The majority of content posted by the average internet user is largely disregarded, while others seem to have a knack for having their content spread around the globe in virtually no time. Why do some posts go viral while others fade into the background? Viral content is desirable for a variety of reasons. When branded content spends like wildfire, a target audience becomes larger than the poster could have hoped. Whether the viral content leads to sales or tremendous ad revenue, everyone’s eager to cut themselves a piece of the viral pie. Truth be told, viral content relates more to human nature than it does to the quality of the content.
Your store’s fantastic deal on shoes isn’t going to gain as much attention as an inspirational story of triumph over hardships, and that’s for a good reason. These stories have emotional appeals that cause people to react. While offline, people tend to express these feelings verbally or through action, in the internet world people are more apt to express their feelings through the “share” button. Sometimes things spread because they’re controversial. Statements made by public figures, political issues, religious opinions, and moral topics tend to fall under the umbrella of controversy. Controversy is engaging because of the visceral reaction an individual experiences when they’re exposed to that content. There are a variety of strong reactions, and they’re all pulling from the same place within us. Strong emotions, such as love, fear, rage, disgust, and heartfelt inspiration are going to elicit these meaningful responses in people. Those seeking a sense of empathy, or even an argument over the issue, will expose this content with their friends and family to get a conversation going. These emotional pulls are what drive all posts, regardless of what is actually contained within the content. There are, however, three specific types of content that tend to spread faster than others.
- Breaking News
Articles tied to fresh news stories spread contagiously. It’s part of human nature to be driven by gossip, and this is how controversial celebrities keep themselves relevant. News does not have to specifically pertain to celebrities to go viral. Major world events and huge political developments spread just as fast, because they engage the passion of informed individuals and serve as dialogue starters where people can exchange ideas on the subject.
- Revolutionary Innovation and New Information
If someone invented a fully functional pedestrian spaceship, or created an elixir for immortality, the internet would probably break from the amount of shares. While we’re not quite there yet, there’s still plenty of new information and innovation taking place every day. People get excited over new things that can potentially change or simplify their lives. Everyone is trying to keep themselves at the forefront of knowledge, and they’re generally glad to spread that to others.
- Undeniable Humor
Three words: funny cat videos. The reason that humor and satire sites often propel themselves through the ranks with relative ease is quite simply because people like to laugh. Expertly crafted humor content is a no brainer when someone is trying to get viral exposure. Everyone can appreciate a laugh, and it’s one of the less divisive ways to share something with their friends. In essence, viral content is marketed by its ability to shape itself around human psychology. This does sound tricky, but the formula is quite simple. If you can remove yourself from content and view it through a variety of different lenses and still clearly understand its emotional appeal, that’s a good marker for content with the potential to go viral.