Going viral is every marketer’s dream, but with millions of pieces of content uploaded to the web every day, standing out in the crowd can seem almost impossible. With the right formula, however, it’s easy to produce viral-ready content to get your brand noticed today.


Step 1: Choose Your Content Carefully


The majority of viral content is emotionally-driven. If you want your content to snowball, it needs to provoke viewers to laughter, awe, amusement,  empathy, sadness, or joy. If your content is overly technical, opinionated, or long-winded, it’s never going to grab the attention that you want it to. Once you’re chosen the focus of your content, concentrate on giving it real cognitive value–just because your piece is attention grabbing, doesn’t mean that it has to compete with the tabloids for triviality .


Step 2: Pick a Catchy Headline


If your headline isn’t attention-grabbing, people won’t click on it, it’s as simple as that. Crafting the right headline can be tricky. Many viral content wannabes opt for misleading headlines, driving page traffic, but ultimately discouraging visitors. If you want your content to go viral through its own merit, make sure your title delivers the content it promises. To pique viewer interest, try combining numbered lists with lively adjectives; for example, “12 Shocking Weight Loss Secrets,” or “8 Unbelievable Proposals.” If you’re not a fan of list-format, try a title that appeals to reader emotion, or promises viewers a unique learning experience.


Step 3: Research



Viral content is quickly gaining a well-deserved reputation for inaccuracy. As tempting as it may be to skate over some of the facts to make your links juicier, don’t taint your brand by associating it with poorly researched or inaccurate content. In the long run, it will do your business more harm than good. Since research shows that 1000-3000 word articles actually get the most shares, there’s no need to skip over the details to keep your word count down.


Step 4: Visual Appeal


Articles with images get 94% more total views, so couple your content with eye-catching or intriguing images. Most viewers will scroll through the pictures before deciding whether or not an article is worth reading, so take as much care in your image selection as you do in crafting your content. If your article incorporates a lot of statistics or data, try using graphs or charts to aid reader interpretation.


Step 5: Optimize Exposure


To optimize content exposure, post Pinterest and LinkedIn shares on Monday between 9am and noon EST. Share Facebook, Twitter and Google + content on Tuesdays. Avoid sharing content during rush hour, or after normal business hours. In the viral world, timing is everything, so try to time your content release to coincide with newsworthy events that relate to your business or content. Three days after you share your content, it will have lost most of its viral steam, but don’t be afraid to repost popular content at a later date. Even content that receives relatively few shares the first time around can still go viral at a later date with the right timing.