche. People usually prefer lists, pictures and videos over dry words.

3) Headlines:

If you have ever worked on optimization and split testing, then you know the true significance of choosing the right headlines. In one campaign, a simple change of headlines brought around 40% increase in visitor retention, which resulted in a huge increase of sales.

This is even more important when it comes to getting your articles viral, the best content in the world probably won’t get viral if 70% of your visitors leave at the first glance.
Most people never think twice about their headlines. They just write the first headline that comes to mind and they are not aware of the effect it has over the success of the whole article.
A good exercise for coming up with a good headline is to write at least 10 different versions and then choose the one that you think will evoke the most emotions and arouse the most curiosity in the reader.

So important points about choosing a great headline:

  • Write at least 10 drafts before choosing the best title
  • Evoke emotions
  • Make it specific, related and include an instant benefit

4) Sharing

a) Be the first one to share the article on all the major social websites:

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • stumbleupon
  • digg

b) Make the article easy to share by integrating share buttons for most of the social sharing websites. If you are using wordpress, I suggest that you install the sexy bookmarks or the share and follow wordpress plugin.

c) If you feel that you created an article that the targeted readers will love, then you can go ahead and search for at least 2-3 power users (strong influencers for the subject) on twitter, reddit or/and stumbleupon and send them personalized messages and let them know about your article. If at least one of them ends up sharing it, you can expect to get some awesome results.

Quick Recap:

1) Research similar work

Get to know the people that will read your content (be one of them for a while, so you can discover what they want to learn/hear and how they want it to be presented)

2) Use the correct format

3) Have Creative Headlines

4) Share It

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