Going Viral: What Makes You Click

How do they do that?

These days, a lot of companies and individuals are looking for a foolproof method to make their content go “viral”—or to have people share the content organically just like the common cold. These types of content can hit an amazing number of views because they become ubiquitous, and there’s a high chance that any given Internet user will come across their content while browsing. But how do they do it?

The truth is, there is no proven way to guarantee that content will go viral every time. But by following the suggestions below, you can create the potential for your work to go viral.

  • You need good content. If you want people to share it, it needs to be well-written, informative, surprising, or otherwise worth sharing. You can’t just give people the same content everyone else is already providing—you need to say something that only you can say, or communicate it to a new audience.
     
  • Make bold claims. Don’t hedge! To grab people’s attention, you need to pique their interest. Even if they disagree, they might still click on the article to find out what you’re actually saying. The title of this article is a case in point. By referencing what makes you click, it makes a claim that some people would naturally wonder about. After all, you’re reading this now! Even if people don’t believe you, bold or emotional assertions can grab their interest and make them curious enough to click through. That’s why people look for and share videos titled like "Look What This Amazing Dog Did When Its Owner Was Away." It's enough to make you want to know about the story behind the title, because it sounds interesting. After all, people won’t want to read articles about a dog going on normally while its owner is away, so it has to be something special, right?
     
  • It’s all about timing. If you can link your content with current events or a holiday, or even a nice stretch of the right weather, the things you want to talk about will be on people’s minds. And the last thing you want is to put an article out into the world on a Friday evening, when everyone’s gone home and switched off for the weekend—unless, of course, your post or article is all about the best ways to spend your weekend! Just remember the previous tip about creating attention-grabbing titles, and tailor it to your audience.
     
  • Promote it on social media. Content won’t go viral if no one can find it, so you need to start off by giving your work a boost. Even better if you can target influential people or groups who might be interested and are likely to share it to their own followers or fans.
     
  • Keep it up to date. If it’s about a current event, then having the most recent information available will make your page or article an invaluable resource. If it’s outdated or inaccurate, people will quickly find other sources.
     
  • Make your article a hub. Link to other relevant content. They may well link back to you, and everything you do to increase the usefulness of your page will boost the page’s search ranking. It also makes it more likely for people to share it as a quick way to get other people in the loop.
     
  • Experiment. Don’t stick to one format, topic, or platform—especially if it’s not getting you the page views and shares that you need!

If you keep these points in mind, your articles will be more likely to be shared and gather you a bigger audience—even if they don’t go dramatically viral. So keep at it, keep learning, and keep experimenting. Who knows, your next piece might just hit critical mass and really take off!

Nicole Walters
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