The Secret to the Best Viral Content

After some technical difficulties, the SEOmoz webinar about viral content was finally underway. When you hear about ‘viral content’, most people think that it’s a weird/outrageous campaign à la the new Old Spice ads. After hearing Rand Fishkin’s presentation of successful case studies, it was interesting to see the real secret behind the most realistic cases of viral content – the content is useful and relevant to their target audience!

Viral success in this case means that the sites are shared and  receive linkage from many different domains. Here are some of my favorite examples of viral success that were presented:

Epicurious
This neat interactive site shows a seasonal map of the US. You can click different states and months to find the best seasonal ingredients during any specific time. It’s a simple idea that’s easy to pull off but not that easy to think of. Kudos to Epicurious!

OkCupid
The popular dating site featured a write up dispelling myths about the success of profile pictures. For example, women seem to get the most responses with a flirty, smiley face. Interestingly enough, men who received the most responses from their profile picture were not smiling. This is an interesting and fun article that even got OkCupid a write-up in the New York Times.

Boston
This was one mildly successful example that could’ve been improved. During the presentation, I thought it was great that it was critiqued so that others can learn about formatting and design when thinking of their viral efforts. The site showcases exciting tidbits about how the CIA used magic and trickery in their tactics.

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