What makes content go viral? Here's the secret!

by dedy
46 replies
Viral content is any piece of media that suddenly becomes an online sensation. You have almost certainly seen this happen -- that indelible image or outrageous video that gets forwarded to you by a dozen friends in under an hour. The democratic structure of the Web has made this sort of thing commonplace nowadays, as a single text, tweet, status update, or link is all it takes to "gift" something amazing to everyone you know.

Not all great content goes viral, but (with the exception of awesomely terrible videos) content that does go viral is great. No one can guarantee that any piece of content will take the web by storm, but we can make sure that a piece of content has what it takes.

Would love to hear your feedback on it. I'd especially love to see if anyone has done well with viral content in the past.
#content #content creators #makes #secret #social media viral #viral #viral content sites #web content creation #writing for the web
  • Profile picture of the author art72
    Apparently, I missed something in your post... like the reason for posting a rhetorical question as your title, only to fail in delivering the actual secret to what makes content go viral... but rather, asking other experienced people to tell you what that secret is?

    This is wrong, correct?
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    • Profile picture of the author dedy
      Originally Posted by art72 View Post

      Apparently, I missed something in your post... like the reason for posting a rhetorical question as your title, only to fail in delivering the actual secret to what makes content go viral... but rather, asking other experienced people to tell you what that secret is?

      This is wrong, correct?
      Forgive me, wrong title actually. I shouldn't put this part 'Here's the secret" in the title.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Thorsett
        Originally Posted by dedy View Post

        Forgive me, wrong title actually. I shouldn't put this part 'Here's the secret" in the title.
        Perhaps you should take it out, then?
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        • Profile picture of the author SMworkcafe
          Originally Posted by Michael Thorsett View Post

          Perhaps you should take it out, then?
          Logically put! I came here for the 'secret' and there's none. I think such posts should be removed by the moderators because people like me, who are educating themselves and learning IM by checking in the forum on daily basis can really be pissed off by such 'educating' threads.
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      • Profile picture of the author art72
        Originally Posted by dedy View Post

        Forgive me, wrong title actually. I shouldn't put this part 'Here's the secret" in the title.
        No worries, I forgive you. I was just kidding around in my above post, please forgive my cynicism as I get a wee bit too literal at times... especially, when the stuff I am working on is not going viral, lol.

        As far as creating viral content, it appears to me that a lot of things that go viral, make absolutely no sense to me why they go viral? (*Hence the reason I opened your thread)

        And yet, the most outrageous, and often stupid materials seemingly resonate with many... like Buzzquote's videos, and the kid who reviews game apps on YouTube... perhaps, what truly inspires viral content has much to do with how little today's world has to say or do... in order to be entertained. (I mean, just look at reality tv, these shows are everywhere, and half of them are plotted, made for ratings, hogwash.

        Now, on a serious note... news releases, well-placed ads, smart catch phrases, and syndication, can all contribute to a media inspired global frenzy... such is so with these stories of 72 year old wannabe cops shooting drug dealers in the back with the wrong gun... (and all-the-while the element of stupidity almost always seems to be in-play, at the core of most viral content.)

        Perhaps, hearing someone else say or do the unthinkable, makes many feel more competent... as if in watching the local news, and all the negative feeds, and then siting back and thinking; "Hmmm... and I thought I was screwed up!"

        My personal favorite though, would be the creative genius of copywriters, who come up with catchy ad copy that uses simple words ( a four year old could understand) and adds some funny imagery, such as "Where's the beef?" - stated by a funny old lady... and kaboom! - Viral frenzy.

        Honestly, I am not quite sure what makes content go viral, but on nearly all counts - it seemingly requires some form of stupidity or fear, and on rare occasion a story of hope or intelligent findings make the cut.
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter Striker
      Originally Posted by art72 View Post

      Apparently, I missed something in your post... like the reason for posting a rhetorical question as your title, only to fail in delivering the actual secret to what makes content go viral... but rather, asking other experienced people to tell you what that secret is?

      This is wrong, correct?
      Exactly or possibly imprecisely.

      Peter
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  • Profile picture of the author icoachu
    The funny thing about Viral content is that, in large part, it is NOT the content that is the key. Sure, you need great content. However, even crappy content can still go viral if the RIGHT INFLUENCE LEADERS push that content. Hear me?

    This is the great revelation of the marketing research guys at Buzzsumo and media agencies. In many cases, WHO you get on board to promote your content is more important than WHAT you have to promote. Of course, you still need decent quality but never underestimate the power of the right social media influence network.
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  • Profile picture of the author kk075
    The secret to viral content is a lot more simple than people would imagine...just make something that everyone can appreciate. That's step one.

    Next, give people a reason to share and talk about it. Once that begins to happen and it escapes outside of your circle of close friends/family, write a press release about it. Send that press release to every major news outlet that deals with your content's topic, plus get it to all the talk shows that have a segment on viral content. That's step two.

    Then, participate in the content's discussion....nobody leaves posts when they know that they won't get any feedback. So the more you talk about it, the more others will take interest...and every one of their comments shows that piece to 300-1.000 people through social channels.

    Finally, start promoting your content through paid advertising (if necessary at this point) to get a completely different source of traffic. If the content is good, many of those people will share it from your site, and the views will just keep adding up. Stardom, here you come.

    Now, I'm not saying that it's easy....but it's not that hard to make great content go viral either. It does require a lot of work though unless you just want to leave things to chance. Once you hit around the 20k view-mark though, it snowballs very quickly.

    Anyway, that's the "secret". So don't tell anybody.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Kempe
    Going viral is not about whether influencers broadcast something. Influencers can share anything and it will get traction. That doesn't mean that a piece of content is viral in nature.
    Traction and Virility are 2 different things

    The viral coefficient "K" (or K factor) describes a situation where the acquisition of one customer leads to the acquisition of more than 0 customers. That sounds stupid but heres how it works:
    If the viral coefficient K is 1.1 for every customer you gain (or visitor to your site), this will lead to 10% more customers. Those customers will then bring another 10% etc.

    I cannot speak from true experience with viral content but i have a friend who is naturally good at creating viral stuff. He always refers to appealing to the emotion of his audience. In some way he manipulates his content to invoke an emotional response from his website visitors to increase the share rate. Thats how he achieves his K factor greater than 1.

    From what I have also noticed, creating viral content is somewhat of a gift some people have. Viral content can definitely be processed out but the really successful viral content creators understand the human spirit in a way that I don't, or would have to put in many months/years to learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author littletoot
    the secret is money (promoting) and tits (good content)
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  • Profile picture of the author Slade556
    I don't know much about what can make content viral, but my guess is you'd have to stick with the "trends". Here's a for instance: what are the major news websites talking about? Lately, there have been a lot of discussions related to Obama &other political stuff, groups trying to take over the world, earlier there was some dress that's either white or blue (seriously disturbing viral content, IMO), major debates were started over it!
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    • Profile picture of the author dedy
      Originally Posted by Slade556 View Post

      I don't know much about what can make content viral, but my guess is you'd have to stick with the "trends". Here's a for instance: what are the major news websites talking about? Lately, there have been a lot of discussions related to Obama &other political stuff, groups trying to take over the world, earlier there was some dress that's either white or blue (seriously disturbing viral content, IMO), major debates were started over it!
      Good idea but how to make that goes viral if your blog is still new?
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      • Profile picture of the author Slade556
        Originally Posted by dedy View Post

        Good idea but how to make that goes viral if your blog is still new?
        By sharing it wherever you can. I'd start with social media, share it on your fan page, share it in the groups you are a part of, find a way to share it on popular pages with thousand of likes (but without making it look like spam!), use twitter as well, pin it on pinterest, basically, you have to get your content out there! And social media is a great way to do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    A subject headline associated with a great content is what makes a content go viral, image is just a way to entice/invite your audience.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    There are different reasons why content goes viral.

    One reason is...people like to feel smart or be the cool guy or gal online. On Facebook, we share what we think is cool, funny or just catches our interests.

    But mostly, many people share other people's content to get interest (eyes on them) more than on the content they are sharing. Kind of selfish but a reality.
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  • Profile picture of the author Xochitl Shat
    The outcome indicate which beneficial content material will be more viral when compared with unfavorable content material, nevertheless the connection involving experience and also societal transmission will be more complex when compared with valence by yourself. Virality will be in part driven by physical arousal. Written content which evokes high-arousal beneficial (awe) or unfavorable (anger or anxiety) feelings will be more viral. Written content which evokes low-arousal, or deactivating, feelings will be fewer viral. These kind of benefits carry even though this creators handle pertaining to exactly how surprising, fascinating, or virtually practical content material together with outside drivers of attention.
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  • Profile picture of the author Devilfish168
    Originally Posted by dedy View Post

    Viral content is any piece of media that suddenly becomes an online sensation. You have almost certainly seen this happen -- that indelible image or outrageous video that gets forwarded to you by a dozen friends in under an hour. The democratic structure of the Web has made this sort of thing commonplace nowadays, as a single text, tweet, status update, or link is all it takes to "gift" something amazing to everyone you know.

    Not all great content goes viral, but (with the exception of awesomely terrible videos) content that does go viral is great. No one can guarantee that any piece of content will take the web by storm, but we can make sure that a piece of content has what it takes.

    Would love to hear your feedback on it. I'd especially love to see if anyone has done well with viral content in the past.
    is not just video , I saw Picture can go viral too.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmarc
    Great sharing guys, what syndication strategies would you recommend for the content to go viral?
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    • Profile picture of the author icoachu
      Originally Posted by mmarc View Post

      Great sharing guys, what syndication strategies would you recommend for the content to go viral?
      There are Twitter services that many influential people in many niches subscribe to. Syndicators usually pay a small amount to those services to get the word out. Success depends on the outlets that pick up your article.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Dedy,

    Not trying lol Viral content spreads far and wide in record time or just in uber fast time because the energy behind the creation and behind the people backing the content is so high, it's pure gold. Things take off because either the individual is a newer marketer who got super clear when creating this piece of content or they are a seasoned marketer who worked like, say, 5 or 7 years to get their skill sets down cold, to create something so epic, you couldn't ignore it. I go with the latter

    I read the other day about a guy who's making $350,000 a year through Amazon eBook sales. He gave his first book away for free. During the first weekend said book was downloaded 50,000 times. It's like the Tipping Point book by Malcolm Gladwell says; when you have a perfect storm of situations you can't help but to go viral. Getting those situations aligned is not always easy but if you do create from the highest energy space you can't help but to create something really neat.

    The deal is though, force negates. Most or virtually all who TRY to go viral are using forceful, desperate energy, which carries over into a crappy creation. The few viral creations are heart felt, smart, and of such a high energy that either you vibe with it and need to share it, or you don't vibe with it but appreciate it on some level. The energy behind the creators and their clarity in connecting with their networks, meeting with the right influencers, makes it all happen.

    Tweeting from Bali!

    Ryan
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      Hi Dedy,

      Not trying lol Viral content spreads far and wide in record time or just in uber fast time because the energy behind the creation and behind the people backing the content is so high, it's pure gold. Things take off because either the individual is a newer marketer who got super clear when creating this piece of content or they are a seasoned marketer who worked like, say, 5 or 7 years to get their skill sets down cold, to create something so epic, you couldn't ignore it. I go with the latter

      I read the other day about a guy who's making $350,000 a year through Amazon eBook sales. He gave his first book away for free. During the first weekend said book was downloaded 50,000 times. It's like the Tipping Point book by Malcolm Gladwell says; when you have a perfect storm of situations you can't help but to go viral. Getting those situations aligned is not always easy but if you do create from the highest energy space you can't help but to create something really neat.

      The deal is though, force negates. Most or virtually all who TRY to go viral are using forceful, desperate energy, which carries over into a crappy creation. The few viral creations are heart felt, smart, and of such a high energy that either you vibe with it and need to share it, or you don't vibe with it but appreciate it on some level. The energy behind the creators and their clarity in connecting with their networks, meeting with the right influencers, makes it all happen.

      Tweeting from Bali!

      Ryan

      very true. I think MOST of the content that goes viral is very planned and done by people who are experienced and know what works and what doesn't.

      Of course there are people who do luck out like with Youtube videos.
      There is no question.

      But the majority of viral content is created by very talented and very calculating people
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  • Profile picture of the author lord diamond
    You need to publish Linkbait articles about a subject that you're an expert in. The piece should have 2000 + words in it and have really great voice, so it reads as if it were literally speaking to your reader. Make it either really quirky and emotional (think Facebook), or real technical (think Google and Reddit), if its the former, people will link back to your article to verify their strong emotions (anger, fear, etc.), if its the latter, people will link because they require a source for something technical they're trying to convince people of in their story.
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  • Profile picture of the author Carl Hardy
    hi nice content really with out content we cant reach AUDIENCE fast as we think it reaches the maximum audience at correct time and place content is the thing where audience can understand the concept of the poster blog,,,,,
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  • Profile picture of the author Dex88
    Making viral content is easy; you just have to know the trends, what people are interested in, and basically be a crowd pleaser. The difficult part is making that same content relevant to your business and be able to actually profit from it. Just my thoughts.
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  • I've been behind a couple of viral campaigns.
    The first one was by complete accident with now almost 19 million views on Youtube...
    If you search "cute puppy falling asleep" the little golden retriever video was put online by my girlfriend at the time after I told her for sure it's going to get at least 100,000 pageviews.

    It hit that within a few weeks.... and then Skyrocketed into viral-dom once a media publication aggregated videos of puppies and featured this one.

    It was super cool to watch the views come in.

    Viral Factor: Cuteness works (especially with girls)


    The next one was a "Online Poker Song" I helped produced called "Cash Out [Bing Blang Blaow]"
    Though the original post isn't up, it received a lot of attention in the Online Poker community and even made its away onto TV where some poker Pros like Barry Greenstein said "Bing Blang Blaow" after knocking someone out of the World Series of Poker.

    This drove a lot of new visitors for our poker site at the time and helped us get some main stream exposure a few years back.

    How it gained traction was it was posted on 2+2 Poker Forum and people began sharing it like crazy because it was the first of its kind.

    Moral of this story: Humor and creative works great!


    I have a few more examples. But essentially in my experience something unique, intriguing, funny, cute, or actually in general something that stirs the emotion in either a positive or negative way has a better chance of getting viral exposure. Outrage works well but I think positivity works even better.

    p.s.
    If you've written some really awesome content and you want more exposure, reach out to me and I'll show you what I'm working on these days... and how it can generate our average user about 1-3,000 new pageviews in a week, free.
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  • Profile picture of the author dedy
    Any example of viral content for internet marketing niche?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Lenney
    Banned
    So what's the secret op?
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  • Profile picture of the author Isaack101
    I partially agree with you, but my personal experience and opinion after having to build a blog that generated 100 000 visitors in just 3 weeks is that relationship is key to anything that will ever go viral. Any content that is worth spending time on will be most likely to go viral if the relationship is good. What I mean by relationship is :

    1. If people know and trust you, they will most likely share your content. (This could help information go viral)

    2. If the content ignites emotion, (eg - funny videos etc)

    3. If there is an event that people can relate the content to. (eg - super bowl etc)

    [ Best of all, if all three can come together - your content has a 90% of going viral ]

    The remaining 10% is just pure LUCK!

    I hope we are in agreement...
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      When you really think about it, viral content is the result of people being exposed to the "virus" and then "sharing it" by exposing others to what they have. In that sense, whether or not a piece of content goes viral ultimately depends upon others . . . not the content creator. Does that make sense?

      Granted, some have the talent for knowing the types of content that one might expect to go viral. But talent alone is not the key - no one can say for sure that any particular content will "go viral" because of what they created. It is up to the audience and how they react to the content.

      Someone that creates a quality piece of content and then shares the heck out of it can't say he created viral content. He has just promoted his content aggressively . . . but it's still the audience and how they react to the content that determines what's viral and what isn't.

      Again, some are good at anticipating what might "go viral" . . . but ultimately it's what happens in the 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th "generation" of passing on the content that matters.

      You don't create viral content . . . you create content that you hope your audience will share over and over again.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Jim Symonds
    The content should be funny or educational, and we should feel cool or enlightening to share it with others.

    PS - here is my stab at a viral piece: http://automaticwebsoftware.com/zombies-go-mlm/ I welcome your thoughts!
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      As others have already said, it's up to the market to decide whether something goes viral. But I believe you can do specific things to improve your odds.

      First, a distinction should be made between commercial and personal. Many qualities people gave in this thread seems to mix the two up.

      Here's a article I came across recently that reveals the qualities most "commercial" related content had that went viral. Everyone should try to at least have these qualities, IMO.

      6 Qualities To Help Your (Commercial) Videos Go Viral


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  • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
    Originally Posted by dedy View Post

    Viral content is any piece of media that suddenly becomes an online sensation. You have almost certainly seen this happen -- that indelible image or outrageous video that gets forwarded to you by a dozen friends in under an hour. The democratic structure of the Web has made this sort of thing commonplace nowadays, as a single text, tweet, status update, or link is all it takes to "gift" something amazing to everyone you know.

    Not all great content goes viral, but (with the exception of awesomely terrible videos) content that does go viral is great. No one can guarantee that any piece of content will take the web by storm, but we can make sure that a piece of content has what it takes.

    Would love to hear your feedback on it. I'd especially love to see if anyone has done well with viral content in the past.
    Interesting post! This is something I always wondered myself.. I was actually lucky enough to have one of my posts go viral last November and by viral I mean the thing got like over 1 million views in 3 days.

    I wouldn't say my content was anything great at all.. in fact I am still amazed that it has got so many visits and shares to date it has had like 187K shares! Its mind blowing.. It took me about 1 hour to write it and even now 6 months later I still get spikes of traffic from it.. For those wondering what article I am referring to its the top 10 most powerful passports in the world

    Not only did this go viral in the country my blog was based(Australia) but in other countries such as Finland, Sweden and every other country listed.

    It just goes to show you don't have to be a giant corporation or have a massive media team to get traction like this. If anyone has any questions on the content or how I came up with it just let me know! Hope this helps!
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    • Profile picture of the author Devilfish168
      Originally Posted by palmer9999 View Post

      Interesting post! This is something I always wondered myself.. I was actually lucky enough to have one of my posts go viral last November and by viral I mean the thing got like over 1 million views in 3 days.

      I wouldn't say my content was anything great at all.. in fact I am still amazed that it has got so many visits and shares to date it has had like 187K shares! Its mind blowing.. It took me about 1 hour to write it and even now 6 months later I still get spikes of traffic from it.. For those wondering what article I am referring to its the top 10 most powerful passports in the world

      Not only did this go viral in the country my blog was based(Australia) but in other countries such as Finland, Sweden and every other country listed.

      It just goes to show you don't have to be a giant corporation or have a massive media team to get traction like this. If anyone has any questions on the content or how I came up with it just let me know! Hope this helps!

      that was awesome LOL saw my country Singapore pass port there...
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  • Profile picture of the author franchiseguy
    Who cares? Everyone is looking for these "quick fix" solutions....then you are right back to square one in a few weeks when your viral video is back at zero. Not to mention if your viral video doesnt promote something of value you end up with nothing but hits.
    My opinion: Stop looking for quick fixes, memes of the day and focus on a solid, long term business strategy.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarcoYandun
    Create content that plays with people senses, for example something that provokes them get angry, funny, guilty, etc. a political issue or theme is a good example. Religion is another one. This way people will start commenting. But before you expect that content go viral, you will need to give it an initial traction investing some money at the beginning, they it will get viral by itself...

    Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author southcoaster
    I've used curated content which has gone seriously viral on several occasions on my websites via Facebook traffic. I wish I knew the formula because - to be honest - none of the videos that went viral I would have expected to! Something just hits home with a specific and large enough niche of people, and they getting commenting and sharing which on Facebook is key - and then you snowball.

    My new websites use content I have created myself , which is a whole new ball game. Now I need to try to predict if my time is well spent creating something which could potentially go viral. At this stage however - I still mainly rely on this being a number sgame with good luck needed still.
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  • Profile picture of the author vascodada
    Perharps the secret lies within the social media???? May be Facebook, or even twitter......
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  • Profile picture of the author daniyal100
    Originally Posted by dedy View Post

    Viral content is any piece of media that suddenly becomes an online sensation. You have almost certainly seen this happen -- that indelible image or outrageous video that gets forwarded to you by a dozen friends in under an hour. The democratic structure of the Web has made this sort of thing commonplace nowadays, as a single text, tweet, status update, or link is all it takes to "gift" something amazing to everyone you know.

    Not all great content goes viral, but (with the exception of awesomely terrible videos) content that does go viral is great. No one can guarantee that any piece of content will take the web by storm, but we can make sure that a piece of content has what it takes.

    Would love to hear your feedback on it. I'd especially love to see if anyone has done well with viral content in the past.
    I'd never tell the secret for free or for a few bucks to general public in form of a wso.

    I'd be considered the most foolish person on earth if i do so and i am yet to see someone who do this.
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  • Profile picture of the author agarwalmridul
    Originally Posted by dedy View Post

    Not all great content goes viral, but (with the exception of awesomely terrible videos) content that does go viral is great. No one can guarantee that any piece of content will take the web by storm, but we can make sure that a piece of content has what it takes.
    Tactically speaking, here are some things that I have seen succeeding:
    1) New "Angle" to content. The content can have a standard "Theme" and "Subject", but the Angle has to be unique.
    2) Great Headline. It shouldn't be negative, it shouldn't be safe. It has to be just right.
    3) Influencer Adoption. This is absolutely critical. Whenever I seeded the content with influencers, I have seen 3x+ more adoption.
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  • Profile picture of the author maxsi
    We are doing a nice viral marketing in Italy, in one good niche
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