Viral Content—we’ve all heard of it, we all love it, we all want it—but how do we create it? Well let’s first start out by noting, it’s NOT easy! Viral content spreads fast, it creates a sensation for people who begin to share it to people who share it, and that basically keeps continuing until a mass audience has viewed it. Content that goes viral needs to have that special something that gives it that certain “viral edge.” Popular themes for viral content are: humor, controversy, surprises, interesting, practically useful etc.
According to Digital Strategist Mark Smiciklas, the five key elements of viral content are: share buttons scarcity, skimability, practical utility, and consistency.
Share Buttons: share buttons are links below or above content that easily lets viewers share the content to other people on the net
Scarcity: when content isn’t common and people feel the urge to make it common.
Skimability: people don’t have time to read everything nowadays; there must be something that quickly catches the viewers’ attention.
Practical Utility: a viral theme that approaches a strategy for completing something so users can easily follow along and put into practice.
Consistency: content that is consistent builds trust and credibility. This keeps viewers intrigued into your content.
Viral content really is like a virus, it has to spread to people and trigger some sort of effect. Derek Halpern talks about getting “contagious” in relation to creating viral content, and that is exactly what it is. For instance, Coca Cola created a viral video and you can see how quickly emotions played into it for those involved and those viewing.
So it all comes down to the original question, how do we create this viral content? According to Dorie Clark, there is a specific “science” to it. The best way to go about it is to try and hit the trigger effects that actually impacts viewers enough into spreading the video. Viral content has to make that separation between normality and incredibleness. Remember, it’s all about attracting an audience, and you have to ensure whatever you create will have enough effect for people to spread it on amass scale, thus making it viral.
What specific theme or emotion do you feel is the most important when creating a viral video?
What is your favorite viral video, and why do you think it was so successful?