Solid content marketing is elusive to some, but not as complicated as you might think.

Here are a few interesting facts for you. Social media ad spend is set to increase to $17.34 billion by 2019. Last year alone, promoted tweet engagement was up by 91 percent (YOY) and in the same period, Instagram brought in $1.53 billion just in mobile ad revenue. With the millions of brands competing to be heard across the web, it’s not surprising that it takes a little extra to make your content go viral.

Having a great idea is only the starting point. In fact, it may not even be the starting point, if you consider the fact that every story has already been told. Different versions of the same thing – yes – but they get recycled, repackaged and retold. What’s the main factor that keeps enticing us back to the movie theater or getting us liking and sharing these (already watched) YouTube videos? The way the story is told.

The different perspective or brand spin that you bring to the table. The fresh voices, new characters, right lighting and visual effects. As well as a few other key factors you need to take into consideration when it comes to taking your content viral.

Timing is everything

You may sell the same product each year, but I’ll bet you change your message depending on the date. Ask any bright-eyed social media manager about timing in their campaigns and they’ll all agree it’s vital in making your content go viral. The jury’s still out on exactly when the best time is to post, seeing as it depends on the audience you’re looking to reach and what you’re selling. But the main thing everyone agrees on is that the right timing can make or break your content’s success.

When it comes to everyday messages, ask yourself what time your target is likely to be checking their Facebook. The best way of doing this is trial and error, as every company is different, but there are a few obvious rules to follow. East and Central time in the US make up almost 80 percent of the population, so it’s wise to use that as your benchmark if you’re marketing to a US audience.

Create a great piece of content with an emotional pull and a fresh perspective. Now launch it when your target is asleep or otherwise engaged, and watch it head to the cemetery of dead social media pieces. Just like buses and finding the right partner, timing is everything.

Timing goes beyond the day to day, as well. Especially when you sell a product that can be tailored to seasonal promotions. For example, iconic taquitos brand, José Olé, recently created fun and instructional recipe videos for the latest Super Bowl. Each video created a festive, easy-to-make dish using José Olé products in a different way. This was a great way to engage with fans and get them to think “outside the box” when it came to eating their favorite frozen snacks. Ah, the power of possibilities!

Make it visually appealing

This might sound rather obvious, but sometimes we forget the power of images, especially when marketing to B2B customers. It may have been a long time since your target was painting by numbers, but that doesn’t make the need for good imagery any less important. In fact, even if you’re writing an article, the accompanying images you choose will have a massive influence on your CTR.

Adding a photo to your tweet increases its chances of retweet by 30 percent. Photos on Facebook make up over 75 percent of all liked and shared content. While it’s true that your piece needs to be well-written, original and relevant to your readers; if your image fails to inspire, your article won’t get read.

According to Brain Rules, vision outsmarts all our other senses. Hear a piece of information today and in about three days time, you’ll remember around 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember as much as 65 percent.

That’s not just limited to images, but also fonts, typography and use of space. Take popular news and entertainment site, Elite Daily. Same stories, different spin. And an awesome use of imagery that commands attention and encourages readers to click and share.

Tug at the heart strings

Using emotion can be a great way of getting your content to go viral, especially when wrapped up with your own perspective. Take Allegro, popular Polish auction site. You probably saw that Christmas video right? The one that had people tearing up all around the world. When an elderly Polish man orders a book called “English for Beginners,” it immediately strikes a chord with a huge segment of the world who has to learn our language.


New message? Hardly. But, as the ad continues, it’s peppered with humor, hilarious pronunciations and mispronunciations, an airport, a dog, and, well, I’m welling up already. There’s nothing new about a Pole learning English, just as there may be nothing new about your product. But market to people’s emotions using the right timing, fresh perspective and great imagery, and you’ve got a recipe to take your content viral.

Formerly a Vice President of Content Marketing, Molly is the Co-Founder of The Unicorn in the Room, as well as a Marketing & Business Columnist for INC and The Huffington Post.

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