5 tips to help the chances of your content going viral

The key to helping your post or video catch fire online is not forcing it. Just look around, and you should find opportunities.

Imagine this to-do list:

• Pick up milk from grocer
• Take dog for walk
• Upload video so it can go viral.

Is going viral as clear-cut as a household chore? Heck, no.

Last week seemed so packed with viral content that a person might assume that it’s just an everyday chore: Put out content, and it goes viral.

It ranged from the Jimmy Kimmel-concocted Worst Twerk Fail EVER video, to the Guinness Wheelchair Basketball Commercial (this one made my heart melt), and on to the Man Who Hit On His Wife, Resulting from Post-Surgery Amnesia video. A worthy mention goes to the Church Screwing Over a Disgruntled Contractor, earning upward of a half-million views.

First of all, there is no formula to “make” a video or other content go viral. Just follow this approach, and hope for the best:

1. Look around.

Become more observant of your surroundings. The world is your theater; your subconscious will do the work. News is constant and people are naturally entertaining, so just sit back and observe.

2. Make your content resonate.

Can people relate to the content you share? Does it elicit an emotional reaction? Is it positive, negative, humorous, appalling, or enticing? Does it outrage or inspire? Is it controversial, entertaining, funny, salacious, or cute?

3. Keep it short.

A person shouldn’t have to think about what’s going on; the message should just flow. Don’t pack too much in trying to explain; you’ll dilute the impact of what you’re trying to convey.

4. Make it topical.

Does it have immediate relevance to what’s going on in the world, current events, or trends?

5. Make your content easy to find.

Pay close attention to keywords, phrases, and hashtags. Keywords drive search engine optimization. Use the Google Keyword Planner to determine how to title or write the description of your content for better SEO. Post on social platforms that drive momentum: Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Tumblr, Youtube, Imgur.

Finally, if your content does go viral, prepare yourself for the online firestorm or hurricane that will ensue. The Web can be a fun place, but it can also be fraught with repercussions.

Sabrina Jackson is a social media marketing and PR consultant who deems her favorite dessert of ice cream a food group. Follow her on Twitter @Sab_1908, engaging in conversations around her passion for community involvement, volunteerism, pr and social media.

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