“Going viral” is something that's hard to really plan for.
If it happens, it happens, but even if you do everything you can to try to sow the seeds of virality, it might not pan out.
Ever since the mid 2000s or so, when “viral” became a buzzword, brands have struggled to hone some kind of effective formula for this kind of rapidfire spread via social sharing.
Whether it's a blog post, a YouTube video, or the perfect branded meme, we all hope we can create something that could really take off on social media.
The question is how.
What makes something go viral? What makes people want to share something with everyone they know? What's the secret sauce here?
The real answer is this:
What viral content has in common is that it makes people feel something.
It could be joy, from humor or from something uplifting.
It could be anger. It could even be fear.
But if you really have your sights set on going viral, you need to make your audience feel strong emotions.
Megan Conley, Hubspot's content marketing strategist, summed it up nicely in a quote from a recent blog post.
We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack.
But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion.
Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood?
With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care?
If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.
— Megan Conley, Content Marketing Strategist at HubSpot
For more expert opinions about going viral, check out the full post over at Hubspot.