Make Your Content Work for You: Creating and Promoting Viral Content

August 13th, 2008 Posted in Increasing Traffic

Viral Content: The only kind of virus people actively seek. Google’s paying millions for it, making a huge purchase of the king of viral content, YouTube over the past few years. And if Google sees viral content as the wave of the future, who am I to disagree. If you haven’t heard the term “Viral Content” you have at least been exposed to the idea… Creating content that spreads rapidly around the internet through word of… mouse.

With the cost of quality traffic rising and reaching and maintaining top search engine position becoming more and more difficult as EVERYONE is moving to the net, viral content blows up one of the most spouted off cliche of all time… “NOTHING IS FREE”. The exposure and added traffic that an amazing piece of content can generate is free. That’s the beauty… with a truly viral piece of content, everyone else does your promotion for you, letting you sit back and enjoy the ride.

While some viral content has much more “exposure power” than others, every type of site in nearly every niche can produce some type of viral content. Different sites offer different ceilings, with humor, video, entertainment, and gaming sites offering huge platforms for amazing amounts of viralness. But even if you own something more, umm, boring, you can still reap the benifits of everyone else promoting your site.

Here’s a few tips for creating viral content and an example of each:

1. Give your visitors tools to download or use that relates to your content. If you own a financial blog you might use a microsoft access spreadsheet that you keep your budget with. It would make sense to brand that spreadsheet with your logo, create a link or two on the sheet, clean it up really nice, and release it with your post on balancing your budget. If your visitors download and use that, they’ll see your logo and have many opportunities to continue visiting your site.

2. Consider what tools you use daily in your niche and/or are asked for by your visitors and offer them to your visitors. Say you have a baseball blog and everyday write articles using tons of numbers and stats… from OPS to OBP to ERA to WHIP. Why not create a feature that shows what those numbers are, how to figure them out, and give a calculator that they can add to their site that will do the work.

3. Think like a chain letter! I’m sure you get them still. Those stupid letters that say “if you don’t pass it on, you will die or have bad luck or lose your hair… And if you do, you’ll find your love, millions of dollars, and happiness.” Now, everyone in the world knows these are fake and stupid… Yet people still pass them on because, well, maybe they aren’t fake. And it can’t hurt right? The power of suggestion is a VERY powerful thing indeed. Use it to your advantage!

4. Use Guides, Lists, and Humor! People love top 10 lists, they love bullets, and they ADORE humor!

5. No matter what you decide what type of viral content you create, MAKE IT EASILY SHARED! While this seem blatantly obvious, this is definitely the most important and least considered part of creating viral content. You want to promote emailing the link to your friends, sharing your branded file with everyone in your office, adding the content to every social network available, and adding the tool (with a link to your site/the original tool) to their site, myspace profile, forum signature, and everywhere else! Don’t ever assume that they will do these things on their own… Promote sharing.

  • Give them a quick form to fill out to send to their friends
  • Create a bookmark link on every page and every piece of content
  • Put the social bookmarking icons that related to your site and content in a prominent place
  • Give them the code to add a snippet of code to their site, profile, etc.
  • Give them links to forums which are discussing the content and push them to join in
  • Create an incentive program (or affiliate program) that compensates them for sharing your content (whether monetarily or prestigious on your site)
  • Have them join your newsletter and ACTUALLY SEND OUT A NEWSLETTER

There are tons more ways to promote, but this should at least get you thinking! Viral content can be free money for EVERYONE! So stop reading this and start sending it to all your friends!

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