WHAT MAKES CONTENT GO VIRAL? (PART 1 OF 2)
What makes content go viral? Let’s start with the hard truth. Everyone thinks their creativity is special. We all want our ideas to go ‘viral.’ But it’s not that easy when you’re competing with the other 4.6 billion pieces of content produced daily. That statistic is humbling, to say the least.
In this 2-part blog series, we’ll explore what makes ideas go viral, and what you can do to successfully get your own content out there.
WHY DO WE WANT IDEAS TO SPREAD, ANYWAY?
You need people to buy into your product or service. To do this, you first need to get their attention. Think of attention as a currency. The more attention your content gets, the more ‘viral’ it becomes.
In his TED Talk on “How to get your ideas to spread,” entrepreneur and blogger Seth Godin provides the following anecdote: For the first 15 years after sliced bread was available in the 1910s, no one bought it, no one knew about it, and it was a complete failure. The reason we now all know the phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” is that Wonder came along and figured out how to spread the idea of the product. In this regard, Godin says, the way you’re going to get what you want or cause the change that you want to happen is to figure out a way to get your ideas to spread. Ideas that spread, win.
WHAT MAKES AN IDEA GO VIRAL?
No one can tell you the secret to a viral video, infographic, Instagram post, or animated gif. This is because nothing is truly viral until it goes viral. What we can tell you is that there are two traits all things ‘viral’ have in common:
- They’re remarkable. As Godin says, being remarkable means worth making a remark about. Make people talk about your content.
- They evoke empathy. A great PDF from LinkedIn explains, “Understanding people, context, their state of mind and their aspirations and goals, inspires creativity and relevance. This is where true engagement connects.”
Be remarkable and you’ll get people’s attention. Evoke empathy and you’ll get engagement.
Attention + Engagement = Motivation to share ideas.
Furthermore, in a NY Times study called “The psychology of sharing: Why do people share online?”, 49% of participants said sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action. That means your work is essentially done for you by each audience member who connects with and believes in your idea. Again: Ideas that spread, win.
THIS IS WHERE YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY COMES IN.
The world doesn’t need more content, it needs more relevant content. According to the LinkedIn study, 63% of consumers reported they may defect from brands due to irrelevant content. Of that group, 41% would consider ending a brand relationship due to irrelevance and 22% already have. That’s why your strategy is crucial to making the most of your precious time, money, and energy. Produce relevant content that people care about. Add value to their lives. Make something beautiful, awe-inspiring, amusing, or thought-provoking. It’s not about the number or likes you accumulate, it’s about reaching that individual who connects with your idea deeply enough to want to share it.
What does relevant and valuable content look like? Find out in our next blog post on what you can do to more effectively share your content. And of course, contact us to see what Lis Thomas Content can do for you.