To me, there has always been an overwhelming sense of randomness when I look at content that has gone viral and compare it to content that has not. Trying to figure out how something went viral would be like asking Kim Kardashian what it takes to be famous. While she has obviously done just that, I would imagine it would be difficult for her to explain what skills and strategies she used when becoming famous (other than the cliché “work really hard” and “follow your dreams” type stuff). Further, just because someone has become famous, it doesn’t mean they can articulate the steps needed to emulate what they have done. Even if they could, how would we know those steps would work for someone else? As you can tell, like Kim Kardashian’s celebrity status, trying to figure out how to make content go viral can often bring up more questions than answers. After this week’s readings, I have compiled a short list of bullets that I feel help content go viral and would like to share them with you (Obviously in the hopes that you will share them with someone else! ….I mean in the interest of furthering your knowledge on the viral-ability of content).
Fully Cover the Topic
According to one of the readings, longer content tends to be shared more often. Personally, I think you just need to make sure that you have fully covered the topic. Your content should have a beginning, middle, and an end and your viewers should sort of know where these are while reading (unlike the movie This is 40 that I just watched this weekend and was saddened by its lack of all three). As another reading pointed out, the end should also involve some sort of call to action so that our readers have something to do with the content they have just read. This call could be a reflective question, or it could even be a direct request to share the content they have just read. Overall, successful content lets the viewer know what they are viewing ahead of time, and comes to a distinctive conclusion.
This was probably the most common theme in the readings this week and is probably the most difficult of my tips to actually succeed in. Viral content often evokes strong emotion and as our reading pointed out, some emotions are actually better than others. Understanding our content should include a grasp of the types of emotions it will bring out in our reader and we should seek to appeal to those emotions. While we typically think of viral content being funny on the emotional scale, other emotions such as surprise can also be very effective at helping our content go viral.
Make it Shareable
The easiest advice I took from the readings this week was to make your content shareable! While this may seem like the most obvious, the readings discussed tips such as putting share buttons at both the top and bottom of articles and making it possible to share your content over as many platforms as possible. You can ask your readers to share your content as much as possible, but if it is not convenient for them to do so, they may never will.
Wrapping up, it is pretty clear to me that there is not a specific formula or defined strategies for making content go viral. There is an aspect of randomness to it that if we could explain, then EVERYONE would have viral content all the time. We know from experience that this is not always the case. However, the readings pointed out some great strategies that can help and hopefully gave us some things to think about when creating new content.
What have you learned about content that you plan to use going forward to try to create more engagement with your content?
What emotions are associated with the content that resonates most with you?
Why do you think Kim Kardashian is famous? 🙂