viral content

Online or social mediums are abuzz with viral content that has gone on overdrive. The content you might be reading currently on your mobile device, tablet, or on your laptop could very well be viral. This raises the question, why do some content gets shared so much and go viral? Simple theory to this question: Viral posts are outliers, and there is no magic formula to go viral.

Viral content has their insights and there is a takeaway from it to improve our shareability and engagement of our content that we have learned from it. In this blog, we have tried to break down why viral content became viral in the first place. It also spells out the vital, viral, and emotional elements that you need to take care of in your content to improve shareability.

Related: Make Your Business Shareworthy With Viral Tactics

Viral Posts are Insightful Outliers:

Lets us get one thing right, to begin with. A viral post is not the norm. There are fewer and fewer posts as the numbers of shares increase.  Remember that even the best sites cannot consistently replicate the success of their top posts. The top sites have a lot of steady performing content and a few huge hits. The top post gets almost double the shares of the third most shared post. You can see a pattern or a trend here.

Excluding international celebrities, all the viral posts are exceptional. Let’s get straight to the point and as ourselves how to make content viral?


1. Surprise People (Facts & Images):

If you have noticed, people like to share content such as facts, figures, and images that can amaze and surprise. People also love to share new research and trends, particularly if they challenge current perceptions.

Viral elements: Surprising ad exciting content backed by research, provocative titles, and easy to scan formats.

2. Leverage a Trend:

The trend is our companion. Including or commenting on, in-vogue topics in the content can increase engagement with your audience. Demonstrating the fact that viral posts are outliers, some posts get almost five times the shares of the other popular articles.

Viral elements: Though content about a popular trend or topic clicks, there is no guarantee it always does.

3. Inspire People:

Having inspirational quotes in your content or including images with inspiring text, are a very popular form of content on the internet. Inspiring content can take many forms but there seems to be no shortage of appetite for inspirational quotes.

Viral elements: Inspirational quotes, curated content, and easily scannable list format or posts do wonders to shareability.

4. Producing Stunning picture list posts:

Earlier in the post, we identified picture list posts as an ideal format for viral content. Images are a very powerful tool on the internet and picture list posts enhance this power with the shareability of curation and list posts. For eg., A list post with beautiful images appeals to the people who share a passion for travel and adventure.

Product posts

Images necessarily need not be beautiful. Even ugly images can also do the trick and that can be attributed to the surprise element.

Viral elements:  Visually rich posts with awe-inspiring graphics, and curated list posts.

5. Utilize cute animals & babies for instant shareability:

Yes, You read it right. Cute animals and babies have the makings of very shareable posts for the cuteness quotient it brings to the posts.

Viral elements: Cats, dogs, pets, and babies as it invokes the emotional element in a user and prompts them to share the post.

Viral posts

6. Be Amusing:

People generally love to share entertaining content. A study by the New York Times found one of the most common reasons people share content is to bring valuable entertaining content to other friends. Make them laugh, and you are on your way to going viral. People sharing amusing videos are a fast-growing format on Facebook.

Viral elements: Amusing posts and videos.

7. Courting controversy:

Controversy engages people though it carries a level of risk. Controversial posts are divisive, most of the times. However, people often share to be part of a tribe subscribing to a particular view and to show their loyalty or belonging.

Viral elements: Controversial opinions about trending topics. Find the tribe that is big enough to make you go viral.

Final Thought

In conclusion, there is no formula for going viral and there is no clarity about what ignites a post and provokes significant sharing. This is not a comprehensive list that we have compiled, just a way of thinking about the elements.

A viral post is likely to combine some elements. In our understanding, we have found out that there are four elements of shareable content. i.e. 1) Emotional Content, 2) Content Element, 3) Topic Element and 4) Format element. These are the different elements that contribute to the shareability of viral content. Thus when creating content you can ask yourself:

  • Does the content have an emotional element?
  • Does the post include shareable content types, such as facts, images, and quotes?
  • Is the topic one that resonates with your audience? Is it trending?
  • Is the format one that works well with your audiences, such as practical tips or a quiz?

Related: Create Viral Content with AI