All across the world, companies are publishing digital content at a rapid rate. Every once in a while, through the millions of stories plastered across the web, a piece of content succeeds and goes viral organically. The question is, what happens next? Do you sit back, relax, and wait until the buzz fizzles out? Of course, not — viral posts are rare and definitely not the norm. A recent study shows that out of 500 million articles, the typical share count is only eight. This is why it’s essential to amplify your viral content, however and wherever you can.
Let’s explore the protocol for promoting viral content across different channels.
How Do You Define the Term, “Viral Content?”
In broad terms, viral content is material, such an image, article, or video, that spreads like wildfire across the web through website links and social sharing. However, the definition of “viral content” varies across different companies. For example, you can say that a piece of content is viral if it garners a certain percentage of traffic to your homepage, blog page, or social media pages. Or, something could qualify as viral if it elicits a hundred or more shares. It all depends on your marketing goals.
Want to Keep the Momentum? Here’s the Viral Content Protocol for:
Paid social media: If a piece of content went viral organically, then it would garner a lot more attention if paid social media dollars were put behind it. Think about it — your followers have already responded positively to your post. With paid efforts, you’re able to identify additional like-minded audiences to pave way for increased leads, website traffic, and sales.
Organic Social Channels: Just because you’ve already posted, doesn’t mean you can’t wait a while, change up the copy a bit, and then post again (here’s a guide on repurposing content). Consider re-posting viral content across various social media networks several times after the initial posting. This could also be supplemented with paid social media efforts (ex. a Boosted Facebook post).
Email marketing campaigns
Viral content should be flagged for potential inclusion in email nurture campaigns or newsletters.
An email nurture campaign is “a series of emails that are sent on the basis of a lead’s behavior, which deliver timely, targeted information that helps guide the lead through the buying process.” So, if your content is educational, you can include it in an email nurture campaign so that consumers are presented with information to help them select your product or service.
You should also incorporate viral content into your monthly newsletters. Some people may not have seen your content yet, or they’ll see this as an opportunity to forward the newsletter to their friends and family.
Where there’s a metaphorical viral fire, there’s also potential media placement. As mentioned earlier, viral content is rare — publications relevant to your industry are eager to snap up some juicy stories if pitched correctly. Interweaving this type of content into your PR campaigns is an excellent way to create a credible and positive image for your brand.
For example, Netflix’s tweet went viral for posing the following NSFW question: “What’s something you can say during sex but also when you manage a brand Twitter account?” Immediately, the outrageous Twitter thread blew up and different publications churned out stories about it, including People Magazine, NBC News, and The Huffington Post. Hundreds of brands (such as Ben & Jerry’s, Pop-Tarts, and Wingstop) began to jump in to be apart of the PR craze.
If you have a blog, treat your viral content as linkable assets. Internal links aren’t just a way to expose readers to new pieces of content — they can also boost search engine optimization (SEO). There’s a direct correlation between the quality and quantity of links to the amount of search traffic your site receives.
See What Lessons Can Be Applied to Learn More
Beyond finding ways to amplify viral content, you should be able to explain why, where, and how it became so popular. What made that particular piece of content gain enough traffic to go viral? While there’s no set formula that can promise viral content, it’s helpful to know what elements to experiment with during your next marketing campaign.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What topic did you focus on? Were specific SEO keywords used? Are they long-tail or short-tail keywords?
- Is the copy short and sweet, or lengthy? Is the tone humorous or educational?
- What sets this specific piece of content apart from others?
While we are on the topic of content, check out these six helpful posts:
Types of Content in Content Marketing
Harder-Working Web Content in 8 Steps
User-Generated Content (UGC) for D2C Brand
Writing Content: 5 Tips to Win Readers
Creating Content Assets for D2C Brands
Subscribe Now: The Top Content Marketing Blogs
Angie is the Content Marketing Manager at AdRoll. Prior to AdRoll, she was a Content Writer at various digital marketing agencies. A writer by day and a reader by night, Angie’s other hobbies include cooking and learning useless movie trivia.