Personally, I believe the term viral is a bit overused, especially as a strategy. I do believe that there’s a strategy to make shareable content, though. There are many factors that can contribute to something going viral on the internet.
Some of the most important ones include:
- Content – For content to go viral, it often needs to be interesting, entertaining, or informative in some way. Viral content is often a combination of well-designed headlines that drive click-through rates along with the substance of the content itself.
- Following – Having a substantial following online often accelerates the chances of going viral. A new social media account with few followers has far less of a chance of content going viral than a large account with millions of followers.
- Sharing – For content to go viral, it needs to be shared by a large number of people. This can happen through social media, email, messaging apps, or other forms of online communication.
- Timing – Content is more likely to go viral if it is shared at the right time, when there is a lot of online activity and people are looking for new content to consume.
- Emotion – Content that evokes strong emotions, such as laughter, awe, or outrage, is more likely to be shared and go viral.
- Platform – Different platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok, have their own algorithms and features that can help content go viral. For example, content that performs well on TikTok’s “For You” page is more likely to be seen by a large audience.
It’s difficult to predict exactly what will go viral, as it often depends on a combination of these and other factors. A couple of outliers that some people often don’t discuss:
- Advertising – If you or your client has developed content that’s unique and likely to be shared, I’d encourage you to invest some funds in sharing it online. It could provide the momentum you need!
- Repurposement – Have you had textual content that performed well? Designing it as an infographic or video could substantially increase the likelihood that it will be shared.
- Refresh – If you find content that someone else has developed that went viral, why not do a refresh and share it again? We’ve updated content from time to time with fresh data sources and visuals and they performed incredibly well!
Viral Content Marketing
How can you create content that has the potential to spread like wildfire? Here are a few tips from this infographic on Viral Content Marketing from Infographic Design Team:
- Create valuable, informative, or entertaining content. The content that tends to go viral is the type that people find genuinely useful, interesting, or amusing. So, if you want your content to go viral, make sure it provides value to your audience.
- Use eye-catching visuals. Visuals are a powerful way to grab people’s attention and make your content more memorable. Use high-quality images, videos, infographics, and other visual elements to make your content stand out.
- Tell a story. People love a good story, and if you can craft a compelling narrative around your content, it will be more likely to capture people’s attention and get shared.
- Utilize social media. Social media is a great way to spread your content to a wider audience. Use hashtags, join relevant groups and communities, and interact with others to get your content in front of more people.
- Encourage sharing. Make it easy for people to share your content by including social media sharing buttons on your website or blog. You can also ask your followers to share your content with their own networks.
Leo Widrich over on the Buffer Blog wrote a great post about what makes content spread. In it, he analyzes some of the elements that helped one particular blog post get over half a million likes. He also references an interesting research paper about what makes online content go viral.