What Helps Certain Content Go Viral?

Here is a question – have you published anything at all on the Internet that has gone viral?

As people who have will be able to tell you, there is nothing like watching what appears to be a great influx of exposure and traffic grow, continue to grow and basically blast into the stratosphere. It is a quite overwhelming feeling. Not only because of the business benefits, but also because you have created something that has become a real sensation.

Which is all great, aside from the fact that in fact getting online content go viral in the first place tends to be a bit like hunting for the holy grail. We are aware that some content goes viral, we have come across viral content many times and every website and business would like to nail the secret recipe.

So with heavy research having been carried out regarding the phenomenon, why is it still that some content can go viral and the rest simply takes a back seat?

The answer is…well, it is impossible to answer simply due to one unavoidable fact. That being, what can make online content go viral among one specific audience is completely different for the next audience. Which is basically why there is no silver bullet to creating viral content – it can exist in endless forms.

Two Crucial Questions

Still, what we have managed to learn over the years is that there basically are two crucial questions you will need to ask yourself, in order to be able to improve your chance of creating content that goes viral.

1.    Are people going to share this?
2.    Is this really a piece of outstanding content?

The simple fact of the matter is that if you cannot answer both of these questions positively and confidently, you have zero chance of going viral. It is just not going to happen. When it’s boiled down to its core, viral content is a very simple concept. You come across something interesting and new, it manages to create an emotional response and in doing so makes you want to share it.

So there are only two real components here – value and uniqueness. The only issue being that hitting the proverbial nail on the head with both simultaneously is not exactly a walk in the park. If that were the case, we would all be doing it on a daily basis.

There is also something of a paradox in terms of focusing intently on producing viral content. Firstly, it’s basically impossible to force online viral content or try to pull it out of thin air. Usually, it needs to be something that is produced naturally – trying too had is often counterproductive. Secondly, investing in the creation of viral content too heavily is not always advisable. The reason is that as it’s difficult to pull it off, you should prepare yourself for considerably more failures than successes.

Plus if you are indeed as good as you think, it should not be necessary to force anything anyway. After all, it is just a case of being unique and of some value to your target audience.