Since content marketing is a lot of work, marketers want to be successful at it. With every new “share,” “like,” and “view” comes a jump, a cheer, and a high five in the air. However, as this article by Social Media Today points out, while you’ll find that words “viral” and “shareable” being used interchangeably in the digital space, know that there are differences between the two, perhaps one that holds truer to meeting SEO objectives.

Viral vs Shareable Content

Content marketing serves many different purposes. It has the power to create an enhance relationships with customers and increase word-of-mouth about a brand. It can also help you get found on search engine listings.

Viral Content

The article mentions that shareable content can be tailored to fit the needs of specific customers to inspire them to take a specific action. Viral is much harder to measure given its random nature; it’s much more in your face and disruptive. For most marketers, viral content is much more attractive because it’s quick and success can be achieved overnight.

The downfall of viral content that, most often times, it’s a short-lived way of gaining recognition and lacks sustainability. Viral content is garnering powerful, sudden interest in a brand, but can fizzle out just as quickly. Think of it like meeting your favorite celebrity at a local bar. Once the pictures are taken and the autographs are signed, he or she is gone. There wasn’t a lasting relationship created.


Shareable Content

On the other hand, shareable content allows content marketers to drive the most site traffic and helps build the best relationships with customers who are interested in their products and services. Getting in front of the right user at the right time requires behavioral insight into specific target audiences and the knowledge of how customers use a search engine: to find answers to queries, satisfy curiosity, or to perform a specific action. The most successful content marketers are able to provide his or her own spin and speak to a way that engages their customers.

A fallacy that many marketers will hold is that content marketing is a quick win for direct marketing. That’s not the case at all. Content marketing works like SEO; it doesn’t convert the website visitor on the first visit. Instead, content marketing is all about creating a relationship and earning trust. Although that relationship may or may not end up as a conversion, it will go a long way in building authority and credibility for the brand.

Viral content is a quick win way to draw big attention to your brand for a short period of time. Shareable content sticks to gain trust, credibility, and authority for your brand online and with search engines while helping you establish long-lasting relationships with customers. Marketers have the ability to use both in different instances depending on the specific strategy and goals. When creating content marketing, ask yourself, “Who is the audience you want to connect to?” and “What do you want them to do?” These answers will give you a definite direction to find definite, long-lasting success for your business.