Virality can be planned: how to create content that will go viral

Modern users, fed up with a variety of information, prefer only viral, high-quality and memorable content. All people of the world form an endless ocean of information of 2.5 quintillion bytes in just a day. Each earthling produces 1.7 MB of information every second. That is why today it is not enough to post aesthetic pictures and funny videos in order to attract the user s attention.

But what is viral information? Its main principles are emotions, stories, triggers, and benefits. The basic principles of creating such content are described in the book “Contagious. The psychology of word of mouth. How products and ideas become popular ”Professor of Marketing Jona Berger. What are these principles and how do you apply them?

Evoke vivid emotions

A person is so arranged that he wants to share only that news, that content that causes him the most vivid emotions – both positive and negative. Berger, along with other researchers, analyzed about 7 thousand publications of the New York Times, which were included in the section of the most popular. The analysis showed that, contrary to the common misconception, bright positive news spreads no worse than shocking negative news.

The researchers also found the main difference between viral and unclaimed content is the activation of emotions:

  • High activation. Stimulates to spread information, discuss with loved ones. Most often, people share delight, admiration, emotion, surprise, compassion, as well as anger, anger, irritation, indignation.
  • Low activation. Doesn t make you want to share news. Quite a weak response from content that evokes feelings of calmness, satisfaction, longing, fatigue, sadness.

One of the most successful examples of the use of vivid emotions is the viral Dove video “Sketches of real beauty”: on YouTube alone, the video gained 70 million views. The artist depicted two images of a woman – the way she perceives herself, and the way others see her. It turned out that the image of a person in the eyes of other people was closer to reality than their own perception.

The main secret of viral content success is not only discussion of an actual problem, but also stimulation of active emotions. You can recall another familiar example: that very dark blue or white and gold dress, which was so vigorously discussed by Internet users in 2015. The author s post was then seen by more than 73 million people, which was successfully used by dress designers, the Roman Originals brand.

The company not only launched an active advertising campaign on social networks, but also changed its website to match the trend. And this bore fruit: the number of site views increased to 1.2 million, and on some days the products were viewed by 3000% more people than before the viral publication.

Tell product stories

Storytelling has already become a proven trend in popular brands. As statistics show, people remember product stories 21% better, which causes 35% more trust than standard advertising publications. But the secret is that you need to learn how to create stories that you would like to share, which would cause real feelings and keep you in suspense until the very end.

Among the most successful examples of storytelling is the video featuring Range Rover SUVs. Not a single car managed to get to the “Heavenly Gate” – a monument on the top of the Chinese Tianmen Mountain: 999 steps, an angle of inclination up to 45 °, 99 sharp turns. The video begins with a vivid display of all the difficulties that SUVs have to conquer. Then experts join, unanimously claiming that it is impossible to climb to the top of the mountain by car – with such an attempt, the racer can be seriously injured, or even die.

Emotions and test tasks that the SUVs fail one after the other are heating up. Still, the Chinese racer in the Range Rover Sport hybrid car decides to do the impossible – and one after another overcomes the tests. To keep the viewer on their toes, filming is carried out both inside and outside the SUV. A daredevil cannot relax for a split second, so as not to erase all his efforts with one mistake. A moment – and the car is hidden by clouds. The viewer cannot tear himself away from the screen – what is happening there now? And here is the long-awaited happy ending: in 21 minutes the SUV reaches the “Heavenly Gate”.

So brightly, beautifully and clearly, the brand has demonstrated that its cars are capable of accomplishing the impossible. Only on one official account, the video has collected 25 million full views, and another 25 million – on the Dutch and Australian YouTube channels of Range Rover.

Build lasting associations

Use triggers – special stimuli that make you think about things that are somehow related to each other. Both positive and negative triggers are used to create interesting content. Stable associations also fall into two types:

Seasonal. The most striking example is Starbucks. Since 2003, the coffee house has been offering a seasonal drink on the menu especially for Halloween – pumpkin latte. Every year, before the onset of cold weather, an active advertisement for unusual coffee is launched. By now, its popularity has grown so much that Pumpkin Latte has its own Twitter account, which has over 93,000 followers.

Associative. Here we can single out the carmaker “Volvo”, which became one of the pioneers in the implementation of security systems. And nowadays, interacting with the audience, the brand proceeds precisely from promoting the ideas of the reliability of its cars.

Take the same viral video featuring actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, who has already received more than 108 million views today. Here the main point is clearly read: Volvo Trucks suspension systems are so reliable that you can easily sit on a twine, leaning your feet on two trucks. Even people far from the automotive industry have developed a reliable association: Volvo is reliable and safe cars.

Show real value

It is human nature to help others. Therefore, if a content creator demonstrates a life hack that is really useful, the audience will discuss it with interest. The main thing is not to forget about the non-standard presentation of information, to focus specifically on the practical benefits.

This is exactly what happened with kronats – a kind of “hybrids” of donuts and croissants. The unusual confectionery product gained enviable popularity after one of the food bloggers tried baked goods and left his review for crowns. This was enough for the traffic of the bakery s website to increase by 300%, and about 140 thousand mentions of the product appeared in social networks and the media! Hundreds of people queued up to taste the mega-trendy baked goods – a mix of American donuts and French croissants.

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