The art of writing viral B2B content
Megan Hicks, content manager and writer at Write This Essay, sheds light on what makes great B2B marketing content and how it goes viral on the web
Every marketer wants to be able to say that their content has gone viral. In the B2B world, this can get a little tricky, as the content you’re creating has to provide immense value to other businesses while appealing to the masses in a way that makes them want to share across the web. Let’s look at business to business viral content creation as an artform that you can work on perfecting.
What are the elements of viral content?
Some will tell you that 1 million shares warrants the label, “viral.” But, then, others will say that virality is a percentage of shares for a post or video on the web divided by the number of people who saw the original post. Let’s just cut right through that debate and take a look at viral vs broadcast “diffusion.” This has to do with the way the content is distributed.
- Broadcast Diffusion Defined - When information is broadcasted, such as with distribution of a message via radio or television, it is sent from the source out to the masses at one time. At this point, the message basically stops being delivered as soon as it’s sent, except for some traditional “word-of-mouth” shares via phone, email, text, and/ or social media. This is the classic format of marketing distribution. This is not what we’re talking about today.
- Explanation of Viral Diffusion - Now, when a message is delivered online, via a website, blog, social media post, or video, it is first distributed to the source’s immediate audience. From here (after the initial broadcast), some of the audience shares the content with their network, who shares it with theirs, and so on. This way there is no limit to how many people can see the content. This is viral diffusion, and it’s exactly what we’re talking about.
So, from looking at the above descriptions, we get an idea that viral information should be shareable. But, what makes content shareable for your audience, their followers, and so on? Here are the two simple elements of viral-ready content:
Provides immediate and great value for your followers, their network, etc.
Triggers emotions that make viewers want to share the piece.
Providing real-time value for everyone in the B2B viral matrix
With broadcast marketing, it was important to understand consumer behavior for your target market (in the case of B2B, other businesses). Now that we’re discussing viral content, you need to broaden your target to include anyone who might potentially view your video. Integrating elements such as comedy and emotions like shock and awe into your content seems to be effective, but there’s more to it than just this.
You can find a lot of information about writing how-tos, listicles, and using calls to action that include asking for “shares.” The more research you do to find out what works, the better informed you will be. Remember, though, that you need to “follow the money.” What works for someone else may not always work for you. As stated in the intro, this is about you learning to perfect the art, and that will naturally include some trial and error. With each element you add to your content, If it doesn’t work, find out why, and make changes; when it does, don’t change anything.
4 emotional triggers that will initiate viral sharing
There are many emotional triggers, such as humor, fear, shock value, and controversy, that make people want to share information. But, here we will focus on the triggers most beneficial for B2B marketing so as to keep this relevant. Here are those four elements:
- Usefulness - Is it useful for the intended business audience? Their audience?
- Knowledgeable - Will it make the extended audience feel or appear knowledgeable?
- First to Know - Does it make the viewer seem like the first to know about something cutting-edge?
- Need to Belong - Could sharing the content fulfill the sharer’s need to belong in a particular group?
If your content meets all or one of the criteria above, there is a chance that it is going to go viral. Always be sure that you answer yes to at least one of the above before you post your B2B content. One safe idea is to think of your content as a way to create experts in your particular field.
In a nutshell, creating viral content for B2B marketing is about the distribution potential of what you’re creating. By ensuring that your content provides immense value in the moment and triggers certain emotions, you will learn to create true virility with your posts and videos. Bookmark this page for reference and re-read the next time you are ready to create a piece of outstanding content for your campaign.
Image credit: http://www.v3b.com/