Tips from BuzzFeed to Help Your Content Go Viral

The Most Interesting Man in the World. KONY 2012. Psy.

Image: The Houston Press

All of these are testament to the power of viral videos in their ability to achieve brand recognition. Branded video content going viral is something most companies only dream of. However, here are some tips to help steer you in the right direction when trying to develop a viral video or web campaign. 

Jon Steinberg, the President of BuzzFeed, suggests keeping these tips in mind when creating content:

1. Keep it short. Do your best to keep video content under thirty seconds and to keep written content short as well. “If you want something to be shared virally on the web,” Jon explains, “it has to be short.” 

2. Give it an interpersonal, human angle. Make your content something that people will want to share with their mothers, their co-workers, and their friends. When it’s personal, it will get shared.

3. Make it authentic content. People don’t want highly produced content, they want things that feel genuine. Behind the scenes videos can be very successful!

4. Create something people can engage with. Create quizzes, games, and videos they can embed their own images into. People want to engage with content, not just consume it!

5. Offer the ability to comment. Allow visitors the opportunity to give their opinion and react to what they’ve just watched or read.

6. Use lists/images. Everybody likes seeing how things stack up or rank in a certain category. And, images can be far more viral than videos, especially if people don’t have the time or ability to listen to videos in their office. 

7. Give up page views. Many websites with galleries or “Top 10” lists require you to click through all 10 pages to see the whole list. This may earn them a few extra page views, but people are far less likely to read the entire list and will rarely share it with anyone.

8. Make sure your headline is a compelling call-to-action. In the era of Twitter and Facebook, titles matter. Give your content a title that people can’t resist clicking through. 

9. Keep it clean. If the title of your post (or the content itself) is something that will make the sharer feel embarrassed for sharing it, your content will probably not go viral. “Remember,” Jon advises, “that when someone hits ‘share’, they are putting their reputation on the line by sharing with their friends.”

10. Most importantly, tweet, tweet, tweet.

  • Tweet out your article or video multiple times throughout the day and week.
  • Most brands send East Coast and West Coast morning tweets. Figure out what time your audiences are most likely to consume your content, and make sure you tweet it out at that time in multiple time zones. Use a queue to help with this.
  • Place “Retweet” buttons prominently on your page.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for retweets or comments. End an article with: “If you liked what you read, retweet and share the love, or share your thoughts in the comments section below.” This encourages users to engage with and share your content.

Libby Kober
Outreach 

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