Many people wonder what makes something go viral on the internet. I’ve been one to ask the same. I first started asking this question a couple of years ago when a popular late-night TV host posted a video on YouTube. In this video he disguised himself and posted it under a fake YouTube account he made. Somehow, this video went viral without people even knowing who was in the video.
How? It couldn’t be random… Right? Turns out, it’s not!
I spent a lot of time researching what makes content go viral. I’ve found that there is actually a formula to it. It’s not random! Early on in my research of viral content, I conducted some tests and made some discoveries.
After spending a few weeks reading and testing viral content theories, I had a pretty good idea about how content on the internet goes viral. I decided to give it a shot to see what I could come up with.
The result: I successfully had an article “go viral.”
I wrote a blog post titled, The Truth About the Powerball and the Winning Numbers. I published this on 01/13/2016 when the Powerball had reached a record high and the entire nation was talking about it. The post was very relevant and received a lot buzz. Plus, as promised, I included the numbers that I claimed would be the winning numbers.
Now here’s what happened, I got a lot of shares before the winning numbers were announced, but, as the winning numbers were being announced on live TV, I changed my numbers to match the actual winning numbers. Most everyone who read the post came back to check (they obviously didn’t remember what I had said) To their surprise, I appear to have been right! Then the post got shared LIKE CRAZY.
In this post, I included numbers that I played in the Powerball. But, the moment that the winning numbers were announced on live TV, I changed the numbers in my post to match the winning numbers. As a result, this already popular post went viral. The amount of views nearly crashed my website!
Since that time, I have had a few other blog posts and videos go viral. But, I still couldn’t put my finger on the “formula” for creating content that goes viral.
Until now, that is.
There is 1 key to unlocking the power to creating viral content. (Are you ready?) Your content must be for ME. If your content isn’t about me or for me, it doesn’t matter to me or the people I care about.
You must create content that impacts individuals on a personal level. Always be thinking from the perspective of “ME.” There are 5 primary ways to speak to speak directly to people that leads to content going viral.
5 formulas for creating content that goes viral:
- Makes me laugh
Content that is just good, clean and non-offensive funny.
- Describes me
Content that helps you make a joke about yourself. (Often critical)
- Connects me
Content that precisely describes your bond with someone or something.
- Helps me
Content that reveals something you may not have known about yourself, typically in a quiz result.
- Makes me feel
Content that hits on an emotional or deep mental level. (Creates feeling)
I’ve found that hitting just one of these things (Unless it’s truly amazing) isn’t enough. Just hitting one of the 5 formulas above doesn’t cut it. The secret is to find a way to effectively hit on multiple items listed above. That’s when you’ve created content that fits within the viral formula!