The Truth About Viral Content Finally Revealed
Ever wonder why something goes viral? Why others are getting tons of social shares and you’re not? Is it some secret club that we weren’t invited to?
Well finally there are answers, and not just some fluff that someone wrote on the fly. But actually data that is backed by proof.
For a period of 8 months BuzzSumo has been analyzing social shares of over 100 million articles. Their findings provide us with the facts about what is really going on. What is important.
Read on and discover exactly what it takes for content to go viral. Find out what BuzzSumo discovered.
BuzzSumo’s Master List
Key Ingredients To Going Viral
1) Long form content gets more social shares than short form content.
2) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook shares.
3) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Twitter shares.
4) Invoke awe, laughter, or amusement. Appeal to people’s narcissistic side.
5) People love to share lists and infographics.
6) 10 is the magic number for lists.
7) People tend to share content that looks trustworthy.
8) Getting one extra influencer to share your article has a multiplier effect.
9) Repromote your old content on a regular basis.
10) The best day overall to publish content for social shares is Tuesday.
Here’s what matters…
Length And Format Matter
Gone are the days of 300-400 word articles. These no longer rank nor do they get social shares. The emphasis is on providing value and that means writing more.
It is a complete myth that shorter articles are better.
Instead what matters is longer articles formatted properly. This means shorter paragraphs, lists, several sub-headings, possibly some direct quotes, images, charts, etc.
The goal is to visually keep the user engaged and that means mixing it up. It is hard to stay focused on a screen with over 1000 words if it is pure text.
BuzzSumo looked at the top 10% most shared articles to determine the relationship between length and social shares.
They found that “the longer the content, the more shares it gets, with 3000-10000 word pieces getting the most average shares (8859 total average share)”.
While writing super long content may be challenging for many people at least try to hit the ballpark somewhere in the middle between 1000-2000 words, aiming for the latter.
Here are the exact results they got:
Images matter and more so with the likes of sites like Pinterest, Instagram, CraftGawker, and so many others.
We all like to be visually stimulated, whether it’s a super cool car (which by the way I saw one yesterday), an outfit we want to buy, a new decorating idea and so on. While our tastes and desires may vary the trigger is the same – a stimulating image.
Just think of images as food for the soul. They fire up neurons in our brain that trigger chemicals. That’s why we are so easily moved by visual elements. They have the power to make us feel.
BuzzSumo found that articles with at least 1 image doubled in social sharing.
But don’t just use a stock image. Take the time to create a unique blog graphic. It literally takes less than 2 minutes to create something that is your own.
The image is quite often the very first thing that is seen. If it is on Facebook or Pinterest it serves as the deciding factor of whether someone will even click through.
Ask yourself, “would I click on that if I saw it on Facebook”. If so, you are definitely on the right track.
BuzzSumo found the most popular emotions to be awe (at 25%), laughter (at 17%), and amusement (at 15%), whereas sadness and anger accounted for 7% the lowest on their list. This confirms our innate desire to want to feel good versus bad.
Whether we want to share what makes us feel good, make someone laugh, stay connected, and so on we do it because we feel something powerful enough that we are drawn to take action.
Type of Content Matters
Quizzes are super fun. They teach us something about ourselves, sometimes surprise us, and can even inspire us. And what’s more fun than learning something about yourself and sharing that with others.
Quizzes Accounted for 80% of Shares of Top 10 Articles (BuzzSumo).
I recently took the ‘What Career Should You Actually Have’ quiz, which landed the top spot on most shared quizzes by BuzzSumo.
I was not at all surprised by the results. In fact, it just confirmed what I’ve known all along. And in many ways was a wake up call to get back on track with my life. Once I finished the quiz I couldn’t wait to share it with my Facebook friends. Who knew, this stuff really works!
More top shared formats by BuzzSumo:
– how to articles
– what posts (articles whose title started with the word “What”)
– why posts (articles that tried to answer a “Why” question)
According to BuzzSumo’s research, “list posts and infographics receive more average shares than other content types…with 10 being the magic number for lists”.
How fast do you close a shady looking website? What are the elements that matter to you? Why do they matter?
Perception is Reality.
How we perceive something to be becomes our reality and gets directly tied in to our beliefs.
So when we visit a website that is loaded with advertising, no bylines, no author images or author bio, we begin to question intent. And as our questioning increases so too does our lack of trust.
If on the other hand, we visit a site that is visually appealing, clearly tells us who owns the site, and tells us about the author our guard goes down and our trust goes up.
But bear in mind such factors can be manipulated creating the illusion of trust. Regardless, our defenses go down and we are more apt to share.
According to BuzzSumo, trust played the biggest role with Twitter, Linkedin and Google+. Simply adding a byline or bio to Google+ for example increased social sharing by 42%.
Other Factors That Matter
- getting someone of influence to share your article (one such share increased social sharing by 31.8% and doubled with 3 people)
- repromote your content regularly (number of shares drops after 3 days from posting content so repost regularly to continue sharing)
- Tuesday is the best day of the week to publish content for social sharing
BuzzSumo’s Best Days For Social Sharing:
Best Day Overall: Tuesday
Best Day For FB: Tuesday
Best Day for G+: Tuesday
Best Day for Twitter: Tuesday
Best Day for Linkedin: Monday
Best Day for Pinterest: Monday
Let’s face it people love to share so give them something share-worthy.
While the cute images of kittens and babies will certainly have their place in going viral, the truth is that people want more than that. They want long content that they can delve into. Content that will bring something new into their lives, help them to understand themselves better, understand others, the world, and so on. Enrich someone’s life with your content and it will stand the test of time and be shared for years to come.
But remember all shared content needs to begin with quality. That must be the underlying framework from which everything else begins. Without it your content will be short lived.
Provide value, be useful, be trustworthy, invoke emotion, write lots and don’t forget to post on Tuesdays.
Thank you BuzzSumo for all the hard work that you have done to gather this information. It is insightful and meaningful.
To download the PDF of All 10 Ingredients Click Here