How and Why Content Goes Viral

How and Why Content Goes Viral

At K2 Analytics we often come across the same kinds of questions and concerns regarding viral content. What is viral content, how do posts and articles go viral? Is there a secret formula that can explain why content goes viral?

This is understandable because nothing could be better for business than a piece of content about you or that you produced that goes viral and spreads across the internet to the farthest corners of the world. So what exactly is it  and what can you do to help give your posts the extra boost that they will likely need to go viral?

What Is Viral Content

Essentially viral content is any piece of writing, visual, or social media post that spreads organically to the vast expanses of the internet as masses of people share it on social media, blogs, and articles. While there is no exact number that you can place as a metric to define when a piece of content goes viral, you can pretty much say that something goes viral when the post goes through the life-cycle of: coverage, social sharing, and eventually syndication. More on those in a second, but essentially a post must be created, get attention from the media, shared across social media, and eventually reposted and shared by high-domain authority publications.

How Content Goes Viral

As mentioned, there is a life cycle that content that has successfully gone viral will live. That life cycle begins with a lot of coverage, goes through the social media sharing stage, and ultimately ends with the content becoming syndicated by other mediums.

While this is less of a science and more of an art, the components that you will need your content to cover will be that it is:

  • Highly emotional
  • Has a wide appeal
  • Comparative in nature
  • Relevant to pop culture or trending memes.

Strategic Media Coverage

Creating an incredible piece of content on social media and waiting for it to go viral without doing anything to get the ball rolling is a shot in the dark, especially when you are limited in the amount of reach that you have on social media.

Having a strategic media plan in place to help your content go viral will help you work smarter, not harder. Thanks to the way that content marketing drives business these days with views, likes, and shares on social media and blog articles directly correlating to revenue, there are always publications out there looking for content that could potentially go viral. By having a network of publications with more reach than you, you can strategically place content to help get it in front of more eyeballs.

Social Sharing

Once a publication has picked up your story, more people will find it online and that is when you see posts get shared over and over again on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and just about every platform around.

You gave your post a pre-fabricated spark but once it reaches this level it’s more of a wildfire that can either go on for days, weeks, or months… Sometime’s if the content is evergreen it may never go away.

Syndication

Finally, the last stage of the viral content lifecycle is that of syndication. Large publications with high-domain authority love a viral story that touched on all of the points that we mentioned: emotions, appeal, comparative, and trendy. Once they notice a piece of content on their radar it’s only a matter of time until they reach out to you for permission to share the content directly on their site. This is great for you because this is where your content gets its last boost from.