Five Tips for Creating Viral Content

In his book The Tipping Point, journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell writes about the forces that cause brands to go viral.  Epidemiologists use the term ”tipping point” to refer to the moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass. The interesting thing about this book however, is that it never really answers the essential question for any marketer: How do I make something tip?

Particularly now, when content is KING and creating viral content is…well…bigger than KING, is it possible to create content that you know, in advance, will become viral? In my humble opinion, the answer is no.

Here’s a purrfect example. The Surprised Kitty video. It’s ridiculously adorable and I myself have watched it now about 4 times (for work, of course). Originally published on YouTube in 2009, this video has been viewed by 71 million people and liked by over 300,000 to date.

How did this happen?

The answer is content. Create compelling content, and you are, at the very least, set up to go viral. Did rozzzafly who posted the Surprised Kitty video know if would be picked up by the media, featured on Tosh.0 and roll in the opening credits of this summer’s We Are the Millers movie? Who knows? But it has all the hallmarks of potentially viral content.

1)    Brevity Is the Soul of Wit – Keep it brief, people. Nobody has free time anymore. Not even babies. They’re too busy being filmed by their parents for YouTube videos or appearing in E*Trade spots.

2)    Get All Emotional – Break their hearts, show some flesh, make’em laugh. And well pretty much anything with a cute baby animal could go viral.

3)    Share-worthy – With all the tools we literally have in our hands to create share-worthy content, there is no excuse for not spreading the word through our many social networks.

4)    Get an Assist – Reach out to your network and ask for help sharing your content. According to Twitter, one of the most effective calls-to-action in a campaign is simply asking for a Retweet.

5)    Warning Graphic Content – HubSpot affirms visual content adds dimension, encourages engagement and expresses your personality. So don’t just tell, show great content.

Please RT!

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