What Makes Content Go Viral?

by Emily Retherford

2 min read

How many times have you seen an excellent product skyrocket in popularity due to online sharing? This phenomenon is called going viral, and it takes viral content marketing to make a product go viral. This means creating content that invokes a strong emotional response in a huge number of people. Here is how you make products go viral.

Create Shareable Content

Social sharing is the cornerstone of viral content marketing. People share content that accomplishes the following end results:

  • Inspires strong feelings, such as amusement, pleasure, curiosity, and surprise*Helps others, such as charity or social cause awareness
  • Generates a benefit, such as useful information, giveaways, and photo features.
  • Raises reputation, such as content that aligns with the sharer’s social group’s interests.

Amusing videos and cute pictures inspire strong positive emotions. Informative posts about worthy charities or causes help others. DIY posts, how-to guides, and contest posts generate benefits, and organic content that directly targets your audience raises reputation by painting your audience in its preferred light.

Know Your Audience

Before you can know what is valuable or invokes an emotional response in your audience, you have to know your audience intimately. Check out your customer database to see who is buying your product or service. Know your ideal customer’s gender, age, income, interests, and location. Ask for your customers’ feedback, either via surveys or social media, and know what your customer expects from an experience with your company.

Social tools such as HootSuite and Facebook Insights can help you see how audiences respond to your existing updates. In turn, you can use that information to craft future additions to your social media queue. If your audience on Facebook shares a ton of videos, then create even more videos. Maybe your Pinterest followers love infographics, so get ready to fill the world with more well-designed information and statistics.

Be Natural

It may seem obvious to inject your product into every bit of marketing content that you release, but your audience will see right through it. Your audience seeks genuine value from your content, so take the time to design meaningful posts.

Perhaps a cute puppy video won’t feature your dog lover’s product at all, but your brand goes viral on behalf of strong content generation anyway. Or maybe your software product features subtly as a solution to a common problem in a playbook-style tech guide. Maybe your viral video is comedically self-aware and 100% about your product, like Dollar Shave Club’s hilarious, price-focused product pitch that was viewed over 4 million times in two months and generated 5,000 subscription sales. What is important is that the content itself is natural and purposeful without featuring your product in a forced or stilted way.

By its nature, viral content is in the hands of your audience, and there is a small amount of randomness factored into your chances of success. You can’t force a video to go viral, no matter how well you know the science behind viral marketing. However, you can educate yourself and craft content that has the best chance possible at a viral run.

References & Resources

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