Contagious Content Marketing: How to Give Your Content Viral Potential. But the chance of virality is no substitute for well-researched, relevant content amplified to the most relevant audience through organic, paid, and influencer channels. They help people organize time to be more productive, so someone with an interest in how famous creatives managed their time might also be interested in their solution. Then they introduced the #optoutside campaign to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors the day after Thanksgiving, instead of trampling people to buy a flat-screen TV. Therefore, their audience is women. So Always took a firm stand on the way women are subtly demeaned in society, taking the epithet “you [do something] like a girl” and turning it into empowerment: Always’ target audience loved the message and shared it, and the video racked up more than 64 million views. And it still makes me cry. It only takes a few people to like and share your hilarious content to start it on the way to full-fledged virality. If someone asks you to create viral content, tell them as much. Telling stories with data, taking a stand, and adding humor and human interest are all fundamental building blocks of great content marketing.
For some marketers, going viral is the holy grail of content marketing. It’s easy to see why. You put out content, people organically start sharing it, and it takes off until you’ve racked up millions of views. Millions of brand impressions without a penny in paid promotion. You can’t blame marketers for chasing that particular dragon.
That said, it’s important to get one thing straight: “Going viral” is not a content marketing strategy. It’s a pleasant side effect that can happen with well-crafted content, yes. But the chance of virality is no substitute for well-researched, relevant content amplified to the most relevant audience through organic, paid, and influencer channels.
If you’re planning on going viral to get your content seen, you’re playing the lottery instead of investing in your brand’s future.
However, by happy coincidence, the attributes that give your content viral potential are also hallmarks of great content. Creating shareworthy content as part of your overall strategy is a great idea, whether or not you hit the viral jackpot.
Here are six ways to create great content that just might go viral, complete with examples to inspire you.
#1: Make Data Beautiful
The average person today has more data available to them than anyone has at any other point in history. It’s an ocean of facts, figures, and statistics, and most of us are drowning instead of surfing. If you can take information that’s relevant to a large audience and display it in a beautiful, functional form, you have a good chance at racking up the shares.
Example 1: Infant Sleeping Patterns
This example is from an individual rather than a brand, but it’s too good to leave out. Redditor Andrew Elliot tracked his newborn infant’s sleep patterns for the first four months of her life, then charted the data in a unique circular format. The circle represents a 24-hour clock, with midnight at the top and noon at the bottom. A spiraling line tracks the infant’s sleeping and waking cycles, blue for sleep and orange for awake, starting in the center. Each complete revolution represents a single day.
At a glance, you can see how the early days are chaotic, but by the latter revolutions, the daytime hours are mostly awake and nighttime is mostly asleep. Andrew’s data visualization hit the front page on Reddit, and is still the top rated post in /r/informationisbeautiful, with over 51,000 upvotes.
Example 2: The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People
Not only is the graphic beautiful and informative (and the interactivity is top-notch), it’s relevant to Podio’s potential audience. They help people organize time to be more productive, so someone with an interest in how famous creatives managed their time might also be interested in their solution.
Podio’s nifty visualization picked up over 45,000 shares on Facebook.
#2: Take a Stand
A recent survey of over 1,000 consumers sought to discover what makes people form an emotional connection with a brand. The top two reasons people connected with a brand were:
- I feel like they care about people like me.
- I feel like they are making a positive difference in the world.
If we want to make an emotional connection with our audience—and who doesn’t—it’s important to think beyond the product-pain point interaction. Content that takes a stand on an important issue covers both of the two reasons above, and definitely has viral potential.
Example 1: REI, #OptOutside
In 2015, sporting goods retailer REI created a viral marketing campaign by doing something truly unexpected: Closing its doors on the busiest retail day of the year. The…