If you do analyze those sites you'll find these three common elements:
1. An Awesome Headline
The first thing that almost all viral posts have in common is a great headline. Headlines get read 5 times more than the copy.
If you manage to create a brilliant headline you can get 8 out of 10 people to read your content.
In fact, headline is the biggest factor determining the number of social shares your content gets. Most people will share content based on the headline alone. I know it seems strange, but it's been proven time after time.
After extensive split testing, the co-founder of Upworthy found that an excellent headline can make up to a 500% difference in shares and traffic.
Here's a ridiculously easy way to get great headline ideas:
Step 1. Go to Digg.com or Buzzsumo.com and type in your keyword
Step 2. Find "Most Dugg" or "Most Shared" option
Step 3. Pick up one of those titles as headlines
Step 4. Drop your jaw in awe of how easy that was!
2. Content length
The second factor is the length of your content. Buzzsumo found that it's most shared posts ranged from 3,000 to 10,000 words.
That means the more in-depth and well researched your post is the more shares it will get. Yes, people love to share LOL cat pics and funny memes, but they also like to share intelligent and challenging long form content.
Not surprisingly, there are 16 times more short content than there is content with 2000+ words. Therefore it's easier to stand out because the competition is less.
3. Killer idea for a post
A killer topic that's sure to go viral is the third factor that you need. Here's how you can get ideas
1. Use Quora to find most common problems
Just go to quora.com and type in your primary keyword in the search box. You'll get a lot of questions related to your topic. Find most common and popular questions and write posts related to them.
2. Use Ubersuggest to generate content ideas
Just like you did on Quora, go to Ubersuggest and search for your primary keyword:
Don't change any settings and just click "suggest". It will search the entire web for related phrases:
Choose a phrase that interest you and create a post accordingly.
There are many other tools that you can use too like Buzzsumo or BuzzFeed. You can also generate ideas from useful comments. And probably the best way is to analyze sites that regularly produce awesome content like Upworthy.
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