1. Computing

10 Tips for Going Viral

How to Make Your Stuff Go Viral Online

By

Everyone wants more traffic, more views, more subscribers, more followers and more interaction from people. If you can get something to go viral on the web, you can get a lot of exposure in a small amount of time without much effort.

The trick is figuring out exactly how to make something go viral. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. Here are 10 tips you can keep in mind when trying to create a viral campaign.

1. Focus on Current Events and Trends

Photo © Erik Snyder
If something is current, you have a better chance of getting your content viewed because people are searching for it on Google, on Twitter and everywhere else. Keep an eye on the Google News section and check out Google Trends. And news breaks first almost always on Twitter, so pay attention to trending keywords and hashtags.

2. Make a Video

Photo © Tim Robberts
There are no rules on what form your content must take in order for it to go viral, but videos are a big part of the web, and they get shared like crazy all over Facebook, too. If you upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo and get discovered by others who like what they see, they may do all the promotion for you by sharing it all over their own social networks.

3. Pay Attention to Keywords and Tags

Photo © Darin Mickey
This is important for your content to get discovered. Keep in mind that people are typing in keywords and phrases to search for stuff, so you want your content to come up in the results. Make sure your ideal phrases are in the headline, description and throughout the text body if it has more written content. Platforms like YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter also make use or tags or hashtags, which can also help you show up in search results.

4. Get Noticed by Someone Big

Photo © George Doyle
Content often goes viral because a celebrity comes across it and shares it with their massive audience. In fact, this is how Rebecca Black’s Friday video went viral. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get noticed by someone big and famous. You can bug them a lot by tweeting to them on Twitter and hoping for the best, but there are no guarantees you'll hear anything back.

5. Start a Contest

Photo © Brand New Images
Contests are wonderful for spreading the word about something. If you can give away something of value, you can get people to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter and even require them to have to tweet about the contest or post it on their Facebook profile to pull even more people in. A lot of social media campaigns make good use of contests and giveaways to keep their current audience engaged and attract new people.

6. Use Humor

Photo © Brand New Images
People love to laugh and are more than happy to share something that’s ridiculously funny, so if you have a creative knack for comedy, you may be able get quite a bit of attention and viral sharing just by being hilarious. BuzzFeed, which specializes in viral content, often posts lists of funny photos and other stuff that get people laughing.

7. Be Shocking and Controversial

Photo © ballyscanlon
If you’re okay with going viral and being disliked or even hated a little, you might decide to surprise your audience or comment on a controversial issue. When strong emotion is sparked from viewing a piece of content, people naturally want to share it to see how their friends will react about it too. Good or bad, it can still go viral!

8. Use Photos and Visual Content

Photo © Paul Viant
The attention span of the average web surfer is getting shorter and shorter, so you have a better chance of catching the eyes of people with a bold photo or a great GIF rather than with a big block of text. Now, we have major platforms that are almost entirely dedicated to pushing around visual content—like Tumblr and Pinterest. Facebook also makes photos look very large in the news feed now, so people are more likely to notice it.

9. Submit to Reddit

Photo © John Rensten
If you can get on the front page of Reddit, you could get thousands upon thousands of views. Other users upvote or downvote your submission, and the more upvotes it gets, the more it will be pushed to the front of the page. It’s tricky, however, and we recommend that you take the time to get involved in the Reddit community first before just simply submitting links to your stuff for self-promotion.

10. Don’t Be Boring

Photo © Sharon Dominick
Last but not least, you can’t expect anything to get picked up by a significant audience if it’s just rehashed content with a mediocre message. To go viral, you need to do something that’s never been done before. You have to get people excited and offer them something that can affects their feelings and makes them want to share your content with their social networks. That’s what it takes if you want to go viral.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.