How does a single content marketing campaign secure 4 million views, 1,200 publisher stories, and an 850 percent organic traffic lift? It has these elements of a viral campaign.

1. Don't try to target every part of the buying cycle

Content can be created for any stage of the buying cycle, but viral content tends to have mass appeal. To achieve this, you generally need to focus on creating campaigns that are tangentially related to your brand.

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2. Incites a viral emotional response

Viral content uses a strong emotional hook to encourage hyper-accelerated sharing. Through research, we've discovered the leading viral emotions are: surprise, curiosity, amazement, interest, astonishment, and uncertainty.

3. Requires a new research finding

Fifty-eight percent of publishers want exclusive research and breaking news, so use tools like SurveyMonkey and CrowdFlower to bring new data to the table. Tighter budget? Access public APIs to curate and analyze older data, or give previously published research a new spin.

4. Keeps it simple by visualizing quantitative data

Publishers want data visualizations, so your promotable assets should utilize quantitative data. Keep the superfluous qualitative data for a landing page where readers can go for more information.

5. Uses ego-bait to drive the conversation

Ego-bait is great for fueling the conversation. Take, "Marvel Origins" for example, which targeted a niche of dedicated fans while simultaneously resonating with the larger population based on location. The result: more than 400 publishers wrote about this campaign.

6. Uses map-based content to get local and national press

Regional map-based content stirs debate when centered around controversial topics, and the resulting conversation lends itself to both national and local press.

7. Identifies emerging trends and topics

Use Google Trends to identify emerging trends in your industry, and use this data to create a timely campaign that speaks to your broader audience. Newsjacking allows you to harness the conversation by targeting publishers who are covering the trending story.

8. Doesn't serve as an advertorial

Campaigns slathered in logos, branding, and your marketing message won't add value to a publisher's audience. Let your data take the spotlight and keep the marketing-speak to a minimum.

Published on: Oct 21, 2014