I love looking at the social sharing statistics for articles I find online.
You know, how some articles will show social media icons, with a little number next to them showing how many times the post has been shared on each platform?
Sometimes those little numbers astound me. I see posts with tens of thousands of shares, and I’m always impressed.
When you see a post with thousands of shares, you might think a lot of it has to do with luck. Sure – going viral does have something to do with luck, but not quite like you think.
To make something go viral, you have to make your own luck. The old saying “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t work with online content. You have to actively plan and create shareable, actionable content if you want something to go viral. The luck part of it comes after you’ve put in the hard work.
A more appropriate saying for online success would be, “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” Because it’s very true – the more work you put into your content, the more attention it’ll get online.
We’re going to look at some methods you can implement into your content marketing strategy to help your content go viral. Viral success might look like it happens overnight, but you’ll need a solid strategy and perseverance to recreate that success for yourself.
Let’s get started.
Why Do I Want My Content to Go Viral?
Before we talk about how to go viral, let’s talk about why it’s beneficial to you.
When your content goes viral, it exposes your brand to new people. Viral content can lead to dozens, hundreds, or thousands of new leads, more exposure, and more sales. In fact, just one viral post can change your brand forever.
The term “going viral” is somewhat vague, but it generally means the same thing across the board. There’s no exact number that qualifies something as “going viral,” but reaching a significantly higher number of people with your content than you would with an average post is generally considered “going viral.”
If your posts typically earn less than 10 shares each, and one of your posts earns 1,000 shares, it could be said that your posts went viral.
So think about it: if you’re normally getting just 10 shares with your posts, and one viral posts get over 1,000, imagine how many new customers you’re reaching with your content. Thousands of new people will see your brand because of that viral post, meaning you’ve just expanded your audience.
With that image in mind, it’s easy to see why going viral is worth all the hard work.
How to Make Your Shopify Store Go Viral
Making your Shopify store go viral starts with your content marketing strategy. With the right content marketing strategy, you can reach more readers and make your Shopify store go viral without paying for advertising.
1. Amp Up Your Visual Marketing
Readers love visually appealing content. Videos, images, and infographics are among the most commonly shared content on the web. The more visually appealing your content is, the more likely readers will be to share it with their friends on social media.
So how can you amp up your visual marketing and make your content go viral?
Start with an excellent website design. If you haven’t invested in great web design yet, make it a top priority for your Shopify store. You don’t need to hire a web designer to create the perfect store thanks to Shopify’s themes and website-building tools, but it might be a good idea if you’ve got the budget.
You’ll also want to curate very attractive images for each of your posts. Select images that will capture the reader’s attention and keep them intrigued with your content. Consider using infographics to display certain data, or videos to complement your writing.
Above all, make sure each component of your web page is appropriately placed. Hodgepodge web pages are not attractive, and hard-to-follow posts won’t go viral. Minimize distractions from your content, and only feature content that complements your writing.
2. Sponsor a Giveaway
Everyone loves free stuff. That’s no secret.
In fact, people love free stuff so much, giveaways are one of the best strategies to make your brand go viral.
Giveaways aren’t only popular among Shopify stores, either. Social media gurus and YouTube stars use giveaways to boost their online presence, and they can work for your brand as well.
There are a few ways you can sponsor a giveaway. You can ask people to like your brand on social media, retweet a certain link or image, or mention your brand in a hashtag on an Instagram post or tweet to be entered. Almost any strategy that requires your followers to expose your brand to their followers on social media is an effective way to run a giveaway.
You can run a giveaway on your own or team up with another brand to sponsor a co-giveaway. This is a great way for you to reach another brand’s audience while supporting another store as well. Reach out to brand’s offering related products to your own, and discuss the option of running a giveaway together. You might be surprised as the number of people you can reach as a result.
3. Create an Emotional Connection With Your Audience
Have you ever read an article online that really connected with you?
I know I have. And when I do, I generally share it with my friends. And I notice them doing the same with articles they connect with.
Your readers want to feel understood. The better you understand their wants and needs, the better connection you’ll make with them. Your goal is to express your understanding through your content. The better you express your understanding of your reader, the easier it’ll be to connect with them through your content.
So how do you connect with your reader using content?
The idea is to ignite an immediate reaction with your reader. Your headline should stir up some sort of emotion in their minds, and the first paragraph of your content should confirm those feelings. It shouldn’t take several paragraphs to make the emotional connection with your reader.
Pick topics people have strong feelings about to create these connections. For example, a company selling environmentally-friendly clothing might feature an article about how traditional clothing materials are causing the destruction of the world’s rainforests. Readers will sympathize with the cause, feel emotionally connected with the brand for trying to help the environment, and will be more likely to share the content and begin a lasting relationship with the brand. When they share the content, their followers will likely connect with it as well, and the brand will reach a larger audience than before the article went viral.
4. Write About Controversy
Who doesn’t love sharing their opinion on the internet?
Most internet users would be hard-pressed to find an article or social media post without some kind of controversial message left in the comments area.
Everyone wants to have their voice heard, and you can play on that with your content marketing strategy.
It might seem like a bad idea to write content that will alienate some of your readers, but it’ll work in your favor if you do it right. By discussing a controversial topic, you’ll create a very strong connection with some of your readers, while others will feel the need to tell you you’re wrong.
Some readers will share your content because they greatly agree with you. Others will share it because they have a differing opinion, and they want their followers to know how wrong you are. Either way, you’re reaching new audiences, and you’re earning exposure for your brand. In fact, some of the most popular articles on the web achieved so much success because of their controversy. Don’t make any of your readers feel bad for their opinion, but encourage them to share it by sharing your article with others.
5. Use the Skyscraper Technique
The good thing about content marketing is you don’t have to guess which content works and which doesn’t. You can see which topics readers are paying attention to, and which are being shared across the web.
As you plan you content marketing strategy, use a tool like BuzzSumo or EpicBeat Epictions to see which articles in your niche have gone viral over the past few weeks or months. You can see the titles of articles, who published them, and how many shares they’ve earned across social media since they were published.
This data gives you an idea of what you might want to write about in order to appeal to your audience. You can’t outright copy anyone else’s content, but you can use their ideas as a springboard for your own without having to guess which types of content will appeal to your audience.
We put together an in-depth guide on the Skyscraper technique to help you create viral content for your brand, which you can check out on our blog.