Viral content has been the holy grail of businesses online for years.

If a business can get enough eyes on their content, they can gain more exposure for their brand and ultimately earn more bucks for their business. Still, with so many pieces of content going viral each day, the road to well-circulated content can seem unpredictable.

The truth is, however, there are enough variables of predictability that brands can assess to help gain the attention of audiences across the globe. Not only can behaviors of target audiences be leveraged, so can the tools that online platforms provide.

The next time you craft up an article thinking “this is the one,” consider these six tips on creating truly viral content before hitting “publish.”

Stir up emotions

Your data-driven content has the potential to go viral but in order to do so, it needs to evoke an emotional response from consumers. Remember, people mostly use social media for reasons tied to their emotions.

Connecting with friends, getting updates about their lives, and learning about new events around the world all come with their emotional strings. Consider the number of puppy videos, stories about soldiers or parents that fill up your newsfeed in a day.

They rack up huge numbers because they appeal to the common desire to laugh, cry, and learn. No matter what the purpose of your content might be, be sure to motivate your users by serving it to your audience with an emotional twist.

Bust a myth

Sparking a bit of curiosity in your readers is a great way to reel them into an article and eventually motivate them to share it. Write up a headline that promises to dispel a myth that your site visitors are either likely subscribing to, believing, or sensitive about.

Consider angles like “13 Ad Myths Making You Spend More Than You Need to,” or “5 Myths About Your Mother You Never Wanted to Be True.” Whatever the myth you choose to bust, always be sure that you are busting a widely held belief, or virality won’t happen.

Share common mistakes

People are always on the hunt for ways to make their lives easier. So, if they can find a way to take shortcuts by avoiding mistakes, they’ll embrace them. The next time you write up something, frame it in a way that presents article as a guide to avoiding mistakes.

Focus on social good

While people are open to sharing negative content, they’re more likely to share content that will make their followers feel good. Brands that promote humanitarianism and “pay it forward” mindsets will give your audience a greater sense of worth and motivate them to share these similar feelings with their followers and friend.

Readers like content that makes them feel like they’re making a social impact just by sharing. Content that informs readers of the best volunteer and charity programs, and things to know about the environment or recycling are easy for readers to feel good about sharing.

Tie in calendar events and hashtag holidays

Keeping your content relevant and entwined with major calendar events like the holidays will always capture your user’s attention. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or the 4th of July, people will always use the holidays at some point to reflect on their families, themselves and their connection to the world— meaning it’s the perfect time to tap into their emotions and get them to share content that helps spur reflection.

Don’t just limit your content to just the major holidays – there’s plenty of viewership to be had with the lesser known hashtag holidays. From Donut Day to Awkward Moments Day, viewers are using their global connectivity to celebrate just about every occasion. Keep yourself in the loop and your content relevant by crafting pieces that celebrate these holidays and promote their hashtag.

Publish during peak hours

When you post is just as important as what you post. You’ll want to pick days and hours that your users are most likely to be on their devices and available to share. They need to see it quickly for it to spread quickly and go viral.

While it makes sense to think that users would do this most on the weekends and holidays, the opposite is true. Remember, most people use this time to unplug, rest, and binge. It’s not until Monday and Tuesday when they get back to work and log onto their devices to catch up. That’s when they’re receiving, sharing email promotions and social media posts.

In fact, research conducted by BuzzSumo indicates that Mondays and Tuesdays are the most popular days for users to share content. What’s more, studies have revealed that the average blog receives the most traffic around 11 a.m. Eastern Time.

Before subscribing to these findings and applying them to your own strategy, use your analytics tools to figure out the behavior of your own audience. Be sure that the same rules apply or find out which ones are likely to work the best for you based on audience attendance.

media monitoring

Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He's written for many major publications, such as Forbes and Entrepreneur.

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