4 Factors Of Irresistible Content: How to Reach the P.E.A.C. of Viral Content

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

There is no perfect formula for creating "viral" or "addictive" content, but P.E.A.C. is pretty close. Employ the tactics with these tips!

How often do you spend hours upon hours trying to think of the next great idea for a blog post?

Do you ever come up with something that seems so exceptional, however, the moment you take a second glance, it seems sub-par at best?

There are thousands of articles floating around on the web that attempt to sell individuals on the idea that there is a perfect formula for creating “viral” or “addictive” content. But that’s not the case, unfortunately.

If it were so, then everyone that ever applied those tactics would be drowning in an abundance of page views.

Related Article: Deep Dive: What Is Your Content Strategy Missing?

I will not try to sell you on the idea that the following four factors are the necessary ingredients of great content. I will say, however, that they are huge contributors to the content that does happen to get shared.

If you take time and practice applying these factors, you will eventually see a significant growth in your traffic and the amount of people that reference the content you create.

1. Practical Value

The main goal of any article you write or infographic that you create should be to offer your reader useful information on a subject that they want to learn more about. If your company rests within a particular niche, do not try to create content that attempts to include a broader audience (at first...). Start small and master the art of creating specific and practical content for your user base. Once you find success in that realm, then consider expanding your range of subject matter.

Go to any well-known business or marketing blog and take a minute to assess the kinds of titles on those sites. Most of them follow the formula, 4 ways to do ____ with ___, or How to achieve ___ in ___ easy steps. Why do these titles perform so well? It’s because they offer a simple, yet practical means of completing a specific task.

In fact, according to a study by the New York Times,  94 percent of people claim that their primary motivator for sharing information with others is based on how useful that content will be for others. That’s an enormous percentage of people whose main motivation for sharing is practical value.

2. Entertainment

73 percent of people who share content online share information because it helps them connect with people who have similar interests. This is content that offers value and entertainment to others. By sharing this type of information, an individual gains social currency due to their proven knowledge of a particular topic.

One of the most common emotions associated with viral content is amusement. Look at websites like Buzzfeed and Viralnova. A lot of their content may not seem extraordinarily useful or practical in nature, however, they evoke a sense of euphoria and are entertaining. If you can find a way to add a creative spin that brings an element of humor to your practical content, you open up the possibility of reaching a wider audience.

3. Awe-Inspiring

How often have you hit the share button on a video, image or article that makes you go “OMG”? I recently read an article about how Target made their toy section completely gender neutral. For many people this was a shocking act on the part of Target, however, most people quickly accepted it as normal (it is 2015 after all).

What was most awe-inspiring about this particular article, however, was the fact that a completely random individual who was no way associated with Target at the time created a fake Facebook profile and decided to “troll” all of those who commented negatively towards the gender neutralization of the toy section.

Adweek article about man posing as Target on Facebook responding to new gender neutrality

Adweek article about man posing as Target on Facebook responding to new gender neutrality

The fact that an individual would go to such lengths in order to call people out based on their devastation towards a topic like gender neutral labeling is both amazing and ridiculous. What’s more exhilarating is the fact that the fake account got away with such commentary for almost 16 hours. The sensation of awe is another reason why publicity stunts do so well.

Companies that purposefully go out of the way to draw attention to themselves based on questionable actions are doing it to tap into people’s emotions. They want to evoke awe and amazement, because in turn that results in a high level of word of mouth and online virality.

4. Credibility

Finally, content that is well researched and which contains concrete proof will attribute you with a sense of credibility. If you can back up your words with sound and reliable sources, people will trust you and be more likely to spread your knowledge to others. When you were in school, how important was it to ensure that every citation you included in an essay came from a reliable and well-researched source?

Why do you think that news agencies and journals are so strict about the content they publish on their sites? Credible sources not only benefit your name and reputation but also help to boost your domain authority and Google page rank. You want to ensure that people continue to rely on you and come back to reference the content you produce. If you get pegged as that person who makes stuff up, you risk slandering not only your name but your company’s name as well.

Related Article: How to Create Content Both CMOs and Audiences Will Love

As long as you continue to practice applying the P.E.A.C. factors, you will eventually pave your way to better and more irresistible content for all of your readers and followers. You don’t necessarily need to apply all the P.E.A.C. factors in every article you write. Even incorporating one or two is a good start. Make a point to assess every article you read and pay attention to which factors are being incorporated and to which degree. It will help you become better at understanding which content performs well and why, and how to apply those tactics to your own work in the future.

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