We all want Viral Content

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Every company dreams of creating viral content. Viral content creates attention, gets people talking about a brand and drives traffic back to a website. What companies probably don’t realize is how hard it is to create viral content.

When thinking about viral content, I have a hard time thinking outside videos that have been viewed millions of times. Images, stories and infographics can all be viral as well. The strategy behind each type of content going viral remains the same.

There’s a lot of competition when it comes to online content. Companies may not realize it but when you want something to go viral, you aren’t just competing within one industry but with everyone says Kelsey Libert in The Secret Recipe for Viral Content Marketing Success. The average US adult consumed more than 11 hours of media content in the average day in 2011 says eMarketer. That’s a lot of competition.

ImageIt seems a lot of blogs want to provide the winning strategy to viral content but they all pretty much make the same points. The article  Why Content Goes Viral talks about evoking emotion and making the content be about a practical use. Positive emotions get shared more than negative emotions. The only reason I might share a sad story is to make others cry like the story made me. I find it much easier to share something when it’s positive,  uplifting or hilariously funny. The article Creating Viral Content? The Secret is Get Contagious gave a great tip to help make content practical and that was to finish the content with next steps the consumer should take. This gives the reader something to remember and another reason to share.

With so much being consumed, content has to grab attention and draw people in quickly. That is why visuals and especially infographics are so popular and go viral quickly. One of Visual.ly’s most popular infographics a year ago was a strange one called What are the odds. It pulls on people’s emotions and touches on a question that people think about our existence.

I learned the most this week from How to Create Viral Content. I work for a company that probably doesn’t have a viral product unless we were to come up with something really funny. What I’ve learned from this article is that I need to understand why people talk and share. Once I’ve figured that out, I can then apply that strategy to all of the content I generate. The content might not go viral but it will help me get more exposure than I was previously getting for content.

In May 2013, Mashable wrote Here’s Why These 6 Videos Went Viral. The first video on the list was Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video. A month after the video was released it had “nearly 54 million views on YouTube and about 68 million views across the web, according to data from Visible Measures.” I remember when the video came out all of my friends were sharing it on Facebook. I didn’t watch the video at the time. I just watched it now and I get why it went so viral. It has to do with emotion and touching a nerve that affects a lot of people. It was said in The Secret Recipe for Viral Content Marketing Success that a brand needs to understand their audience and the emotional drivers that motivates them. Dove did this and because of that they had a huge viral hit.

What emotion gets you to share a piece of content the most?

What is your favorite piece of viral content?