Tips to Make Your Content Go Viral
Making silly videos go viral isn’t just for social media—it can change industries.
If you have ever used the Internet before, you have no doubt heard the phrase ‘go viral.’ It sounds like a sickness, but it’s a very positive thing as far as online content is concerned. For those who aren’t familiar with the Internet vernacular, to “go viral” is to capture the attention of a seemingly unprecedented amount of people who will spread your content far beyond that of most content out there.
Content that goes viral spreads in a short amount of time and brings a lot of attention, at times being almost newsworthy in that if something gets enough attention, local news outlets (as well as online ones) will mention it, further fueling the content’s virality. However, the real question is “how does something go viral anyway?”
While this can be a complex query to answer, some basic guidelines to remember are knowing your audience, the timing of the content’s release, and how the content is expected to make people feel. Here are some metrics by which to measure to see how likely your content is to go viral:
If you want something to go viral, it should be developed with an audience in mind that is likely to appreciate and share it vigorously. Regarding social media and word-of-mouth sharing power, Millennials are hands-down your best bet because in general, Millennials are the most tech-savvy and love to incorporate technology such as the Internet into their daily lives. Now that they are also becoming the majority of the mainstream workforce and have the strongest buying power, Millennials should be your target audience for current and future content in general.
What you create is just as, if not more, important than whom you intend it for. Traditionally, video or imagery content has the easiest time going viral because of its ease of access, shareability, and ability to delight more than one sense at a time. However, it is possible to have a blog, music, or similar content go viral—it just has to be much more impactful. Above all else, your content should do one of the following: entertain, reveal a truth, teach knowledge, or tug a heart string.
When you release content can sometimes have more bearing on whether it will go viral or not than the content itself. If your content discusses something that is currently happening in the world, it is likely to have much more impact on people since the subject your content focuses on is already known or fresh in their minds. For example, if your content talks about the weird habits of a famous CEO who was just recently in the news doing or saying something strange, your content would be very timely and would likely garner much more attention than it would have otherwise.
More than just making good quality content is how it will make people feel once they’ve experienced it. People are much more likely to share something that struck an emotional chord with them, no matter what that chord is. If your content is silly, it better make people laugh. If your content is heart-breaking, then it better make people cry. If your content is shocking, it better make people upset. You’re content will not go viral if it is boring. Part of what makes us human is our emotions, so people crave to exercise the heart’s feelings as well as their minds. Additionally, people like to be able to share their similar experiences afterward, which further fuels the desire to share it again with someone new.
If you were to see something new that made you laugh, cry, think, or feel disgusted, you’re more likely to share it than something you’ve experience already. Part of the excitement of sharing viral content is to experience it in a new way through someone seeing it for the first time. In a way, this is why “reaction to [blank]” videos always do so well because people are curious to how someone’s new reaction to something will validate their initial reaction.
Length of Time
More often than not, content that is most likely to go viral is not terribly long because it allows people to make true and authentic reactions quickly rather than have their feelings wane over time if the content is too long in length. Viral content is most often for quick consumption so that it can be passed on and shared with others in a short amount of time.
All the above categories are combined to determine the sharing power of content, or the impact it can have once it is passed on to others. What kind of reach can something achieve once it gains high momentum and a significant amount of shares on social media, the Internet at large, and other media?