Achieving virality has become a bit of a holy grail conquest for content curators. Marketers are tasked with having to create something that caters to the sensibilities of the web at large. But as you likely know by now, there is no one secret sauce to getting your content viral (trust us, we wish we knew). Luckily there are a few best practices laid out by the gods among us that have ascended into the upper echelons of share counts.
Interestingly enough, there is more than one way to analyze the way the content is shared en masse.
Broadcast marketing is the traditional form of distribution or “diffusion” that represents the way content is shared via radio or television. With broadcast diffusion, a piece of information is sent out to the audience at once. From there, when the information is shared at all, it can only be shared via “word of mouth.”
Viral marketing is what happens with well-executed web content delivery. Viral diffusion is when a piece of content is shared with the original audience, then they share the same piece of content with their contacts, and this goes on and on. There is no limit to how many people can see the original message with viral diffusion.
Keeping Things Simple
There are two main elements that viral content must have. First, it must provide immense value to your fans, their network, and their network’s network. Next, it must guide viewers to want to share it in the first place. Studies have shown again and again that people share content that makes them feel good about themselves. When you’re drafting a new piece of content keep asking yourself if you’d share it with your boss. It may seem overly simplistic, but this is the core of what makes virtually any content viral-ready.
The Recipe Behind the Million Views
Kevin Alloca is the trends manager at YouTube, and he knows the truth about how videos go viral. In this TED talk, he shares his insights with the world. If you didn’t already see it, you may be surprised by what he says are the three elements of a viral video:
- Communities of Participation
He uses several videos with tens and hundreds of millions of shares to make his case. When “tastemakers” or web authorities decide to share content, that is when it truly becomes viral. Another surprise is that this usually doesn’t happen overnight. Generally, this content will sit for quite awhile before an authority finds it – sometimes the better part of a year – and shares with their large audiences. The Double Rainbow video now has over 43 million views, thanks to Jimmy Kimmel.
Alloca didn’t find any indicators that these videos would get over 1 million views, so he stresses the fact that this level of success is completely unpredictable.
Viral-Ready Check List
Although we can’t just press a button and launch our content in front of the eyes of millions, you can leverage some general best practices to ensure that your content is ready to go viral.
- Provide Immediate Value
- Leverage SEO
- Say What No One Else Is
- Share Your Content with Relevant Forums
- Join in Existing Conversations
- Define a Clear Purpose For What You’re Writing
- Account for Attention Bias
When you want your content to go viral, you should understand viral diffusion, explore the elements of viral content, understand that getting millions of shares is unpredictable, and do everything you can to ensure that your posts are viral-ready.