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5 Guidelines for Making a Viral Article

Imagine hundreds of thousands of eyes flooding onto your website! Each pair of eyes, a potential customer or loyal reader. That’s what one viral article can do for you.

With businesses incorporating content marketing into their websites it’s important to know how to make content that is shareable. When your content is shareable each reader does a little bit of your job for you by introducing your work to new eyes. So, how do you make a shareable article?

1. You’ll need a catchy headline

You have to make an article that will catch a reader’s attention from the very start, otherwise nobody’s going to read your piece. Goin’s Writer’s 5 tips for writing a catchy headline are to:

  • Include numbers: A popular form of content is lists, therefore headlines along the lines of “5 Tricks for Befriending Dogs” catches peoples’ attention. Readers like this kind of content because it’s easy to skim while still getting the main ideas. This content works best when your article has a few key takeaways to share.
  • Use emotional adjectives: Insert unique and emotional adjectives to catch readers’ eyes and provoke an emotional response. Use adjectives such as “painless, extravagant, rejuvenating, etc.”
  • Be specific when describing what the reader will take away: Elaborate in a unique way if you are sharing facts, pro tips, secrets, etc. This gives the headline more pizzaz, while also making the headline more specific about what the content will be about. This helps readers make the decision if your content is what they’re looking for.
  • Use the trigger words what, why, how, or when: These words draw eyes in and create intrigue. As a side note, avoid including numbers and trigger words in the same headline most of the time.
  • Make a bold claim: This is like “daring” the reader to read your content. When your content lives up to the dare your readers will leave with a strong sense of satisfaction.

2. Write about what people are looking for

woman searching through a library book shelfWrite about what people want to read, not what you want to write about. You can find out what your audience wants to read in a few ways. First, you can make educated inferences about what your audience wants to read. Think about what key topics in your subject area people wish to learn more about, or find interesting?

You can get direct data about what people are searching for by using Google’s keyword planner. You can use this tool to see exactly what people are searching for, gaining you valuable insight into what your audience is currently looking for online. Make content related to these topics and you’ll be sure to tap into that stream of traffic.

Lastly, Buzzsumo says to make your article relevant. They say to try finding connections between your content and current events or pop culture. These trending topics are already on a large audience base’s minds. By relating your content to these topics you’ll be able to use these topics to bring some of that audience to you.

3. Incorporate multimedia into your content to keep readers’ attention

You want an article that will keep a reader’s attention. Orbit Media Studios says to do this, make sure to incorporate multimedia into your articles. It’s becoming apparent that visual content has a large impact on readers, therefore you want to include images, video, and graphics into your content wherever they’re useful.

Spreading images throughout your content makes your content more visually appealing, makes information retention easier, and breaks your content up from being a large wall of text.

4. Tune your content for shareability

Use easy to read formatting to make your content more digestible. In the same vein as making list based content, make sure to use headlines and bullet points to break your content up. This will optimize your content not only for easy skimming, but also for information retention and ease of reading.

According to Forbes you want to make content that is either quick and easy to read, or very “in-depth”. Research has shown that articles that are either short and easy to read, or long and elaborative, get the most shares. The ones in the middle tend to not get nearly as much love.

The research also says useful, entertaining, or interesting pieces get lots of shares. Readers are more inclined to share useful information so their friends and family can also get the benefits of reading your post. Interesting and entertaining pieces most likely get shared to brighten a friends day, or to share intrigue with one another.

5. Encourage sharing

Make sure to clearly ask for shares on your posts. A clear call to action makes people more likely to share your post.

Make your posts easy to share as well. By placing social links in easy to see areas such as at the bottom of your posts your readers won’t have to struggle to share your posts. You don’t want your readers to have any difficulty in the process of sharing your post for obvious reasons.


By making a few specific tweaks to your content you can optimize your work for sharing, making your content more likely to become a viral sensation. And don’t forget to keep in mind WHY viral content is so great.  Even if your work doesn’t go viral, every share introduces more potential readers and customers to your business. Put these tips into action to bring your business into the spotlight.