How to Go Viral - GUIDE

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  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


    We would like to say thank you


    Herpreet Grewal(FM World News)

    Nick Judd(Envee Media)

    Travis Bernard(TechCrunch)

    for providing valuable feedback

    on this guide.
  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


    made with love by the team behind

  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


    Hey there!

    If you ever hear the phrase viral content in your line of work, you know

    how we all feel about it. Brands try to achieve it, agencies try to explain

    that its not that simple, and publishers work hard to make it happen as

    often as possible.

    Blogs, online magazines, and news sites are well aware of one major

    issue: The homepage is dead. There are tons of research papers, studies,

    and examples of how home page traffic is declining for media and of

    how social media is now taking over.

    If you think about it, you can rephrase it like this: Social media is thenew homepage.

    Social media is the new homepage.(Click to Tweet)

    While this might not be the case forever, we attempted to create a

    guide that serves as some sort of framework to maximise the efficiency

    of your efforts of attempting to grow your sites audience through social


    In this guide, well be following a simple format: 5 chapters that cover

    our framework, and in each chapter, we provide a definitive list of blog

    articles, studies, and books to go down the rabbit hole.

    We attempt to make this guide a reliable companion of the digital

    marketer. Feel free to drop me an email (

    with your thoughts on this guide; we want to hear your feedback.

    Have fun,David

    David Szabo

    Co-founder & CEOBrandvee Limited
  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


    How do you differentiate normal content from viral content? Often we turn tohistorical data, and we say a content went viral when the data looks something

    like this:

    Thats the spikewere looking for.

    But why does that even happen?

    Theres a great deal of researchers and authors who tried to figure out the whysand hows of this spike. Check our link collection at the second part of thischapter if youre interested.

    For now, lets say that when this spike happens, that means a near perfect,delicate, and short-term balance existsbetween the way the content itself wascreated, distributed, and promoted and the audience.

    The key here is the short term. This is why you cannot put a deterministic valueagainst virality as threshold. Anything that goes way above normal can beconsidered viral. Id highly suggest to see how this viral spikes still end upincreasing the normal as well and end up in an ever-growing spiral. Check TheLinkbait Bump article for that.

    Anything that goes way above normal can be considered viral.(Click to Tweet)

    The first thing we need to clear up is that going viral is not magic. While theresstill a great deal of luck in this (there are way too many variables in the equation),if you follow our framework and apply consistent trial and error, youll definitely be

    able to dramatically grow your audiences size and engagement.

    Kill the buzzword: viralcontent
  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


    To understand what really happens when something goes viral, think of it like anepidemic. Usually, when you publish your content, theres a limited percentage of

    your audience you can directly reach. This is the organic reachof your Facebookpage, the click-through of your sponsored content campaigns, your emailsubscribers, app users, and visitors of your site who come from organic and searchsources.

    And then a proportion of all of these people will start clicking on sharing buttonsand copy/pasting the URL of your content to their friends on messaging apps,texts, emails.

    When the latter kind of behaviour locks into a loop and keeps happening, a spikehappens in your traffic. This is when your audience keeps passing your contentalong from one sharer to another, like when a carrier infects someone with thevirus, and the new infected also becomes a carrier.

    In your case, the pathogen is your content and every time you publish a new one,you test how catchy it is.

    Before we move on, lets differentiate your websites traffic into three majorgroups. Well use this segmentation later.

    Seed views

    When you, as a marketer/editor/social media manager, share a link to your sitesomewhere (it can be your social media account, page, email newsletter,sponsored Facebook ad, etc.) and someone clicks on that link, thatd be a seedview.

    It was shared by you but the only thing you did was plant the seeds. Youll look atclicks, engagement, conversion, etc., from this one. Depending on your industry, amajor part of your audience might come from seed views. But now, were lookingfor something else.

    Viral views

    Every time you publish a post, youre testing how catchy it is. Once you haveplanted the seeds and visitors start pouring in, if the content is indeed contagious,viral views will spike. Thats when your seed visitors start driving others by sharing

    your links. Thats what youre aiming for.

    Other viewsTheres also a third group, which we obviously have to mention but does notdirectly affect what we want to achieve. Every other visit you have, coming fromnon-social sources like search or organic, will also play a role in getting viral trafficdone, but you dont have a direct impact on that. What were looking for is tooptimise your resources around making those spikes repeatable, so consider thisone as a plus.

    Kill the buzzword: viralcontent

  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE


    Why does that happen only occasionally?Elements of Viral Content


    How to Make Your Content Go Viral (by Jonah Berger)

    7 Key Elements for Viral Content (by Susie Brown)

    Creating Viral Content? The Secret Is Get Contagious... (by Derek Halpern)

    Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us (by NoahKagan)

    The Secret to Online Success: What Makes Content Go Viral (by Liz Rees-Jones,Katherine L. Milkman and Jonah Berger )

    Why Content Goes Viral: the Theory and Proof (by Carson Ward)

    Viral Marketing Cheat Sheet: 7 Tips To Give Your Marketing Strategy A Boost (byMegan O'Neill)

    Lessons from Blog Posts that Went Viral (by Jessica Davis)

    Viral Marketing Case Study: How a Brand New Blog Generated 17,584 Visitors InOne Day(by Brian Dean)

    A Data-Driven Guide to Creating Viral Content [New Infographic] (by Brian Dean)

    How to Create Viral Content That Generates 2,500 Visitors Per Day(by Neil Patel)

    How to Make Viral Content: 9 Tips from the Greatest Viral Content Genius on thePlanet (by Dan Lyons)

    Viral Link Building: How To Create A Link Explosion (With A Can Of Coke)(by DavidMcsweeney)

    Kill the buzzword: viralcontent
  • 7/24/2019 How to Go Viral - GUIDE



    Contagious: Why Things Catch On (by Jonah Berger)

    Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck (by Chip Heathand Dan Heath)

    What happens when you see a spike in traffic?Metrics & Benefits


    10+ Content Performance Metrics You Have to Measure (by Tamas Torok)

    Stop neglecting your viral metrics (by Jay Kulkarni)

    Metrics for Viral Content and the ROI of Social Media [Slideshare] (by Alex Nels