The highest aspiration of online marketers today is to master the ability to make campaigns go viral. Those who can do so are virtually assured of fame and success in the industry. Alas, it remains an elusive skill for most. Even the few who have managed to do well in one project find it hard to duplicate the feat. Virality, it turns out, depends a lot on luck and often on patience as things may take time before gaining momentum. The degree of difficulty makes people think twice about using this strategy, especially as there is no assurance of a good return. Yet the rewards are too great to ignore this path. It may be tricky but it can certainly be learned, and the perfect place to start is to examine the common denominators among viral content.



Television is filled with formulaic reality shows and sensationalistic news often focusing on one tragedy after another. The Internet has become a refuge to those who are looking for alternatives to mainstream media. It offers a wealth of entertainment from a wide variety of sources. Many of them are fresh, new and exciting. Most of all, a good number of them are positive and uplifting. They make people feel great even for moment and sometimes that is enough to brighten their day. This makes them want to spread the happiness by sharing the content to their friends and family.


The Shock Factor

One of the best ways to grab people’s attention is to shock them. Show them something so unbelievable, so awesome that they become wide-eyed viewers. Usually, content like this starts out as one would expect then the big pay-off comes in at the end, the twist leaving those who see it slack-jawed in amazement. Occasionally, the shock comes from watching an incredible feat or seeing individuals do something quite unexpected given preconceived notions. People want to share this type of content to induce the same reaction in others.


Extreme Emotions

Effective content agitates people into action. To do this, it must evoke extreme emotion from those reading or watching. It is not enough to induce a smile — virality requires uncontrollable laughter. It is not enough to get nods of concurrent — viewers must end up cheering in agreement. Creators must build up the intensity then go all out to provoke an extreme reaction.



Everyone likes it when they find people who think in a similar fashion as they do. The same is true for content. Readers like articles that conform to their own beliefs and interests. It is simply encouraging to find our own views being championed by another. When opinions expressed resonate with personal values, then we are more likely to share them with others, especially to those who are known to have the same mindset.



Another feature found on most viral content is usefulness. People read them and it is as if a light bulb is turned on inside their heads. They can use the article to solve a problem or learn a practical skill. It does not have to be something profound, a really handy tip will do. In fact, in order to spread around, content of this nature must show something that is quite easy to do so that people are not intimidated by it and would be willing to try it out.



Life’s daily stresses can be overwhelming at times and people need all the mood lifting they can get, whether it comes in the form of cute cat memes or funny videos. Viral content can turn a depressing day into a more tolerable one just because it makes people laugh and lightens their load. Aspire to create something inspiring and uplifting to enhance the likelihood of getting shared.



Some ads and articles work because they induce people to stop and think for while. They present novel concepts that challenge traditions, forge a new path, and encourage others to follow. This type of content lingers in the mind. Those who see them cannot help but form an opinion whether of support or opposition.


These are but a few of the characteristics held in common by a majority of viral content with many more left to be discussed. If you want to replicate the success of the most popular articles, videos, and memes, then you have to understand what makes them tick. It is not a straightforward process but each attempt will get you closer to your goal.

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Until next time…

The Web Studio Team