You probably know that feeling before clicking “Publish” and thinking: “everything is still possible”. Because after publishing, your entry can turn out to be hit and quickly take over the Internet, the biggest industry influencers will start sharing it and commenting : ‘good job’ or ‘great post’ as well as hundreds of others. You’ll never admit that, but for more than 100% you have hope that it will go exactly this way. That’s why you’re excited but also feeling nervous, because pressing ‘Publish’ in this case is comparable only to crying call in poker.
Briefly after publishing the article nothing’s happened, but it’s normal – you just briefly published it online, people haven’t had a time to read it yet. So you’re patiently waiting…
After few days, you lose any hope.
Why some contents immediately goes viral, even though they’re no better than yours? Does the authors of these articles were really lucky so their posts accidentally become viral? Suddenly, the truth is that there’s no accident, they weren’t lucky and everything can be precisely planned.
Why the content goes viral?
According to Jonah Berger, author of bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On there are six main reasons why contents can go viral:
- Social Currency: We share things that make us looking good
- Triggers: Easily memorable, top-of-mind information
- Emotions: When we care, we share.
- Public: Built to show, built to grow.
- Practical Value: Any informations that people can use.
- Stories: Everyone is an inherent storyteller and all of people love to share them.
Let’s focus on four of them, most important and useful for content creation.
Social currency – why cats always get lots of shares if people prefer dogs?
Statistically, more people have dogs and prefer dogs over cats. However, being Facebook user, sooner or later you’ll find thousands of pictures and memes with cats. This is happening because of fact that we love to share the things that simply makes us cool.
Sharing a picture of cute and fancy pet we show the others that we’re also cool. The same mechanism worked perfectly in 2012 when Linkedin tricked their users notifying 20 million people about being in the top 10% of most viewed profiles. Effect? They couldn’t resist bragging about and immediately shared the information via other social media. This information made people feeling honored to be members of an elite group, undoubtedly placing them well regarded. That’s the key reason why they decided to share this information.
How can you put it into practice? While creating content for your target group, think of their needs and discover what can make them simply feel better.
Emotions – content evoking emotions (negative or positive) is shared more often.
It’s not enough. Quite surprising can be that positive content always have a less shares than negative one. But let’s get back to the emotions. What emotions exactly should evoke your content to become viral?
According to Derek Halpern, we can distinguish seven highly-excitatory emotions:
- Admiration – How to invoke admiration? You can create an article comprehensively exploring the subject and simply be better than all the others. You can also tell the story of how did you manage to get out of a difficult situation.
- Anger – If your article will make someone’s angry, it’s increasing the probability that content will be widely shared. Of course, you need to acknowledge that with sharing the lightest sort of comment you have to bear with will be “how wrong are you”
- Anxiety – The possibility of losing something invoke the hated feeling of anxiety. If recipient realize that might lose something, your content invoke this feeling.
- Fear – This emotion doesn’t need further explanation this is undoubtedly the biggest motivator on earth. Probability of making mistakes, which we can’t turn back, definitely evokes a fear in us.
- Joy – Positive content get obvious shares, so it’s definitely profitable for you. How to do it? Probably the best way is storytelling. Present a story that has a positive connotation.
- Lust – You have probably met a situation when at least one of your friends shared on Facebook a link to the things they would like to have. You can create content that will guide your audience, how to get what they desire.
- Astonishment – Surprise your audience and virality of your content will significantly increase. This also work the other way – boring your audience is the best way to have no shares.
Practical value – people love practical tips they are able to apply immediately.
Moreover, people love to share them even if they’re not the authors – they sharing content because want to be a messengers of good news. If shared content will help anyone, this is our merit as a contributors – we delivered the content, so we are a little bit like messenger from battlefield in ancient Greece. However we didn’t won the battle, but we have a share in glory because of delivering information.
Stories – people are natural storytellers.
It’s said that all people are natural storytellers and there’s something about it. Undoubtedly we love to listening stories – that’s why we’re going to the cinema and reading books. What has been mentioned above, emotions are the key element because they determine if any content will be viral or not. What is the best way to invoke emotions? Tell the story!
The proven scheme is monomyth which you can meet anywhere – watching adverts, films, or reading books, for instance movie hero fighting against adversities, enemies, or for the ideas. If you or your company struggled with any adversities in the past, this is brilliant material for the story you can share with your followers.
Now, after the lecture of this article we believe you’re 100% sure that nothing is happening by an accident. So if you simply want to increase chances that your contents will go viral, please note if matching at least one of these conditions:
- Putting your audience in a good word
- Invoking emotions
- Is useful (giving your audience practical advices)
- Telling catchy story
And, there’s a funny bonus 🙂