The Art of Going Viral

In today’s world, nearly everyone is subjected to exactly the same popular videos through their friends and colleagues. In fact, try to name a single person who hasn’t seen at least one video of a cute cat or a laughing baby on the Internet. It’s simply inevitable that everyone has. So how did these seemingly trivial videos become so popular? These videos can only be described as having gone ‘viral’.

What does ‘going viral’ mean?

The term ‘viral’ stems from the term ‘virus’, which refers to bacteria that can infect all organisms. Thus, it is not surprising that ‘going viral’ is a term which refers to the rapid spread and constant sharing of certain data between individuals.

How does something go viral?

Something will go viral when most of the people who receive the link forward it to their friends, and then their friends forward it to their friends and so on and so on. Everybody has a different ‘viral’ benchmark, for example: 1 million views for a popular video maker on YouTube wouldn’t be classified as having gone viral, while 1 million views for a business’s article on stocks would definitely be described as viral. It is worth noting that it is near impossible to predict if a picture or article will go viral, however, there are a number of steps you can take to increase your content’s chances of doing so.

How to give yourself the best chance of going viral

You could have an eye grabbing title, fantastic pictures and great content, but still your article could end up dying a lonely death on the outskirts of the Internet. So, how does one make an article go viral? Most articles and videos that go viral do so through nothing but dumb luck, however, there is definitely a ‘viral template’ that one can work around to give your content the best chance of reaching a universal audience.

The first step one must take is to always make sure that the content is relevant to current global trends; for example, an article on how MySpace has a new feature won’t be nearly as popular as an article about how Facebook has a new feature.

The second thing to do is to make sure that the tone of the article is humorous, controversial or intensely interesting, as no one will want to share a bland, mediocre article with their friends!

Perhaps the most effective tool at ones disposal is social media. Social media has a truly global reach and thus, if even a few people initially share your article, it has a good chance of going viral. It is also worth noting that this chance increases exponentially if a celebrity shares it off one of their official social media accounts as the number of potential viewers is that much greater! Finally, and perhaps most importantly, one should always write content that is designed to provoke a strong emotional response from the reader. If your article emotionally touches a reader in some way, or even if the reader can simply relate to it, your article has a much better chance of being shared.

All of the aforementioned advice will drastically increase your content’s chances of going viral but, at the end of the day, you will still need to be exceptionally lucky to do so. You can never truly be sure if your content will go viral, however, if you consistently churn out quality content it will only be a matter of time!

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