Viral distribution remains the Holy Grail of social media marketing, an uphill battle against a perpetual flood of information competing for your audience’s time and attention. It’s tempting to think that good content will magically promote itself, but the battle to provide excellent content marketing doesn’t end with content production. That’s where it begins.
Before your content can ever go viral, it has to be discoverable. Even high-quality content needs a patient zero to get things started. Some attention to the basics of SEO takes some of the pressure off of making that initial connection.
- Mind your media.As tempting as it is to splash your content with clever videos and staggering images, remember that search engines literally cannot see this content. Media metadata must be as complete as possible. Browser presentation standards are constantly evolving as well, so media/application links must be continually maintained and consistently presented.
- Delete the data dump.Large blocks of text discourage search engines as well as readers. Break up your content into manageable chunks of text that display well on the small screens that dominate mobile access. Distribute your media blocks evenly throughout the text to encourage readers and break up the visual display.
- Set up for socializing.Social media is the backbone of viral content. The easier it is for readers to consume and share your content, the better your chances of generating viral transmission. With the current emphasis on mobile access and social networking, sites with social connections earn higher rankings.
- Stick to your schedule.Nothing boosts search engine rankings more than a regular content schedule. When parsing algorithms find a consistent publication schedule attached to your site, the presence of newer content strengthens your site ranking. Readers who know they can depend on the timeliness of your content are more likely to share it.
- Remind your readers.Your audience wants to hear from you, but you can’t expect them to do all the work. If your content is attached to an RSS feed, your readers will get automatic updates and search engines can read your publication history. Email links provide readers with an immediate option for sharing your content directly with others.Getting the message to your readers is every bit as important as providing high-quality, consistent content. Content marketing must cater to search engines and automatic discovery routines just as much as to actual reader. Viral hits don’t build themselves; you must first make them infectious.