Honestly, what is viral content?!

19 replies
Hi everyone,

Im a new member here and this is my first time ever joining a forum outside of reddit. I am currently trying to learn as much as I can about the online marketing and i feel that i can share with you a fair bit of what i have learned (both black-hat and white-hat practices) over the past 3 years. Anyways that was just an introduction to get acquainted with you all.

Over the last few months, i have read and seen a lot of viral content. Unfortunately, i still do not really understand what makes something viral. Most of the time when i ask what makes a viral post, i get answers along the lines of: something that provokes you, something funny, something you can relate to or something irresistible to people.

I tried testing out some content that had some of the above elements, but i still haven't been able to crack the code - which leads to my questions: What is a viral content, how do you tell if it's going to be viral and how do you find viral content?

My apologies for asking so many questions, I am just super curious about things and i love to learn new things.
#content #honestly #viral
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    it is content that people want to share. And when this content is shared by people who have a lot of "Friends" on their social media accounts then said content will get shared by possibly millions.

    The content needs to spark some sort of emotion. That is why many times it is a short video or meme that will go viral

    A short video of a family holding hands saying grace at the thanksgiving table will probably not go viral. But, If in the same family is doing the same thing only, in the middle of saying grace, Aunt Millie's Chihuahua jumps on the table and humps the turkey, then that my friend, will go viral

    al
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    • "The content needs to spark some sort of emotion" - in your opinion, what kind of emotions do you think would drive people the most to share the content?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    First off, welcome. Feel free to share white hat knowledge, but you probably want to hold off on the black hat stuff. Good way to get posts and threads deleted.

    As for viral content, it really isn't as easy to predict as the people promising to sell it to you would have you believe.

    Often, when big companies put out 'viral' content, it's really just content with a heavy dose of promotion or some kind of incentive to share (like sharing gets you a freebie or extra entries in a giveaway).

    There are exceptions, like Blendtec's "Will It Blend" series of videos, but those are hard to come by.
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    • Incentivized sharing sounds like a good idea - similar to lead magnets.
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  • Profile picture of the author franamico
    It's hard to say if some piece of content will go viral. Yes, the WOW, factor needs to be there but you can't be 100% sure. I would recommend you create as much content as possible and see what works in your hands
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    • Thanks for the recommendation franamico! I will definitely try creating and curating some stuff to see the reactions they get.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Banned
    Interesting question. Part of it (IMO) is that People feel "good" (etc.) for sharing it with their friends and associates. Sometimes they like the recognition of passing on something "cool" ...

    I'm no expert though -- just my opinion. Welcome to The Forum, by the way. : )
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    "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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    • I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to this Jonathan. The fact that the content has to evoke emotions that make people feel good is very interesting. I have seen a lot of content going viral (comedy in particular) for that very reason!

      I will definitely try creating some content like that and see how well it works.

      Thanks again!
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by Sarfaraz Karmali View Post

    What is a viral content, how do you tell if it's going to be viral and how do you find viral content?

    Sarfaraz,

    Here are my thoughts on your three questions:

    What is viral content? It is simply content that is shared by many, many people, spreading like a virus across the Internet. As far as I know, there is no exact definition of how many shares a piece of content has to have before it is considered viral . . . or how fast the content is shared in terms of the number of days it gets passed around. "Viral" is just a popular term used to suggest that the content is spreading very quickly.

    How do you tell if it's going to be viral? You can't. It is not something that a creator can predict with any certainty. In fact, it's the audience, those who receive and then share the content, that makes a piece of content "go viral" ... it is not the creator. No matter how funny, creative, smart, or cool the content created may be, if it doesn't get passed around and shared by a whole lot of people quickly it will not be considered "viral."

    How do you find viral content? It's simple IMO ... go online and search for content that is very popular based on the most views or shares it is getting. Since the exact amount of sharing is not set in any definition of "viral" - what is called "viral content" will vary depending upon the person making the judgment about it.

    Having said all this . . . anyone can create something that will "go viral" but no one can be assured that what they create is going to end up being viral. Awhile back I saw a paid course on creating viral reports. You can learn lots of ways to get your content shared to a greater degree . . . but no one can decide with certainty that something will become viral before it is distributed - that's up to the people who see the content to decide by their action of sending it to others.

    The very best to you,

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Sarfaraz,

    Welcome my friend. Great to see you here.

    You'll get different views from different Warriors.

    My take: viral content is *emotionally moving* (polarizing content in some cases, highly funny, sad or shocking) content that gets a boat load of views, listens or whatever the quantitative number is on the platform within a short period of time. Opinions on numbers vary - from the number of views to the length of time - but if a YouTube video gets 100,000 views in 1-2 days, it is definitely viral. Ditto for a podcast that nabs 200,000 listens in 1-2 days.

    Viral content often keeps gaining steam after the initial surge.

    Warning, Warning, Warning LOL You will not crack the code for creating a viral piece of content, because when you try to make something popular you do the very things ensuring the content ain't becoming popular. You will focus on the outcome versus the process.

    Folks who create viral content almost always devote 100% of their energy to the process, injecting their passion into the work. This is why the piece goes viral.

    I prefer to grow my business through establishing a viral online presence. Be in 50,000 places at once while generously helping folks. Everywhere folks turn, they see you, you become familiar and all expands beautifully and your detachment from the outcomes but focusing on the process creates a real online masterpiece for your blog and brand.

    Ryan
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    Ryan Biddulph, Blogger, Author, World Traveling Digital Nomad
    If you want to become a full time blogger you can buy my eBook here
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    • Thank you Ryan.

      The fact that you said "Folks who create viral content almost always devote 100% of their energy to the process, injecting their passion into the work." is really interesting.

      My question to you then is how do you build an audience on a platform like facebook? do you have some sort of case study that i could refer to?
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    Getting things Viral has it's own recipe, it has to have a wow factor. Something that makes the audience curious or something that gets to your emotions. Some people even fake it just to make it go viral.
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    www.phlanx.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Maxima123
    Viral content is material, such as an article, an image or a video that spreads rapidly online through website links and social sharing. The internet meme, a classic example of viral content, usually takes the form of a video or an image with one or two lines of text.It spread like a fire.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnVianny
    VIRAL CONTENT is something shared by an amount of people which is higher than the average of the niche market the post is in.

    You can start to learn how to post something viral by looking what is viral or has been viral before.

    As an example on Instagram, in the explore page, there are viral contents in your niche now.
    You can save them and repost them, givin credit, and maybe you go viral too.
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    • "As an example on Instagram, in the explore page, there are viral contents in your niche now." - Thanks for this tip John
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  • Profile picture of the author affmarketer101
    I am not able to explain it to you, but I would like to recommend you to read this book "Contagious: Why Things Catch On" by Jonah Berger. It's all about explanation of why something went viral.
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  • Originally Posted by Sarfaraz Karmali View Post

    Hi everyone,

    Im a new member here and this is my first time ever joining a forum outside of reddit. I am currently trying to learn as much as I can about the online marketing and i feel that i can share with you a fair bit of what i have learned (both black-hat and white-hat practices) over the past 3 years. Anyways that was just an introduction to get acquainted with you all.

    Over the last few months, i have read and seen a lot of viral content. Unfortunately, i still do not really understand what makes something viral. Most of the time when i ask what makes a viral post, i get answers along the lines of: something that provokes you, something funny, something you can relate to or something irresistible to people.

    I tried testing out some content that had some of the above elements, but i still haven't been able to crack the code - which leads to my questions: What is a viral content, how do you tell if it's going to be viral and how do you find viral content?

    My apologies for asking so many questions, I am just super curious about things and i love to learn new things.
    Viral content can take a number of forms. It can be funny, informational, shocking and evoke a ton of different emotions.

    The key to viral content is making is sharable. It's not always easy to predict what will be shared like a virus and what won't.

    In my experience, it's best to write content, create videos, share images, etc. that fit with your overall message/brand. If it goes viral, that's a bonus.

    Benjamin Ehinger
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