So, you've come up with an awesome content marketing idea. In fact, it's so good, that you reckon it could go viral. But how do you know if you've really got a hit on your hands?
To help understand whether you're about to go viral, we're going to cover:
- The key characteristics of viral content.
- How you can build viral characteristics into your content.
What do I mean by virality?
- In this context, I'm specifically talking about creating viral content for marketing purposes. I'm not talking about building virality into a product, or making an idea viral.
- My definition of viral content is content that is circulated rapidly on the internet. It should have a viral coefficient higher than 1. (A viral coefficient is the total number of new viewers generated by one existing viewer. A viral coefficient above 1 means the content has viral growth and is growing, and a coefficient below 1 means that sharing growth is diminishing).
1. Does it create social value
Will sharing this make me look good to others
- Make your content remarkable. This is an obvious one, but the more remarkable (unusual, interesting, extraordinary, worthy of attention) your content is, the more likely people are to share it. A great example of remarkable content is something we've just done for one of our clients, Concert Hotels:
- Make people feel like insiders. If you can provide people with something that is totally unique to them, then they are more likely to share that knowledge, as they're the first to know about it. You only have to look at the success of membership only sites e.g. Achica, Gilt Group to know that exclusivity/scarcity has incredible power to motivate people. Not convinced by the power of scarcity/insider knowledge? Read how Disney turned 7 outreach emails into 350m impressions.
- Leverage game mechanics. It's a fact that people like to look good. More interestingly, people like to look good relative to others.
- A - Earn £100k if your peer group was earning £200k?
- B- Earn £50k if your peer group was earning £25k?
3. Does it stimulate an emotional reaction?
|High Arousal||Low Arousal|
|Positive||Awe, excitement, Amusement||Contentment|
Emotions that fit into the surprise and anticipation segments of Plutchik’s wheel were overwhelmingly represented. Specifically:
- Admiration (an unexpected result)
4. Speed you evoke an emotional reaction
- You frame your content in a way that your audience immediately get it. If your audience don't get it, it's not going viral. Pro Tip: Read 'Made To Stick' if you want to work out how to get people to understand your ideas.
- The medium you choose. Memes, images and visual content work because the speed you can understand/engage with them is almost instant.
5. Is there any social proof?
6. Does your content have practical value
7. What size of audience are you targeting?
8. Do you have a great story?
9. How good is your title/headline/social share copy?
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10. Targeted to the right audience
- targeting the right audience in the first place
- targeting people within that group who are likely to share (seeding)
11. Do you have enough budget/time for outreach
If your content is only seen by a few people, it can only be shared by a few people.