Going Viral: What it Means and How to Do it

By Tevin Karani, September 20, 2020

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Whether it’s a photo of an egg or a video of a model congratulating another, online content has the potential to grow beyond what was expected of it. But, you may ask, what the difference is between content that receives a lot of attention and content that goes viral. The answer to that is the number of shares it receives. Viral content is content that becomes popular quickly by being shared by a large number of people.

Your next question may be how do you measure virality? Virality is a function of the virality coefficient and cycle time. The virality coefficient refers to the number of people that an individual is sharing content with while the cycle time refers to how long it takes a person to share content with someone else. The goal is to have a high virality coefficient and low cycle time.

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So how do you make your content go viral? Here are a few tips:

1.  Emotions drive virality

The more emotion you can inspire in an individual, the more likely they will be to share your content with their digital audience. For instance, GoPro’s video of a fireman saving a kitten inspired emotions of delight in the audience that watched it and they wanted to share that emotion. On the other hand, news that inspires shock, such as the recent World War 3 craze, makes you likely to share it cause you subconsciously want to inform your audience or, gauge how everyone else feels about the situation.

2.  People seek out new content

No one likes monotony. We actively seek out and are fascinated by new things. Creating content that no one has created before can lead to your content going viral. A good example of this would be Pewdiepie who was among the first Youtubers to venture into gaming and became the most highly subscribed-to YouTuber for a long time.

3  Originality is not necessary

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Instead, you can figure out what works and focus on spreading it to groups of people that haven’t been reached by that type of content yet.

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4  Practical content works

If people had all the information they needed, Google wouldn’t be a thing. We’re always looking for information that makes our lives easier. That’s why “How To” videos work so well.

5  How your content makes your audience look matters

People are mindful of how the content they share makes them look. That’s why one of the tips when searching for a job is to clean up your social media. The world of social media is judgemental, whether we act like it is or not. That’s why your content should reflect well on the people you want to share it with your audience. Crisp, clean, high-quality content that fascinates, is relevant and evokes emotion works best. The cooler it would make them look, the better.

6  Keep the bigger picture in mind when creating content

People don’t just exist to consume content. They have lives beyond what you think, say or write and, their lives create triggers that let them connect with your content. For instance, hunger is a trigger that could make someone connect with a post about food or anxiety could make someone connect with a post about mental health. Your content should be able to address these triggers.

7  Storyteller

“A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says…” No matter what, your content should always tell a story. The more compelling or intriguing the story behind your post, the more likely people will be to share your post with others.

8  Interactive content works

Interactive content, such as quizzes, gives your audience the chance to play a part in how they consume their content. If you can make it fun and intriguing too, you’re set. The viral potential of interactive content can best be seen in Buzzfeed’s interactive quizzes.

Watch this blog page for our next post on how to achieve virality for products and feel free to tell us how you feel about our content so far. Did we miss anything?

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Tevin Karani

Tevin Karani is a motivated young digital marketing professional, with a bachelor's degree in international business administration centered around marketing.

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