Producing writing online that goes viral is the virtual equivalent of winning the lottery for content writers, especially in the social media world. A viral connection to readers and browsers can create a huge boost for a brand, a product or an idea. However, while the success is desired by many because it produces exponential traffic to an Internet destination, the actual ability to consistently produce viral content doesn’t happen by accident as much as people think. In fact, there is a method to the madness.
Start With Understanding What’s Popular
Viral content doesn’t happen by accident in most cases. Instead, writers are already tuned into topics and ideas that people are talking about. So pay attention to trends. Figure out what are already major ideas and commentary that people are chatting about at the moment and the figure out how to leverage that trend into new writing. People will be prone to paying attention because it’s a concept that’s already on their radar. Really good writing can be produced without paying attention to trends, but it often gets ignored by the masses. The topics are just not in their field of attention, so the results end up being disappointing as well in terms of generated traffic.
Understand That Viral Comes in Different Shapes
“Viral” is simply a generic term for people liking online content enough to share it with others. However, there are different levels of sharing. Explosive viral reactions involve a sharing that grows exponentially. The result can be so strong, the Internet demand can actually take down computer servers. A perfect example is when a credit card company offers a $25 credit if customers sign up and “like” a page. The response tends to be huge and far more than projected. On the other hand, focused viral responses can be desired when a writer aims at a specific niche market. These responses tend to happen with audiences that spend time digesting the material and analyzing it. Then, if they agree—or in some cases, violently disagree—it gets shared in forums and other arenas of discussion. This type of approach works better when a writer wants to generate a response or action from targeted readers versus general readers.
Remember That Virality is Momentary
Hitting that viral gold doesn’t last. It’s a momentary burst and reaction, and it’s really great when a viral response happens. However, a viral reaction is also like having 15 minutes of fame—it happens, and then the event is over. Good writers focus on generating the big traffic hit and then sustaining it with more good writing on a consistent basis. Done right, viral response waves can keep being generated again and again. Then the traffic becomes something that can be leveraged into desired responses like sales, action, organization or data collection.
Provide a Destination
Generating a reader reaction is great. However, if they have nowhere to go, it becomes a waste. Always make sure your Internet writing provides a direction, destination or action for people to follow when the writing goes viral. Otherwise, all that response energy dissipates without any value. Generating a viral response is validating and wonderful, but turning it into action is even better.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.