The Science Behind The Viral Share Effect

viral share

There are some high quality articles out there that just don’t get the (viral) attention they deserve. How information is presented can make or break it’s sharability, so much so that people might not even get past the title. Short attention span aside, there are some key things that can be done to make an article easier to read, more comprehendible, and thus create a viral monster that takes over everyone’s news feed.

1) Positive Emotions

Getting people to have an emotional reaction to an article can significantly help out it’s share statistics. Practical, positive feeling articles get the most shares, while negative, angry, and sad ones receive less attention. Also, stay away from shock-value, no one likes a cheap scare.

2) Research

It might be surprising to learn that longer articles get more attention, but when the word count goes up, so do the viral shares. Remember though, these articles are formatted for easy reading, making it feel shorter than they are. Tricky, maybe, but getting more valuable content than expected is a good thing.

3) Optimizing Shareable Images

Including a photo in a post makes them up to three times more sharable. And if an article is shared on Facebook, a reader’s “likes” show up on their public wall, which means all their friends can see it too. The power of only a handful of likes can multiply quickly.

4) Catchy Headline

Since this is the first thing people see, a headline needs to turn heads, or rather clicks. But be careful to not be misleading (like the example above). An article might get a lot of upfront attention with these so called catchy headlines, but it will ultimately discourage readers, and lose their trust in the end. Opt instead for a numbered list with a lively adjective that works with the content.

5) Authority

Authority is everything. People don’t get medical advice from a hairdresser, just like they wouldn’t get highlights from a pediatrician. Adding a byline will increase shares from every social site. It’s such an easy addition to an already great article.

6) Attract Influencer Shares

Mentioning influencers can drastically increase an article’s sharability. If the article might pertain the them, then mention these high profile people. Just one share could increase an article’s visibility by 30%.

7) The Right Time to Share

As with most things, timing is everything. Make sure an article isn’t published during the Superbowl, Puppybowl, or happy hour. Try scheduling a post to make sure it goes live at the right time, or set an alarm as a reminder. Also, make sure to post at the beginning of the week for optimal sharing opportunities.

8) Revisit Old Content

Have some older content from the past that’s relevant to this current article? By adding a link to this evergreen content in the new article, the amount of shares markedly increases. Plus, this can pull in new readers who want to explore more articles regarding this topic.

Having an article go viral can seem like a game of luck, but by changing its format, publishing at the right time, and mentioning the right influencers, chances for the viral effect greatly increase. See the infographic below for a more in depth explanation of how an article can go viral with the right formula.

perfect -Viral Share


What has been your experience?  Let us know below!