Simple Ways to Boost Your Content’s Viral PotentialEveryone loves the thought of creating a piece of content that gets passed around online with as much enthusiasm as the gravy dish gets on Thanksgiving Day.

Unfortunately, not every piece of content out there gets the same attention.

So, what can you do to guarantee that your content gets the attention online it deserves?

In today’s post, we’re going over 21 simple ways you can boost your content’s viral potential.

All backed by data-driven research.

Infographic -21 Simple Ways to Boost Your Content’s Viral Potential

The data showcased in this article is from the infographic above put together by Backlinko.


Here’s the breakdown…

#1 – Use odd numbers in your headlines

Headlines with numbers are 36% more likely to generate clicks according to research done by Conductor. A study of 150,000 headlines showed that odd-numbered headlines have a 20% better CTR (click through rate) than headlines with even numbers.


#2 – Use [brackets] in your headlines

In a study of over 3 million headlines, Outbrain found using [brackets] in headlines maximized article’s CTR by 38%.


connecting online

#3 – Use Short URLs

In a study by Marketing Sherpa, they found the short URLs are 2.5x more likely to get clicked.


#4 – Use Descriptive URLs

Microsoft study found trusted domains get 25% more clicks.


#5 – Display a colorful image above the fold

Xerox found that colorful visuals made people 80% more likely to read a product guide.


#6 – Put share buttons above the fold

Google found that elements above the fold are seen by 63% more people than those further down the page.


#7 – Lead with short sentences

People only ready 28% of a blog post, so you need to hook them fast with short sentences. Dr. John Morkes found that short sentences boosted content readability be 58%.


#8 – Add images for credibility

A Claremont Graduate University study found an image (of any sort) boosts content credibility by 75%.


#9 – Make text easy to scan

Use short paragraphs, subheadings, and bulleted lists. Dr. Jakob Neilson discovered that “scannable” online content boosted readability by 57%.


#10 – Be highly-practical

Dr. Jonah Berger found that highly-practical articles are 34% more likely to go viral.


#11 – Use professional images

Image quality makes a big difference. An internal Marketing Sherpa study found that professional images received 45% more Facebook shares than “semi-professional” photos.


going viral

#12 – Get emotional

A study published in the Journal of Marketing Research found content that elicits the emotions ‘awe’, ‘surprise’ or ‘anger’ was 28.6% more likely to go viral.


#13 – Use infographics

Data from BuzzSumo found that infographics generate 2.3x more social shares than how-to posts.


#14 – Images increase shares

Skyword research found that text with at least one image generated 94% more views on social media.


#15 – Mention influencers

Link to influential people in your blog post (and let them know about it). A Columbia University study found that for your content to go viral, influencer shares were “critical.”


# 16 – Ask people to share your post

Include a CTA at the end of your post and it personalized. Hubspot found that targeted CTAs outperformed generic CTAs by 42%


#17 – Publish long content

Professor Dr. Jonah Berger found that longer content was 52% more likely to be heavily shared.


#18 – Always set a featured image

Setting a featured image ensures your social shares will include an image. Social shares with images get 150% more retweets on Twitter and 53% more Likes on Facebook.


#19 – Use your AdWords ad copy to inspire your SEO tag copy

Adwords ads are designed to maximize clicks. Base your SEO title and description tags on Adwords ads to maximize traffic from search engines.


#20 – Include #hashtags

Dan Zarrella analyzed 1.2 million tweets and found that hashtag-containing tweets boosted retweets by 55%.


#21 – Publish between 8 am – 12 pm EST

Shareaholic found that 27% of all social shares occur between 8 am – 12 pm EST.


In a nutshell here are the actionable items you can do to increase your social shares:

  • Use odd numbers in your headlines
  • Include [brackets] in your headlines
  • Use short URLs
  • Use descriptive URLs
  • Include a colorful image above the fold
  • Place social share buttons above the fold
  • Lead with short sentences
  • Include images
  • Make text easy to scan
  • Create highly-practical articles
  • Use professional images
  • Use emotion in your text
  • Use infographics
  • Images increase shares
  • Mention influencers
  • Ask people to share your post
  • Publish long content
  • Set a featured image
  • Look to your best performing Adword Ads to inspire your SEO tag copy
  • Include hashtags
  • Publish between 8am – 12pm EST
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