Viral content is like a gift sent down from up above. Sometimes it’s completely unexpected, other times it’s a premeditated plan. But, if you’re not ready to handle this opportunity, you’ll lose out on potential business. When a blog or social post goes viral, you have a small window of opportunity. As soon as your content takes off, run through this checklist to maximize your reach.
1. Set a goal
Do you want this viral campaign to increase your social following? Maybe you just want to get down to the nitty gritty and increase sales. Either way, pick one goal, and stick with it. Ask yourself, how can my business best make use of this virality?
2. Define goal specifics and parameters
Sure, maybe you want to to increase site traffic, but by how much? Jot down realistic numbers, and make sure you stick to these goals. For example, I want my blog post to reach 1,000 unique readers in a matter of 48 hours. That’s a realistic goal for me, and it’s also easily trackable. Success is defined by specific measurement, not lofty assumptions.
3. Have a back up plan
Don’t just assume your content will go viral. We can’t always predict the behavior of the public, and how they react to your story. Never get attached to one idea. Draft up several different variations of your content, and see which one gets the best results. For example, people love office pets. Post a picture of your puppy in a Santa hat and a video of your boss trying to put the hat on. Now, see which one experiences a better organic reach.
4. Don’t be afraid to pay
Boost your post on social media and invest in paid promotion strategies. But, don’t immediately throw tons of money into your campaign. Think of it like pouring a glass of milk. If you dump the jug and pour too fast, milk will spill everywhere. Your glass will tip over and you’ll have to start over. Scale up slowly. If you see the paid strategies drastically increasing your reach, then invest a bit more.
5. Engage followers in conversation
This is a great way to keep the story going for as long as humanly possible. For example, if you write a blog about a controversial topic, leave the comments open. Keep in mind, not everyone will agree with you, but at least the conversation will be relevant and ongoing. Every few hours, pop into the conversation and add in your two cents. Don’t ignore what your followers have to say. If you acknowledge and join the conversation, people will stay engaged.
6. Share this post on multiple platforms
If you notice a Facebook post going viral, share the same content on other social media platforms. Don’t be afraid to feature this same story on the front page of your blog or website. Get the most out of your viral content, don’t keep it exclusive to one platform. Always tailor your post to each platform. Resize images, and lower character count when necessary.
7. Follow up with a part two
When a story goes viral, it’s usually because people feel a personal connection. They can relate to your content, and that’s exactly why it gets shared. Don’t be afraid to follow up with a part two. For example, if you posted a video introducing your new office puppy, in a week or so, post a followup. Maybe send out a video of the puppy playing with your coworkers, or riding along with you to Friday night happy hour. If you turn your content into an unfolding narrative, you can ride that viral train for a long time.
8. Reach out to industry leaders that might find your content valuable
Bloggers, marketers, and industry experts are always looking for a new story. Welcome to the wonderful world of media. If one person posts a story that picks up a huge following, you’ll quickly see hundreds of other online outlets draft up a similar version.
9. Write up a case study about your viral success
People love case studies. Use your viral campaign as a way to encourage outside interest after the buzz dies. Include screenshots, and details of how you took your viral content to the next level.
Kristen Vanstrom is the Director of Content Management at Slicktext.com. Slick Text is a top text message marketing provider, and offers innovative solutions for mass, yet personalized text communication.