All one needs to do to see some great examples of viral content is check their feed on Facebook or Twitter and amidst the varying amount of status updates, you will undoubtedly see many examples of viral content posted. This content can be anything; it can be a picture, a video or even an article. Despite being different types of content, they all have one primary objective, to be seen and shared by thousands, sometimes even millions and henceforth becoming viral! To become viral, all these pieces had origins and with us now finding them shared through various social media platforms and finding continued life, we must understand how they came to be so frequently shared. What was the reason for people wanting to share this piece of content and what are these pieces of content's secret to becoming so popular. Here we take a closer look at how to make content viral with a few key points;
- Give people reason to watch and share!
Social Media is arguably one of the strongest channels to spread an idea or message be it an expression of life or expression of opinion. Through each share, a user wants each of his friends and followers to discover this piece of content that has touched them in some way and keep this message alive. Even if the message is a fun and non serious one!
With that there needs to be reason for that person to make that initial connection with a piece of content. There are many reasons why a person will engage with that piece of content and to make successful viral content, one must follow this guideline.
Successful viral content is usually one of many things; fun, entertaining, inspiring, topical and will stimulate debate. Of course there is room to say it goes beyond that, but those appear to be the fundamentals. With so many of us spending our lives on the internet and becoming avid consumers of the web, a piece of content has to stand out amongst all the rest of the content that we consume or could potentially consume. Many of us online like to use the internet as a source of entertainment that can make us laugh (maybe even cry and touch a nerve?) or as a way of getting us talking about topics that interest us; sports, politics, the media and so forth. Content that can get people talking, smiling or motivated will always be on the path to viral success.
Just take a look at this picture celebrating something as simple as the weekend, in this case a long weekend! It's something we can all relate to and get on board with and it makes us laugh simply for the expression of the baby on the picture! Simple, funny, entertaining, relatable and definitely worth a share!
There are instances of course where people might use this formula and create viral content through more negative tactics. There are numerous cases where bloggers or journalists might write inflammatory articles that will stir up debate rather than inspire it. Though most readers are usually offended by said writer's views in a piece such as this, it is highly effective as you'll find people will share this content to show their negative feelings towards it, and with that new consumers will read this content out of fresh interest in the debate that it has created.
In addition to your content having a breeding life of its own and it growing organically through people discovering and sharing, it will sometimes need a little bit of ground work from yourself to get the party started and get your message across. A platform such as Twitter will be great for getting your content some legs. A simple retweet by a Twitter user with a high amount of followers will give your content a great amount of exposure. Of course remember to target your retweet requests well. Will Stephen Fry be interested in retweeting something that isn't about his main love Norwich City? Take for instance, this zombie shopping mall experience that was sold by Wish.co.uk. A piece of content in itself that needed exposure...step forward Simon Pegg, star of zom-rom-com Shaun of the Dead. A simple tweet from him that contained the link to this piece of content gave it a new lease of life online and enhanced its online exposure. And with that viral content was created!
The blogosphere is another platform that has potential for viral content to be born. With new bloggers being born each day, each comes with an established and specifically targeted online following. When seeding your content, think carefully about who would be interested in seeing this content and would this particular blogger have much use for this piece of content? I call upon my experiences of working for an online video site where in one instance I cut together a short film about Spurs and West Ham fans views of the Olympic Stadium. By doing a simple Google search for West Ham and Spurs blogs, I was opened to a plethora of places where my content could live online and reach a wider audience.
Take advantage of forums and community discussion groups, you never know who might want to see your content and people engaging online in a conversation about it will breathe further life into it!
Content has reached viral status in the past due to, in some cases its perfect timing. We commonly see on Twitter, the trends that have been generated due to what people have been talking about online. All one has to do is click on a current trend and see what tweets have been produced in response to this. Part of those tweets will no doubt contain images and videos that have been produced in an effort to take advantage of this trend and earn viral status. As I'm writing this, here's just one of the trends currently happening and the image content that has been produced.
Google trends is also another good tool to see what people are talking about online and what has ranked high in search engines. Take heed of these trends when producing and posting your content and it will certainly go far!