Five Ways to Create TRULY Viral Content

Five Ways to Create TRULY Viral Content

If there is one word that is this generation’s “buzzword” of the moment, then it has to be “viral”. Viral content, in particular, is the apparent lifeblood of many websites like the one you are reading right now—in other words, if no one’s “sharing” your content in any way, then your website might as well be rewarded with a kiss of death!

However, what is true is that viral content, by itself, is something that cannot be predicted. There is no science behind it, and most marketers even abhor using the term “viral” when they go out to set their marketing campaigns.

It’s mainly the organic nature of the internet taking over, and in this era where everything is being force-fed to us, “liking” something that we just happen to come across by chance can come across as very refreshing! And really, this is why it’s every marketer’s dream goal of hitting it “viral”—it essentially means that you’ve made content that is so powerful that you’ve managed to cross cultural boundaries and still delivered its message across!

So, while we can’t claim to be masters at claiming that we have the ULTIMATE formula for producing viral content, we can at least point you to some ideas on knowing where to start! Read our take on what makes a viral content truly viral below!

  1. People putting themselves ‘over’

Does the phrase above make sense? Well, most  likely, no… unless, that is, if you are a pro wrestling fan. According to Grantland’s hilarious pro wrestling dictionary, ‘over’ is an old carny term that has ‘a variety of interrelated uses, but it usually refers to paying someone a compliment, as in, “I put you over to the boss.”’

In more common parlance, “putting yourself over” is akin to an action that makes you look good above everything else. And really, it doesn’t just happen in pro wrestling only; real life is filled with people whose sense of vanity is so over their heads (pardon the pun) that it’s only natural for them to latch on to the next hot trend that will enable them to be seen by everyone.

Pretty easy in the age of the internet, we reckon.

So, what are the likely examples for it? Well, remember the ‘Harlem Shake’ video meme of 2013? Yep, that idea none of the actual Harlem Shake dance move, but it did feature loads of people looking glumly into their cameras one minute and then acting all wild and crazy the next.

Makes no sense when you read the last sentence aloud, doesn’t it? Well, THAT may have been the point of the whole thing!  So, if you ever aim to market something that will be widely emulated by everyone AND your grandma, then you really have to appeal to our ego! It’s no coincidence that selfies are such big proponents of this item, when you come to think it.

And of course, this brings us to the next bit which has roughly something to do with the above…

  1. Relevance

Of course, the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme won’t have gained the traction it did if no one “rediscovered” the reference by accident. After all, do remember that art is built on pillaging what was cool in the past and repurposing it for the present (hello, Picasso!).

But other than that, viral content is also built upon taking advantage of what you see in your environment right now. And really, nothing is more emblematic of that than the most recent viral idea to have hit the interwebzzz just this summer: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

If you’ve been trawling Facebook or Twitter for the past few months, then we probably don’t have to tell you the complete story of the Ice Bucket Challenge other than a cursory intro that sees its “challengers” dousing themselves in ice-freezing water then passing on the “challenge” to their friends on Facebook. It’s like modern chain letter, except the participants simply video themselves instead of writing over something.

Of course, this stunt couldn’t have happened at a better time: it started gaining steam on Spring, then it practically went around during Summer when it so happens that many people want nothing more than to dump ice-cold water on their bodies!

However, to reduce the Ice Bucket Challenge to the mere action of bathing on-cam simply discounts how the whole thing had managed to raise $100M for the ALS Association. What a feel-good story, isn’t it? Well, as it turns out, one of the secrets to creating viral content is precisely that…

  1. Positivity

Critics may get sick at how the “feel-good” movie of the season almost always wins the Oscars. But hey, what can they do? The world is really just cynical as it is, and the only way many people can reaffirm their faith in humanity is if they watch something heartwarming on the screen. Call it “escapism” all you want, but the fact remains that everyone needs some happy tears every once in a while.

So, with that said, no matter who your connections on Facebook or followers on Twitter may be, there will ALWAYS be that one person who posts an inspirational quote, image, or video along with an accompanying “Have a good day!” line at the end of it. And people just seem to lap it up! That’s how powerful positive messages are when shared on social media.

Here’s a likely example for this trend: ever noticed those tear-jerking ads for, of all things, an Asian insurance company that were circulating last year? Those ads contained no words, but plenty of sweeping emotional gestures. Don’t tell us you didn’t even cry over it even once!

Of course, now that we have all dried our tears, then it’s highly possible that the next item on this list can be construed as the “flipside” to item number 3, and that is…

  1. Content that provokes a strong emotional response

Let’s be clear before proceeding with this item: when we say “strong emotional response”, we’re not referring to the kind of content that causes catharsis every time someone views it (hey, people just don’t spend all day weeping over a video, now!); rather, it’s more in regards to how some content just are able to elicit specific responses to the people who are consuming them.

So, one of the most common examples to this is the “humor” websites which have popped up since the mid-‘00s. They may often produce lame-ish material 70% of the time, but the rest is just pure comic gold. Really, who knew cats can be so funny seven years after it was introduced to the internet?!

On the flipside of it, there are also those kinds of content which are just meant to shock or outrage people.

The “nude celebrity leaks” scandal is just one of the many, many examples of how websites have managed to take a page or two from their real-world tabloid counterparts by applying it to the gonzo journalism which still prevails within the rest of the internet.

The darker aspect to this, of course, are those content which are being published by select extremist groups in some far remote corners of the world.

Sure, it’s easy to get angry at all those people who are performing those sick acts and recording them for the internet, but that’s exactly the kind of reaction they are looking for. In a way, many of us are also “supporting” the content these people are posting on the web even without meaning to.

But of course, that’s how humans are hardwired, aren’t they?

So, with that said, now that you have four of the items ready for making a truly viral content, what’s the piece de resistance for item number 5, then?

  1. Just keep at it

We said earlier that there is no set “formula” to making truly viral content, and we reiterate it again with this item. What’s the use of making content when you aren’t even sure that it won’t make the rounds of everyone’s social media feeds?

Well, you probably know the answer to it already, but we’re saying it, anyways: because you simply believe in what you do. You believe that there will always be those sets of people who are consuming your content in ways that you can’t even gauge yet, and they’re very appreciative of the efforts you have been doing so far—it’s just that thousands of people haven’t gotten to discovering what you have to offer yet.

So, if you’re going to create content that is meant to strike a chord across the eyes and emotions of everyone who’s browsing the internet somewhere, know that the chance to it is very slim, at best.

What you can do, however, is to create content that you are willing to share to thousands of people all over the world. After all, the same can also be said of many artists of this generation: there are many wonderful writers, bands, and painters out there, but it’s a given that only a few of them can ever get to have their works consumed on a very wide scale. And you know what? That’s really okay, as long as the rest of them are happy creating something!

So, just keep doing what you do, and recognition will simply come later. That’s the value of hard work, in a nutshell!

So, do you have any more “viral” ideas that you think are worth sharing here?

Fire away at the comments section below!

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