How to Create Viral-Ready Content for eCommerce Promotion

Every content creator strives to generate media that goes viral. Content creation for eCommerce is a unique beast since you can’t just post product images on social media and cross your fingers that people share them. Instead, you have to think of content creation as a tool for providing value to those who are likely to buy your products. Here’s how you can create content for online sales that is likely to go viral.

What, Exactly, is Viral Content?

Your average person might tell you that viral content has 1 million views. A marketing professional might tell you that the engagement rate (shares to views) can tell you whether your content is viral. The truth is that neither of these attempts to define “viral” is completely correct.

A piece of content with millions of views and a high share rate can be viral, but the fact is that this term actually represents the way a post or piece of media is distributed. Media is either distributed via broadcast or viral “diffusion.” Understand each type of diffusion.

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Traditional Broadcast Diffusion

Broadcasted information, like television and radio ads, are seen by a specific audience at one time. As an advertiser, your best chance for anyone other than the original audience to hear about your product or service is by word-of-mouth. Broadcast diffusion is how traditional advertisements are shared.

Modern Viral Diffusion

Information shared online has a contrasting manner of distribution to traditional media. Rather than being seen by the original audience only, anyone can share your content and hence increase the reach of a blog post or Youtube video. Modern advertising, which is more educational, entertaining, and otherwise valuable, is shared via viral diffusion.

What Really Makes Content Go Viral?

Kevin Allocca was the trends manager for YouTube. In 2011, he presented a TEDYouth Talk called “Why Videos Go Viral.” Here, he explained that there is a science to viral videos, which may not be what you think. The viral videos he mentioned in his speech had one thing in common—at one point, they were all shared by an influencer.

Over 44 million people have seen the Yosemitebear Mountain Double Rainbow video. What’s interesting about this video is that it didn’t go viral right away. It didn’t get much interaction at all until Jimmy Kimmel actually stumbled on it somehow and shared it with his audience.

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How to Provide Value, in Real Time, for eCommerce Consumers

The key to truly viral content is getting it in front of an influencer. You need to create content that you put in front of an authority in your niche. If you’re selling shoes, write guest articles for fashion websites. If you’re selling supplements, provide value for those in the health community.

  • Identify your target consumer
  • Find out where, online, your ideal audience spends their time
  • Discover your audience’s pain points
  • Provide solutions for your audience and share it via niche authorities

 

Remember that modern audiences don’t want to be sold, they want control. Therefore, your job is to empower consumers through solutions to their problems.

What Platform Are You Hosting On? Does it Matter?

The best place to host your promotional content, besides external authority blogs, is on an internal website page. This way, you build SEO for your brand. So, use a website theme that’s designed for eCommerce and easily lead visitors back to your product pages.

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You’re probably wondering, “Can’t you create viral content on any platform?” Yes, you can. But, when you’re in the business of online sales, you want to make sure your website is optimized for turning all of your new visitors into contacts, leads, and customers. So, use trusted tools that are built for your industry.

Include Video in Your Strategy

Including video on a landing page can increase conversion by up to 80 percent. If you haven’t started using video in your promotional campaigns, now is the time to start. The number of users on YouTube is steadily increasing, so now is the time to leverage video.

If you don’t have a production crew, don’t worry. Many marketers use their iPhone to create viral videos. There are plenty of free tools to help keep video production simple:

OpenShot Video Editor

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This free, downloadable tool for Linux allows you to create 3D animations, curve-based camera motions, composting, mixing, transitions, and vector tiles. The software can even be modified and redistributed under specific license terms.

WeVideo Editor

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Use WeVideo online for mixing and matching over 600 audio, image, graphic, and video formats. Harness green screen, special effects, speed control, and more. Start using it for free to see how you like it, and increase your plan as your video marketing efforts grow.

PowToon Animation Creator

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If you want to create stunning animations, PowToon is the place to start. Create explainer videos and more with the awesome themes and easy-to-use drag and drop interface. Add sound and you’re done. This is a simple system to create branded videos with or without your own footage.

Make Sure Content is Easy to Share on PC and Mobile

You already know that the pages hosting your content need to have share tools, and they need to be responsive. But, are your sharing tools responsive? Are visitors going to be able to share via mobile as easily as they can using a PC? Use responsive social media sharing buttons on content pages to make it obvious that you want visitors to pass your information along to their followers.

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Above All, Be Ready for Heavy Traffic

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of a website crashing or companies having to turn customers away because they didn’t have the inventory to handle a traffic overload. When your content goes viral, these are the challenges you face. So, when you think you’re ready to publish a piece of viral content, pause and check your backend.

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You need to be sure that your website, shopping cart, and autoresponders are setup to handle the traffic that might come pouring in. When it comes to inventory, it’s important to evaluate your historical data to see how major promotions in the past have affected you. Consider taking backorders so you can still make the sale, but provide transparency to your customer that they can place an order but will have to wait for delivery.   

Conclusion

This advice is only the beginning, and I encourage you to learn as much as you can as you move into your upcoming campaigns. But if you’re ready to become a viral content creator, these are necessary elements you’ll want to consider. Get your content in front of authorities, provide value for a targeted audience (this is the real key), host on an eCommerce platform, and use video and responsive share buttons. Good luck on your next campaign and please share your advice for going viral in the comments.

Ashley Kimler

Content Marketer at Heroic Search
Ashley Kimler is a full-time communications specialist and content marketing dynamo at Heroic Search in Tulsa. She’s been marketing for all sized businesses for over 10 years. Follow @ashleykimler on Twitter to see what she and her team get into next.

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