Millions of new blog posts are published each day, but only several of these attract readers’ attention, get comments or become viral. While most such explosive content come from major publishers, every now and then a brilliant article or video from an obscure blog steals the spotlight.

So you can’t help but ask, what makes content viral? Despite the massive number of new interesting blogs cropping up, why do people go back to their favourite sites for content? To answer that question, here are the enduring elements of the most read content.

Headline

Your readers’ time is limited, and they tend to decide whether a copy is worth reading or not based on its headline alone. Interestingly, although eight out of 10 people will read your headline, only two of them will read the rest of your content.

Just like your website, your headline creates the first impression people use to judge what is inside. Here’s what every winning headline should be:

  • It should provide a general understanding about the subject of your content. Having said that, you never want to give away too much. So frame your headline such that it provides just enough information to make people click through to the entire content.
  • Whether you choose a controversial or an unusual headline, anything that appeals to people’s curiosity will always stand out.
  • Your content should make your readers’ lives richer, whether that be through entertainment, knowledge sharing, encouragement, etc. There has to be a good reason for them to read your content.

The headline is just as important as your content, so make an effort to develop a great one. Do this, and you could increase your views by as much as 500 percent. If you ever hit a block, use tools such as the Portent Content Idea Generator to get your creative juices flowing.

Visuals

Visuals are extremely powerful because the human brain is wired to process them more easily and quickly. So they are the perfect tool to make your content more readable and more noticeable. In fact, studies found that content with accompanying visuals get shared twice as much as those without.

We’ve covered some important guidelines on using visual content in this previous post.

Length

Readers have different preferences when it comes to content length. Because of the sheer volume of information they receive daily, some readers prefer bullet points and short lists to easily find relevant, timely and useful information.

On the other hand, some people engage better with longer content. In fact, articles of 1,500 to 3,000 words get twice the number of shares than shorter pieces, which, in turn, generate more backlinks and increase conversion rates.

The solution? Find out which camp your particular audience fits into. If you find that articles with short, quick bursts of information receive more attention and interaction, then that’s what you should be producing. However, be sure to add variety to your mix by creating longer, more thoughtful pieces.

Voice

Every successful blog has its own reader persona that guides their writing style and lends their content a unique voice. If you haven’t found your own voice, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Your voice should be consistent with your blog’s purpose and your audience’s intellectuality. If you want to appeal to decision makers and entrepreneurs, a neutral voice would be best. But if you want to appeal to a broader audience, your content be written in a language that is easy for most people to understand. If you are providing content for entertainment or raising awareness, remember that people recreationally read two grades below their actual reading level.

Find your voice can take a lot of time and practice, so be patient. Test different approaches and observe what other writers are doing.

Master all these four elements, and whipping up content your readers will love would be easy as pie. Remember though that there really are no guarantees – not all your content will go viral. The important thing is you will become consistent in delivering great content for your readers’ consumption, giving them a reason to keep coming back or help to spread the word about your blog.