What the commercial jingle used to do for television ads, viral hits now do for online brands. Jingle writers used to enjoy full careers of short song production that would stick in the brains of shoppers. Now, viral content has moved to the forefront as what sticks in the minds of consumers. But unlike the field of commercial songwriting, viral content can be produced by anyone familiar with a brand and its target demographic.
How can you develop viral hits as part of your content strategy? There are four key points to remember when brainstorming on viral content creation:
- List specific goals for your website content
- Research and know the audience like the back of your hand
- Always pair unique content with interesting or attractive imagery
- Develop a catchy title and use marketing phrases
1. Start with Asking Why
Determine your exact reasons for wanting to produce viral marketing content. Do you want to increase sales of an existing product? Are you announcing a new offering? Whatever your goals are, your content should provide a pathway to reaching those goals.
For example, a European drinking water brand recently launched a plastic water bottle with a little flag that pops up on its cap, to remind drinkers to stop during their busy lives to take a sip of water at least once every hour. The brand wanted to launch this new product through a viral video, to ultimately build sales. These are their clear marketing goals for the next step in content:
- Launch an innovative new bottle design
- Focus on building sales
For this viral video, producers decided to focus on close up images of the bottle cap in action, flag popping up as the sixty minute timer released. That made the new product clear and “sticky” in the viewers’ minds. To build sales, the video background depicted high speed action of people going about personable and thoughtful daily life activities, such as riding the subway, shopping, working in an office and taking care of kids. All of the action was set to the “William Tell Overture,” setting a frenetic pace to the entire presentation.
This video became viral as it offered energizing music, real life action that the audience could relate to and a clear product purpose. It was fun to watch and showed an interesting product, so viewers were inclined to forward to friends on social media. With each forward, the video gained a new set of viewers and potential new customers. Creating a viral video that fulfills a precise marketing purpose can be that simple once you set your goals.
2. Google Your Audience Triggers
Research is key to understanding your audience. By understanding what they love to look at online, you’ll be better prepared to give them amazing content. Knowing the audience as you create a strategy for marketing content is highly critical. In the above water bottle example, the product is meant for busy moms and working adults, so the creators produced content with music and action that is easily understood by these types of people. If the video had been produced for young kids, it would fail because children do not make the decision of what bottled water to buy at the grocery store. Before creating your content, you simply must know who the content must speak to and what that demographic enjoys.
3. Attract With Honey
In viral content development, there are clear winners in regard to what draws viewers and entices readers. In videos and infographics, babies, cute animals and comedic human mishaps are always popular subjects, but the unique factor still remains. You can do something 100 times as long as it’s different 100 times. Content writing should also be crafted in a tone that appeals to the desired audience, with fun, humor or emotional connection in mind. Positive emotions tend to encourage people to forward content to friends and social networks while negative emotions are a turn-off and tend to block forwarding.
In addition, content requires research too. You don’t want to put out similar content with the same boring facts and statistics especially for infographics. Interesting infographics with a unique design and point of view will always win against content that is stale and overused.
4. Headline Formulas and Catchy Titles
As readers and web surfers travel the Internet, their eyes dart about online pages quickly and with a purpose. That purpose is to find the most interesting and applicable information that the viewer can access instantly, then to click on the corresponding link for that content. Marketers have mere seconds to draw a viewer in, before losing them to other pages, sites and links. To capture the audience and build momentum for viral content, producers must ensure the material has a catchy title and – when applicable – a quick, easy to read and enticing marketing descriptor attached to it.
Ideally you are structuring your content with a bold image, catchy headline, subheaders with more informative yet clever titles and short paragraphs packed with information. Quotes, images, videos and cartoons add to your content’s appeal, so don’t forget to add those in as it fits to the content and your audience.
Lastly, remember that words have meaning, and when they don’t have meaning, they are obviously not going to mean anything to your visitors, readers and customers. Content marketing has become a key asset to brand development. Audiences have learned to quickly recognize the differences between paid advertising and content that enriches their lives or entertains, which provides some type of value. Entertaining content writing or imagery is not only regarded as more valuable and believable than advertising, but viewers will direct the produced information to their friends as shared social media interaction. This is where viral hits are born and brands enjoy greatest benefit over even millions of advertising dollars.