Here’s Why Viral Content Goes Viral

Viral content is a magical thing. Often filled with humor, stupidity, amusement, or a combination of the sorts, we’ve all shared an article, meme, photo, or gif online with our friends, family, and coworkers. When breaking down the special “formula” of what makes content go viral, stop and think about why you want your audience members to see it.

In truth, viral posts are not the norm but rather an online sensation. There’s no universal recipe. It’s nearly impossible to predict what’s going to go viral as every piece of content that goes viral does so because of a different combination of factors. Viral content is about the impact and getting people to connect to have a conversation. And, when viral posts fall flat, it can backfire catastrophically.

Just ask Pepsi who faced a huge backlash to an advert featuring celebrity, Kendall Jenner, where she was seen giving police a can of Pepsi on the front line of a protest. While the messaging was meant to portray peace, unity, and understanding, it was instead criticized for trivializing social justice demonstrations. Pepsi eventually withdrew the advert, despite their efforts of defending their intent, and issued a public apology.

That said, there are “ingredients” that will help increase the shareability of your content, the right way. Ask yourself the following questions when developing content:

• Are you making people laugh? (Funny content)
• Helping them do a job? (Useful content)
• Inspiring them? (Stories)
• Trying to educate them? (Educational content)
• Helping them discover, reinforce or share their identity? (Emotional content)
• Restoring their faith in humanity? (“Feel good” content)

Although you can’t predict what content will go viral, you can make your content as viral-ready as possible. Focus your content creation efforts on high-stimulus topics that make people want to have a conversation. People share content because they expect others to react and to interact with it on social networks (and let’s be honest — they want the social credits that come with being the source).

People share to:

• Give – offers, or discounts
• Advise – tips, helpful hints
• Warn – potential dangers
• Amuse – entertaining content
• Inspire – images and quotes
• Amaze – pictures and facts
• Unite – be part of the group

Bottom line, the more great content you produce, the more chances you give yourself the likelihood of going viral. Even if your content doesn’t go viral, the creative experts at Total will help produce content that is as viral-ready as possible, and more importantly, resonates with your target audience, so that you don’t have a public relations disaster as Pepsi did. Remember, great content will only reflect positively on your brand.

Contact us today and let’s get to work on the next chapter of your organization’s story.

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