Just how do you write content for your website or blog that’s viral? What makes content resonate with and be shared by people?
Here are some tips and techniques on writing memorable content, plus a link to a free 30 page report on viral copy by Brian Clark.
There can’t be many people left who don’t know about Brian Clark’s hugely successful blog copyblogger. Copyblogger is known for providing plenty of advice and help to both newbie and experienced web writers. And after reading one of his free reports, viral copy, I think it’s worth summarising the key points and illustrating them with a few examples of my own.
Although I reckon most web writers know the following tips, they are so important they’re worth reiterating.
- Your headline is crucial – A question, how-to or X ways to do Y are just some of the headline types. There’s plenty of advice available on headline writing, for example, how to write headlines that work.
- Write stories – everyone loves stories. They draw you into the copy and, ideally, the stories should be focussed on the reader. In fact, stories are so powerful there’s even a new buzzword called storyselling.
- Provide something of value for free – let’s face it, you’ve seen many free ebooks, reports and white papers on the web, but the real trick is to give away material that you would normally sell. Make it valuable.
- Viral content is a process – once you start writing great articles, continue the process. Michael Stelzner has built a blog, social media examiner, with 87,000 subscribers using this principle. It’s all explained in his brilliant new book called launch.
Brian also writes about 11 content types to help your words go viral; contests, awards, shocking revelations, contrarian articles, hot news, humour, charity, free content, tutorials, syndication and being controversial. Some of these tactics are very specific, like hot news. You really need the edge on everyone else if you are to succeed.
But I love the following 4 techniques; publicity stunts, free resources, irresistible offers and meme propagation.
- Publicity stunts – they can be amazingly effective, and one that springs to mind for me is the will it blend video series. Created to promote blentec blenders, it’s very clever as it not only shows how powerful these blenders are but who can resist watching them blend an iPad? Watch it on this week’s featured video, and BTW it’s had nearly 11,776,836 views. That’s what I call viral!
- Free resources – this kind of content works like gangbusters. Some of the most shared, liked and tweeted articles and blog posts are resources lists. Here is a great example from Andrea Vahl on the ultimate guide to facebook marketing. Andrea gives us no less than 77 resources. Phew! It’ll take you all week just to read them.
- Irresistible offers – coined by Mark Joyner in his book the irresistible offer, some of the best examples are sales pages from AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc). They make their offers so irresistible, I keep buying them. Well, they are copywriting experts, so they should be good. Check out Micheal Masterson’s 6 figure copywriting.
- Meme propagation – a meme is defined as a unit of cultural information. You’re right, that doesn’t explain what it means, so let me give you an example. A few years ago Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah invented a new term, inbound marketing, and built hubspot into a $20 million business. I would describe inbound marketing as a meme.
So, there are plenty of ways to create viral content for your website. None of them are easy, but then when has creating anything worthwhile been easy?
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