What is viral content?
Viral content refers to any piece of online media, such as a video, image or article, that becomes popular and widely shared through social media platforms, email or other digital platforms through word-of-mouth marketing.
In terms of general marketing strategies, viral content is crucial because it can reach massive audiences and generate significant engagement with a brand or product. With the rise of social media creating viral content has become a key part of any successful social media marketing campaign.
The concept of viral content has been around for decades, but it's taken on new significance in the age of social media. The first viral marketing campaign is often credited to the creators of the Blair Witch Project, who used online forums to generate buzz around their low-budget horror movie in 1999. Since then, viral content has become a ubiquitous part of online culture, with brands and individuals alike striving to create content that will capture the attention of millions.
What makes viral content, viral
For content to be considered viral it must include the following:
Viral content often evokes strong emotions such as happiness, humor, surprise or even anger.
Content that's easy to share across social media platforms is more likely to go viral. This is why images and videos are often dominant when it comes to viral content.
Viral content often taps into current events or popular culture and trending events.
Unique and creative content can stand out from the crowd and attract more attention.
Benefits of using viral content
If you can get content to go viral, you can quickly and effectively tap into the following benefits:
Increased reach: Viral content can reach millions of people in a short amount of time, making it an effective way to boost brand awareness and visibility.
Cost-effective: Creating viral content is often more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods, as it relies on organic sharing and eliminates the cost of paid advertising.
Increased engagement: Viral content can generate significant engagement with a brand or product, leading to increased sales and customer loyalty.
Examples of viral content
There are countless examples of viral content, from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to the "Damn, Daniel" meme. Another particularly successful viral marketing campaign was Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" ad, which generated over 50 million views on YouTube and helped double the brand's sales in just a month.
4 best practices for creating viral content
Getting content to go viral is definitely not easy but to ensure your content has the best chance of being shared consider the following:
01. Know and understand your audience: This is crucial for creating content that will resonate with your audience and encourage them to share it.
02. Be timely and act fast: Tapping into current events or popular culture can make your content more relevant and increase its share ability.
03. Use humor: Humorous content is often more likely to be shared than serious or dry content. Just make sure to be sensitive to cultural, racial and gender sensitivities with the humor.
04. Optimize for social media: Make sure your content is optimized for sharing on social media platforms by including share buttons and using appropriate hashtags. This can also include considering the type of content you create - an image or video is more likely to be shared, for example.
You may also be interested in:
Challenges with creating viral content
While viral content can be incredibly effective, it can also be difficult to achieve. Some common and well-known challenges include:
here is no guaranteed formula for creating viral content, which can make it a risky investment.
With so much content being produced and shared every day, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.
Viral content often has a short lifespan, so it's important to have a strategy for what to do after the initial buzz dies down.
Viral content FAQ
Is viral content always positive?
Viral content can be positive or negative depending on its message and how it is received by audiences.
Do I need to create video content to go viral?
Not necessarily, viral content can take many forms, including images, text, and audio.
Can I plan for my content to go viral?
While there is no guaranteed formula for creating viral content, following best practices and understanding your audience can help.
Is it possible to make money from viral content?
Yes, you can monetize viral content through advertising, sponsored content, affiliate marketing and merchandise sales. However, the sustainability of these revenue streams may vary, so consider long-term strategies for monetization.
What should I do if my content does go viral?
If your content goes viral, be prepared for increased attention and engagement. Engage with your audience, respond to comments and leverage the momentum to further promote your brand or message. Monitor the impact and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Can viral content have a negative impact?
Yes, viral content can have both positive and negative effects. While it can boost brand visibility and engagement, negative viral content can harm a brand's reputation. It's essential to create content that aligns with your brand's values and messaging and to prioritize that over going viral.
Is there a formula for creating viral content?
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for viral content, as it depends on the target audience and the nature of the content. However, studying successful viral content in your niche can provide insights and inspiration for how you should plan yours.