Viral Content…What Is It?

What is viral content? How do you create it? How does a regular Joe like me create something that generates 10 million likes and shares? Until this week’s readings the thought of creating viral content seemed very overwhelming and scary but as the saying goes “the truth will set you free.”

In reality creating viral content is like creating good content, just at a higher level. There are methods to the madness that provide some insight for us: be consistent, be relevant, and play on emotions. These are essential elements to making highly shareable content so obviously it translates into viral content. Ok great, so now that we know the science behind “viral” content how to we get millions of likes and shares in a matter of days?

1a-grumpy-cat-art-gu8kjvrb-1good-morning-catI love that Dori Clark sheds light on what viral content really is. It’s not the angry cat, the infamous “Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife” Antoine Dodson video, or anything along those lines…it’s getting 10-20% of your audience to tell one additional friend about you. That really is amazing when you think of it. This whole time I’ve been sitting here thinking about how crazy it would be to have viral content when in all actuality I probably have had some “viral” blog posts in this class this semester.

If viral is just “word of mouth” on steroids then we’ve all probably experienced it. I’ve posted pictures on Facebook that have gotten over 50 likes, based on Clark’s notion I would say that is viral content. It’s a lot more people than usual that liked my posts. I’ve had friends at work read my blog and then ask me about it the next day at lunch…is this viral content? I would say yes.

When the goal is just to have a high level of visibility with the content you post then you are creating viral content. I think this is really the goal of everyone on every social network. We want likes, shares, and retweets. It’s not so daunting when I put it in perspective. I want people to like what I post. This whole semester I’ve been keeping tabs on what my audience likes. I’ve been publishing posts that create the most engagement, allow me to have a higher SEO, give them something to think about, and keep them coming back for more. I have created “viral” content.

What do you consider to be viral content? Do you think have in some aspect you have created viral content this semester?


8 thoughts on “Viral Content…What Is It?

  1. Hi Alexis.

    I consider any popular content on the internet such as The Most Interesting Man in the World Memes, Condescending Willy Wink Memes, Ryan Gossling Memes, and The Harlem Shake to be viral marketing at its best.

    I haven’t created viral content this semester, however, I am laying the groundwork. My tweets consistently get favorited and retweeted on Twitter. Not to mention I have engaged in Twitter conversations with social media influencers including Mari Smith, Marsha Collier and Kim Garst. I expect to create viral content at some point in my career; it just hasn’t happened this semester.

    • Jason, I think you have done a great job this semester creating content…and I think you have done viral content, maybe not up to you expectations of viral but viral nonetheless. You’ve had conversations with huge social media influencers…do you know what kind of visibilty that has given you!? You’re on the right track!

  2. Hey Alexis,
    I consider viral content to be mostly emotional appeal to your senses. For instance, no matter what it is that I view, if I was moved in one way or another, I’m happy I read it. I feel people spread this viral content when they feel similarly. It has to make an impact that other similar content can’t in order to be a successful viral video.
    I think I’m on the right track to creating viral content. For instance, when doing a blog post or one of the 5 thing assignments, I have had favorable responses from people I don’t know, and that’s huge. It is helping to create a gathering of followers and it’s nice to know the content I provided was well accepted by someone. You have to start somewhere, right?
    Good post!

    • Gavin, I agree with you! As we’ve learned this week throughout our readings and lecture viral content has to resonate with the viewer, otherwise what is the incentive to share it!? It’s always interesting to see what kind of responses we get from people we don’t know on our blog posts! Congrats! You seem to be heading in the right direction for becoming very viral! Thanks for the input!

  3. Alexis,

    I consider a video that reaches more than its expected audience to be viral.Fairly certain nobody who filmed the slow loris laughing videos expected over four million views, but alas, we are a simple country. Viral stories are harder to gauge since a story can spread in various ways. Someone could share a link or simply tell a friend about the article. Either way, the message of the content is spreading in a viral manner.

    While some of my blog posts have lead to a larger following or response than I anticipated, I don’t think I would deem anything that I have created this semester as viral.

    • Casey, you are right! Viral content is hard to measure because people do share the material in so many different ways! Like you said, as long as the content reaches more views than expected it can be classified as viral!

  4. Hi Alexis,

    Great post- we’re definitely in the same line of thinking about what constitutes viral content. I, too, had originally thought that little ol’ me could never create something viral. But after this week, I’ve learned that it really is possible! Getting a few of your followers to share, or even better, actually talk about in person, your post to just one additional person would be considered viral.

    I talked about in my lecture reaction this week that a post I made last week for Ink Link Marketing received almost no feedback online, but resulted in two phone calls from potential clients who loved the post so much they want our business. I would say that’s even better than going viral!

    • Lexi, that is awesome! So happy for you…that is a huge step! It just goes to show how different viral content can be defined. Personally, I think when people talk to me in person about posts I’ve made it’s better than a like or a share…it shows they really want to engage in a conversation with me! Thanks for your feedback!

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