Imagine a virus. It’s sometring which multiplies every second and spreads to each and every cell of the body. Now try and apply this idea to marketing.
Interesting, isn’t it?
As the term implies, ‘viral’ content refers to a piece of content – be it a meme, article, video, infographic or quiz – which has been liked, shared, commented upon or viewed innumerable times by a considerably large number of people within a short span of time.
Viral marketing, on other hand, is the technique of creating content that has the potential to go viral.
The ‘suddenness’ is a major component of any viral content. It’s not viral if it took a lot of time to be consumed by internet users.
Decoding viral content marketing
So, what makes something go viral? Answering this question is like predicting the result of a cricket match. While you may think you’ve made a calculated guess, there is always a chance you’ll be proven wrong.
After studying the insights of various marketing experts, we have come to the following conclusion:
It evokes emotion(s) – An emotional connect drives the audience to engage with content at a large scale. Hence, viral content evokes an emotion, be it surprise, anger, distress, joy, or excitement.
For example, Coke returned with its #ShareACoke campaign but this time with personalized bottles.
It encouraged people to share their joy within different kinds of relationships – boss, friend, bhai etc. Their audience didn’t disappoint them and the campaign went on to become very successful.
It is useful – Ever wondered why you are so quick to click on a ‘how to’ video? Well, because that kind of content is useful in a practical sense. These ‘how to’ videos can help you with almost everything – right from fixing a bulb to saving money on various products.
It resonates with its target audience – Now, this one’s tricky. In order to create viral content you must understand the pulse of your target audience – their likes, dislikes, interests, beliefs, reactions etc.
The Korean singer Psy’s Gangnam Style is a good example of a viral content which resonated with the audience. A few days after the video’s release, it became the ‘most viewed’ on YouTube’s homepage.
How Does it Help in Boosting Your Presence?
Given the fact that social media is a rapid medium where things can be posted and seen in a matter of seconds, it makes sense why it’s a good place for viral marketing. While some might say that viral marketing is similar to a ‘blink-and-you-missed-it’ appearance in the huge marketing space, it can do your brand’s online presence a huge favor.
Let us see how:
- Reduces the cost - Distributing the content is usually the next step after content creation. But in this case, your consumers do most of part of the distribution for you. Hence, it reduces the cost of distribution.
- Increases reach – This is a big advantage if you are a small company finding it difficult to reach consumers in different countries.
- Engagement – The consumers themselves decide to share your content among their social groups. Hence, you manage to build a positive equation with them.
How to Go Viral?
“It can be delivered by word of mouth or enhanced by the network effects of the internet and mobile networks.” says Wikipedia.
Here are some approaches of viral marketing growth:
- Word of Mouth– This is a self-effacing statement between folks who recognize each other.
- Social Media– Social media and networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have amazing instances of viral marketing. The amount of individuals who are using these websites is massive. Add to this the fact that it’s quick and easy to share content on these platforms.
10 Types of Posts That Go Viral
1. Puzzles and Riddles
Blog posts are the most common kind of content shared online. Though the accurate kind of blog posts can certainly go viral, the results produced with other kinds of online content are also worth considering. For instance, quizzes and riddles.
Can you solve it?
It seems to taunt you till you manage to solve it. Messaging apps like Whatsapp are the most likely places where you’ll find such puzzles and riddles.
BuzzFeed among others, has been using these to its advantage.
It has an entire Facebook page dedicated to such puzzles and riddles.
The best thing about puzzles and riddles is that besides being challenging and engaging, they are cool to develop a viral nail that would trigger you to share them with your friends.
Did you know that infographics are liked and shared 4x times more than any other form of content?
Infographics have come to be known as a great format in case you are aiming for visual appeal. They are short, concise, attention-grabbing, and can be used to entertain, engage and educate the audience.
Check out this cool infographic.
It showcases the yearly timeline of Social Media networks- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.
3. Motivational Content
In today’s fast paced life, everyone needs something that pushes them to wake up every morning, go to work and strive to be better every day. Hence, one of the most common bits of content you’ll find on YouTube, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook and other social networking sites are motivational posts.
They talk about positive acts, quotes of famous and rich people, proverbs etc. that evoke a feeling of positivity among the consumers.
So, what does it do?
If a piece of content has a solid message that's very inspiring, people would relate to it and will want to share it with others.
This Twitter post makes one appreciate people’s efforts in the troubled region of Kashmir. If we think from the audience’s perspective, sharing such a post shows that they care and would like to show their support for the cause.
4. Personality quizzes
Most of us won’t be able to resist taking a quiz titled “Which Game of Thrones character are you?”
Well, who doesn’t want to know more about himself/herself? Today, these quizzes have become a content marketing strategy of sorts. They attract a large number people and can be created so as to target a specific group. For example, a quiz targeting mothers would be called ‘Which Celebrity mom are you like?’
Buzzfeed’s quiz “What city should you live in?” garnered 20 million views and such quizzes are touted to be record-breaking viral posts put out by the publisher.
Before you get all excited, remember one thing. The results of these quizzes have to be meaningful and sensible in a way that your audience believes them.
Just scroll through your Facebook feed or YouTube recommended list and count the number of times you come across titles like “17 Useful tips for those who are always in a hurry”.
Aren’t there many?
Marketing experts didn’t miss the fact that articles and videos which are in a list format (titles beginning with a number) were liked, viewed and shared more times than their counterparts.
Why you ask?
Well, there can be various reasons. One, they are easy to scan with all the pointers and sub-heads. Two, they make for a great format to present a lot of information – segmented under various points.
6. Case Studies
What, according to you, is the best way explain something to someone?
I say, with examples!
A real-life example helps you grasp a concept very quickly. Case study is one such piece which takes one example at a time and analyzes it in-depth.
Case-studies are loaded with research-backed information and are valued by readers. Folks love to see notions and concepts in action and pay considerable attention to their results.
7. ‘How to’ stuff
As mentioned earlier, ‘how to’ articles and videos are popular as they are provide practically useful information.
Wouldn’t we all like someone to solve every single problem in our lives?
Most ‘how to’ content follows a problem-solution approach. In fact, if look at the search terms people use while surfing the internet, you’ll notice that many begin with ‘how to…’
Hence, such content has better chances of appearing in Google search results. This helps you attain superior organic search traffic.
8. Top Posts
Top posts can make for a good source of traffic and usually have the tendency to go viral. You might have seen articles titled ‘Top 15 Recipes to impress your guests’. The ‘top’ in these titles may stand for ‘the best’, ‘most popular’ or the ones with ‘best outcomes’.
A commercial music streaming website may perhaps have the ‘Top 10 Trance Music Tunes of 2016’. The audience wants know about the most popular stuff.
This Facebook post received 3.1K Facebook Responses and was shared 1469 times.
9. Long-form content
For an article to appear in at the top of search results, it needs to have a word count of 1500 or more, says Google.
It seems like your audience is looking for in-depth and well-researched articles.
While increase in content consumption on mobile devices and short attention spans led to surge in short-form content, long-form content still gets more shares.
One, a well-researched long article has credibility and hence, is a trusted source of information for your readers. Two, sharing a long-form article presents the reader as a well-informed, erudite and intellectually competent person.
So go ahead,
And spend some time on creating long-form content.
10. Human stories
In a hurry to create viral content, you might miss the most elementary thing.
Your readers are human beings.
Therefore, they have a natural tendency to relate to strong emotional content - real-life stories about struggle, kindness, determination and hope.
Check out this article by Buzzfeed titled “21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity”. Such heart-rending content will surely have a strong emotional impact on your audience.
While creating a viral marketing campaign, remember that the content you create must be unique, interesting and should resonate with your target audience. Keep at it till you hit the bull’s eye. Sooner or later, an interesting piece of content you create will go viral and take the cyber world by storm.