On a lazy Sunday perusing Netflix, I watched the movie, Chef, with Jon Favreau (actor and director of Ironman and Ironman 2) as character Carl Casper, a chef turned food cart owner. One element of the movie that caught my attention was Carl’s aloofness about Twitter, tweeting or what “going viral” meant. He soon learned just how easy “going viral” can be and found himself unexpectedly popular on the Internet. And so it is with the Web. However, after chatting with Gen Y Web Entrepreneur Ashley Gilbert of HonestyforBreakfast.com, she explained how entrepreneurs have propelled themselves into the Internet stratosphere overnight and made thousands, even millions, as web entrepreneurs specifically using viral content. May not be your cup of tea, but read on as Ashley shares how leveraging viral content can help to create lots of new traffic to your website, which may be of interest.
Digital media has sky-rocketed in the last few years as people seek their daily dose of news online versus reading a physical newspaper or magazine. And as such, viral media is easing its way to the forefront of the online media world. Viral media is simply a marketing tool that web entrepreneurs use to drive traffic to their websites from other social networking services such as Facebook. Those catchy, shocking, heart-wrenching articles you see every time you visit social media sites is what is known as viral media.
For instance, this article immediately grabs attention by evoking an emotion with a call to action. Nine times out of 10, if someone clicks the link to watch the video and they are impacted, they will share it to their followers and so on.
ViralNova is a site, run by a man in the middle of Ohio, that has previously generated 100 million unique views in a single month. The site’s viral success piqued within six months of the website launch, earning the Ohioan an estimated $400,000 dollars, according to Viper Chill.
Venture capitalists and angel investors are starting to see value in the viral craze, too, and have recently invested $7 million dollars into a ViralNova website copy-cat, Distractify, according to Bloomberg. Here’s a preview of their website:
So, just how are these sites able to maintain traffic success? It’s simple. They’re paying to play. That means that they are shelling out big bucks in Facebook advertisement to drive traffic to their sites. Before 2013, it was simple to share content with users. However, Facebook recognized a marketing and economic opportunity and changed its algorithm to cater to the companies that provided quality content and companies that were willing to pay them to keep their content visible to all viewers.
So, what are some must-have key components for web entrepreneurs considering a viral media website?
Don’t focus too much attention on web design
The web design for this type of website should be very simple. Pictures, video and endless content will keep visitor’s attention once they arrive at your website, not the design. Extra distraction are not desired nor recommended.
Headlines are everything
Have you ever been scrolling on Facebook and your eye caught an article headline that was too irresistible to not click? Then congratulations, you have just discovered the main ingredient to making viral sites successful: a compelling, eye-catching headline that moves you to response. Consider that if a headline doesn’t grab your attention, then its very likely not to grab anyone’ else’s either.
Facebook is your best friend
Twitter is nice, but most of your traffic will come from Facebook, so this should be where most of your attention stays. Facebook has such a large audience that eats up viral content daily and the statistics prove that.
Mix up your content
While it’s fine to re-create content, original copy will add balance to your website. Remember that copy-cat viral media sites are all over the web. To differentiate your website, there has to be a draw to keep readers returning. Consider that there have been sites that have generated tons of traffic one month and then completely fell flat the next.
The viral media niche is still fairly young and there’s still billions of dollars to be made on the Internet. If interested, it is wise to act sooner rather than later. I would also recommend a software called Bullet Viral Traffic to help get you off to a great start. The intent and purpose for these types of sites vary. Some entrepreneurs use them to spread news-like information, while others use them to re-create trending topics in social media. Again, it all depends on your niche and where you’d like to focus. it’s still fairly new and there’s still billions of dollars to be made on the Internet. -AG