Tips for Creating Viral Content
Of course you want a piece of your content—whether it be video, blog, photo, or eBook—to go viral. But 99% of the content on the internet will never be considered viral, so it may seem like a lost cause. In reality, producing something that will be the next internet sensation is within your reach; you just need to have the right ingredients. Creating viral content really boils down to one thing: shareability.
Think of The Wall Street Journal. Their content gets seen by thousands of readers every single day. They are by far one of the most popular news sources in the United States. But we don’t consider their pieces to be “viral” because the news is read and discarded. It’s rarely shared with another person, merely consumed. For something to go viral, it needs to be something others will want to share with their friends. So how do you do that? Here are some tips.
Want to see your content go viral? Don’t piggyback off something someone else has done—the ALS ice bucket challenge, left shark memes, the mannequin challenge, for example—create something new. There’s nothing wrong with making those videos, and consumers will certainly be delighted, but for them to want to share it, you need to say something, do something, or create something they’ve never seen before.
You may think, from reading the news, that bad news is what most people like to hear about. But that’s actually not true. Folks are much more likely to share something positive with others than something negative.
I’m afraid when we think of viral content, we typically think of something funny. Not that funny’s a bad thing—funny things are very shareable. But think outside the box too. Even if what you’re writing or doing or performing is humorous, make sure there’s another aspect as well. Your content needs to be able to connect with others, not just be funny for funny’s sake (or silly or scary or shocking, etc.). Grumpy cat memes were so widely shared not because they were the most hilarious thing ever but because everyone recognized how grumpy cats are in general. Yes, I’m analyzing a simple meme that is not deep, but the rule still applies.
Don’t try too hard
Finally, don’t try too hard. It’s okay to make something funny, but don’t overdo it. You know you can tell when someone is trying too hard to be silly or funny—or scary or shocking. And you can definitely tell when a piece of content is created with the intent of going viral. Most of the pieces of content that are most widely spread are those that were never created with the intention of being shared beyond their small audience.
What have you created that has gone viral? What have you created that should have gone viral? Let me know in the comments.
About the author
I'm Autumn Nicholson. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina, and have been in the digital marketing field ever since. I'm passionate about high-quality content, impeccable grammar, and cute shoes. You can connect with me here:
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