Sharing is for Lovers, SEO is for Suckers
Content Creators are still focused on creating tasty content that the GoogleBots will gobble up, thus thrusting their article, post or commentary higher up the ranks of Google Search. Well, I am here to tell you to forget all of that. Those GoogleBots are not the diners you should be creating delicious content for. Instead, you should be cooking up some great strong content that will satisfy the palates of all users; specifically one’s who will share it with others.
One must entice others to like, +1, RT and/or share their content with others. Great content on its own sometimes simply is not enough. Unlike content farms and SEO champions About.com, the New York Times focused on building a brand, loyalty and a community. They installed their pay walls and actually showed a profit; something a lot of people had thought would be disastrous.
The Atlantic took down its pay wall in early 2008, grew its web audience from 500,000 to over 13.4 million visitors a month and showed that there is more than one way to leverage media in the new Newscape.
Was it their crack Tech team slapping keywords on their pages? Producing headlines laced with SEO juice?
What these two publications did was add a number of high-profile writers to drive content, created two new online properties and built up digital ads to pay for those properties.
They now get over 40% of their traffic from Social Media. They changed their editorial strategy to adapt to the burgeoning Social Media landscape; maximizing these platforms as sources of traffic. Spinning stories to go viral.
How did they do that? Here are some way to take you content viral.
Create a Viral-worthy Headline
The headline can make or break your viewership. Create a unique title that has not been used previously. Do research; Google it and see if someone has used it already. Be very specific and draw in a more focused audience. An audience that perceives the article as useful and contains an emotional benefit will engage more quickly. Another way to pique readers interest is to implant a sense of urgency in the title. Do this, before this happens or Why this doesn’t work and how to fix it. Using one, if not all of these suggestions will result in a better engagement rate and more shares.
Create Great Content
In most cases, when creating great content the source material is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of your piece becoming a viral-worthy article or post. Making the new Facebook Ad specs sound sexy or championing the newest update to Foursquare’s api can only sound so exciting and in most cases are a pariah to something going viral. There are, however, some ways to overcome the obstacles poor source material can cause. Again, do research - what’s hot right now?
Writing an article on New Facebook Offers? Create a post describing how a local Health Food store can use offers to sell juices for bladder infections. The term “bladder infections” is trending pretty high right now. You can create an article around the Top Ten Offers on Facebook right now. People love lists, there are whole websites devoted to them, and people simply cannot get enough of them.
People also love feel-good stories. The Internet is not fully inhabited by trolls. There are a lot of positive people looking for inspirational content; especially to share. Write a piece celebrating something, instead of tearing it down and watch the shares pile up.
Conversely, people cannot help but be attracted to controversy. Construct controversial content that will start a conversation. Opening a can of worms can sometimes produce a variety of surprises. Internet trolls are out there and they can take your content viral, good or bad, to new heights.
These are just a few ways to help your content go viral, but once again, it is the content itself. Ask your colleagues to read your piece; share it. Ask you friends to forward it on. SEO is not dead, but virility is becoming more and more valuable in this new Social Media landscape. Create tasty content to serve the GoogleBots just as before, but also don’t forget to appeal to the people who actually consume the content; the reader.