Content marketing

Sure Shot Recipe to Create Viral Content

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“Going Viral” is the dearest phrase in pop culture. So many videos and write-ups get those crazy number of shares and views, and we wonder how did their creator get the idea of creating something like that.

A good idea does play a part in something “Going Viral”, but there is more to it. The creator should also have an idea about his/her audience. Creating a viral write-up is more about learning the art of persuasion.

It also has to do with your purpose of creating content. Don’t just write something to generate traffic, but to monetize the traffic. Generate value for readers, more than you generate impressions. So if you want to challenge the status quo, then this write-up may just give you the right push.

The first step is to learn about the entire spectrum of content creation. You can’t just rely on blogs or case studies and need to understand the ins and outs of video creation as well.

At different times, different types of content go viral. That’s the beauty of digital space.

All those successful campaigns that you see, are based on a number of researches that have been done over the years.

Milkman and Berger did a Research titled, “Why Content Goes Viral”. They analyzed around 7000 articles published by the New York Times, to understand the reason behind their virality. Particularly, they analyzed the homepage that got the most number of shares on social media.

They noted down the characteristics, which according to them made the content viral. Here are some of the characteristics that they mentioned:

Your content should evoke an emotional reaction

Your write-up must tap a variety of emotions. It can be awe, wonder, anxiety, sadness, and humor. It’s much easier to achieve this with videos or visuals, because “Actions speak louder than words”. But if you are a seasoned wordsmith and can evoke emotions through the sheer artistry of language, then a well-researched content thought piece or listicle can work wonders as well.

Your content should carry a positive message

Content can be created around anything that goes under the sun, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But as a marketer, you must write something which propagates positive feelings. Such content results in much higher retweets and shares.

Your content should have some practical value

Serious readers, buyers, or users like to get informed about new stuff, always. They seek practical worth and value. So it’s always better to construct your content that way. Your content can’t have too much fluff and too less of substance.

Social Currency

Why do people share content? Why do they share content repeatedly from the same source?

Of course, your content makes them feel good, but that’s not the exact reason why they share it. They share it because they want to tell their connections that, “This is the kind of stuff I read”.

In other words, they want to share content which enhances their self-worth. This is called as Social Currency. It’s more of internal evaluation and some of your connections may not understand why you shared a particular type of content.

As a marketer, it shouldn’t matter to you as your content is being shared nevertheless.

Know your purpose

A life without purpose is a life wasted. The same thing applies to content as well. You must ask this to yourself, “Why do you want your content to go viral?”.

Are you looking to get a lot of traffic or thousands of retweets or you want to achieve your business goals?

You must be clear with your purpose Then only you can locate sources for the kind of data that you need. For example, if you are looking for people who want to grow their business revenue, then you must look for authoritative business websites and extract data from them.

You can Google something like this:

business growth statistics + blog

case study + business + statistics + revenue

business revenue growth + data

You can write a case study on how a particular business house increased its revenue. Such kind of content will attract the kind of audience you are looking for.

While creating such content, it’s important to use numbers, data, statistics, and quotes from successful business people. This will make your content more trustworthy.

What do psychologists say?

Psychologists have an interesting take on how people react to information. According to them people are repulsive to generic ideas and want to experience practicality in content, something that can solve one of their problems. They want content that can be broken down into easily-digested bits and doesn’t have too many jargons.

Let’s take an example of Buzzfeed. Readers go there because they are sure of finding highly shareable content.

This is what Buzzfeed keeps in mind while creating content. They mostly publish listicles that break complex information into easily digestible ideas and bits. Many studies done on content marketing show that listicles generate more clicks and engagement, encouraging people to share them on various social media channels.

Buzzfeed lays more emphasis on visual content and rightly so. Visual content has more gravity and leaves more impressions on the minds of readers.

If you read most of the articles there, you will see some INCREDIBLY persuasive words in the headlines, which gives them the much-needed depth. Some of these words are:


Of course, there are many more.

Building Authority

The virality also depends on the writer’s social influence or his/her social penetration. We are not talking about having a crazy network and following like Justin Bieber or Barack Obama, but still, you need to have influencers as your connections. This can help your posts spread like wildfire.

Beginners who don’t have big names their social network, or don’t have enough pull to bring influencers on board, can’t really create something that can go viral. It’s simple. Either you know the right people, the ones who are most likely to read your content, or you connect with influencers who will pull those right people for you.

So work towards building authority on social media channels like Linkedin. Create something that can attract influencers. You can tag or mention industry experts in your posts, or even promote their post on your feed. Your generosity will certainly be noticed.

Hope you found virality in this write-up. Don’t forget to share your views in the comment section.

Sadanand is a content curator and strategist. He understands the Startup gamut, be it ideation, product development, team building, sales, or marketing, and likes to keep up with the trend. His lucid writing style makes up for an intriguing read. His writeups are greatly followed and admired in various communities.