Have you ever asked yourself what the key is to moving your content past 20 shares and on to 2000– or beyond?

According to a study conducted by marketing professor Jonah Berger, the answer is “emotion”. In his research, What makes online content viral?, Johan examined all the New York Times articles published over a three-month period to pinpoint why certain pieces of online content were more viral than others.

He concluded that various factors influence virality, however all viral posts contain one common denominator: emotion. Any kind of emotion, and —

  • content that evoked positive emotions was more viral than negative content
  • joy moves faster than sadness or disgust, but nothing is speedier than rage
  • users reacted most angrily—and quickly—to reports concerning “social problems and diplomatic issues

Writing the right content for your audience is truly the answer for getting your content shared. It’s a learning process that involves various elements. Here are five tips to making your content more awesome, more sharable, more viral:

1. Include emotion

We already know positive content is the winner of the sharing race but that’s not the only type of content that goes viral. Here are seven other highly shareable emotions that you can wrap your writing around:

  • awe
  • anger
  • anxiety
  • fear
  • joy
  • lust
  • surprise

Check out what SocialTriggers says about it on their post Creating Viral Content? The secret is Contagious.

2. Create a catchy headline

One of the most compelling reasons to share comes down to title. Even before reading, people will share a piece of content if the title speaks to them.  Kevan Lee of Buffer listed numerous great tips for creating viral headlines on this article How to Write The Perfect Headline: The Top Words Used in Viral Headlines.

These are Top 5 “three-word phrases” Kevan found in headlines of viral posts:

  • this is the
  • will make you
  • when you see
  • til you see
  • what happens when

Speaking of hot headlines, Kevan’s post has over 3,000+ shares to date!

3.Use strong and compelling visuals

Words are certainly important but images are too. Visuals can be a great addition to getting your message across while driving more engagement. Ekaterina Walter covers the power of using videos, visuals and social media in her most recent book and in this post, 21 Tips for Better Visual Storytelling, we include compelling calls to action to get more imagery in your content strategy, such as

  • Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos. 60% are more likely to buy a product if video is included.
  • Web posts w/visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without visuals
  • “In the age of “infobesity” and with an adult attention span of 3-8 seconds, marketers need to learn how to stand out with visual content”

Services like Canva are blasting through the content creation barrier and turning even the most “graphically challenged” content creators into fairly decent image designers. There is no excuse why your content can’t have a glorious image to support your killer content.

4. Add a Call to Action

Tell your readers to share your content. A call to action is one of marketing’s best kept secrets and here are three simple, low tech ways to get people sharing.

  1. Use Tweet to Chat to include easy-to-share links to your post. People love sharing stats, quotes and inspiring sound bites. Wrap your up in a custom tweet and give readers an easy share option.
  2. Add a “Please RT” in your Tweet text. You’ll be surprised how many will share it.
  3. Add a please share at the bottom of your blog post. Sweet and simple.

5.Guest post

One of the most well known tactics for increasing virality of content has long been syndication and guest blogging.

We rely on guest bloggers to spread the work and word of our community and their posts on this blog. It’s been a successful strategy for us but we were concerned when Google’s Matt Cutts dropped the Guest Blogging bomb: Google would penalize guest bloggers unless they practiced a nofollow policy.

That doesn’t sound right. Doesn’t that defeat one of the purposes of guest blogging — providing conduits between content authors and sites?

Our blog hasn’t been hit by the clean-up but one of the largest Guest Blogging sites, My Blog Guest, founded by Ann Smarty was back in March. The case against My Blog Guest and the response from Ann, and her community, can be read here.

So if an established tactic such as guest blogging turns out to be truly a Google no-no, what’s next?  Quality content for certain as well as social sharing platforms, like Viral Content Buzz.

Next on #BizHeroes Chat! How to Create Viral Content Buzz?

Tuesday, July 1 at 2pm ET, we’re thrilled to welcome Ann Smarty, founder of My Blog Guest, co-founder of ViralContentBuzz and moderator of #VCBuzz, to #BizHeroes to discuss the process behind creating great content as well as how sharing platforms like VCB can help creators connect with like-minded communities to get your content distributed, read and loved by the right people.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Ann yet, here’s our interview with Ann. We’re thrilled to call her family in the Paper.li community. She’s an amazing marketer, talented entrepreneur and all around lovely person.

 Special for #Bizheroes:

Paper.li can help introduce your content to new audiences in your paper with our RSS content source feature. Additionally, Pro papers all include an RSS feed so readers can add your paper to their favorite reader.

Try 1 month of Paper.li Pro on the house! Just click this link and use the code BizHeroes when you upgrade.


Magda Alexandra Torres
Magda is a Social Media and Communications professional. Her main interests include corporate communications and social networking. She also enjoys traveling, blogging and learning. You can reach her on: Google+ and @MagdaATQ.

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