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Content Writing Tutorial: Tips for Creating Viral Longposts and Getting Your Content Actually Read and Spread

April 10, 2015 - Posted to Writing

Content 25

First, let’ define the term, “viral longpost.” “Viral” means that something that is posted somewhere on the Internet gets shared an exorbitant number of times. Think of some of the YouTube videos that have gone “viral.” They become shared so many times that millions of viewers open it, view it, and share it with all of their friends and followers. As you write content, you want to get that content shared as much as possible, so that there is a “ripple” effect and it receives lots of viewings and shares. So, how do you accomplish this? You can share the content on social media sites, but how do you ensure that those with whom you share it will in turn share it with others? There are no guarantees, but there are specific content writing strategies you can implement that give that content a much better chance of going “viral.”

Length of the Post/Article

Research is now showing that longer content gets more shares. While common thought is that people want short “blurbs” and simple content, the truth is that these shorter posts do not get shared. Articles and posts that are more than 1000 words have a much better chance of shares. Why? Because if longer content is done well, it contains news, information, and tips that people want to share with their friends.

Writing “well” is critical here. No one wants to read “fluff” or boring presentations. Web content writing that gets shared will contain the following:

The writer will have done the research that will result in good information being presented. This, of course, takes time. Think about when you were in high school or college and engaged in academic paper writing for any number of courses. You had to conduct a lot of research – books, journal articles, etc., in order to get the information and data you needed to write that paper. Research for good content writing must occur in much the same way. Fortunately, you can get a lot of that research online, so that streamlines your method of finding good source material. When you are providing information, education, and tips to readers, you want it to be based on a solid foundation, not just on your thoughts.

The presentation must be compelling and entertaining. You are not writing a research paper here. You are giving information in creative ways, using simple language, so that our reader is enticed to read the entire piece and then think it is presented well enough to be shared with friends and followers. There is a lot of journalistic technique involved in writing good content! Grab their attention and keep their attention until the very end!

Visuals are Critical

If you do not have at least on visual or image, your content becomes boring and dry. Break it up with visuals, and you will keep readers’ attention. Think of all of the animal images that are in posts being shared all over the web; think of the cartoon-like visuals that attract attention. Popular websites have constantly changing visuals, and successful website content writing that you want to be shared will have them too. One specific tip here: Use the “Facebook Preview Image Meta Data Tag” and you’ll definitely set yourself up to get more Facebook shares. For some more tips - check here. Research shows that attention-grabbing images will get your more shares on Twitter as well.

Emotional Appeals

People do want to experience emotion as they read web content, but what emotions do they favor and what emotions are elicited that makes them want to share content? Research shows that emotional responses that are happy, joyful, nostalgic, or of “shock and awe” are more likely to entice someone to share content with others. Negative emotional responses (fear, anger, depression) that are elicited by reading content tend to deter people from sharing content. Keeping this in mind, you will want to use humor, “feel good” stories, or factual information that will shock your viewers. Readers want to be entertained, amused, made to feel good, or they want to be surprised – it’s that simple! Avoid content that will elicit negative emotions – it is far less likely to be shared. Appealing to the right emotions is one of the best content writing tips to be taken serioiusly.

Quizzes and Surveys

8 of the top 10 posts shared in 2014 were quizzes. People love to take a quiz, get their results and share their results and the quizzes themselves with others. Likewise, they enjoy surveys that they will pass on to their friends. If you can come up with content that involves a quiz or survey, you have a great chance of it being shared more often.

Lists of Things/Infographics

People are compelled to read lists of things, because they are easy to skim, and if those lists are amusing, entertaining and/or creatively written, the likelihood that they will be shared is much greater. If your decide to create content that involves lists, make certain that while you are amusing and entertaining, you are also providing good information. Infographics also have strong appeal, because a lot of information is provided in compact form. If you are not certain how to put together good infographics, look at those on popular blogs and social media sites; get some outside help.

Content that is Trustworthy

People will share content that they believe to be true and really helpful. One of the ways to establish trust with readers is to cite research and statistics. Mention studies by name and provide links to them. You will be seen as an authority, if it appears that you have done your research and are referring to that research in your content.

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