Forgot your password?

The Anatomy of Viral Content

By Edited Nov 26, 2015 61 47

7 Steps to Making Viral Content

If you are a writer or a web entrepreneur, there is nothing more exciting than having your content go viral.  While writing an article chock-full of information seems like it may be enough to make your content whirl wind around the Internet on Facebook, Digg, Twitter and other blogs, it is typically not enough.  While great content is a start, it is only the base of a viral piece of content. In this article I will go over a number of characteristics that most viral content tends to embody.

Amazing Content

Share Keyboard Button

The base to every piece of viral content is and always will be amazing content.  Typically this content needs to fall into one of a few categories to go viral:

  • Draw extreme emotion from the reader
  • Extremely hilarious
  • Make the user think or say 'WOW
  • Amazing resource

If your article does not fall into one of these categories chances are it won't get passed around because it most likely isn't interesting enough to become viral.

To draw emotion from a user, you can create any type of content that makes people genuinely feel.  Anything from something terribly sad, to a success story of such great magnitude that it makes you feel like a better person just for reading it.  If you want to play off people's emotions, run it by a few sensitive people, and if you don't get a reaction, you probably aren't going to make this content travel the Internet at lightning speed.

Humor is a pretty obvious one.  While not everybody is funny, most everybody has a sense of humor.  In order to go viral on humor you are going to need some very original content.  Keep your camcorder and camera ready at all times and keep your eyes peeled for situations that could turn funny in a hurry.  Often a series of pictures or videos can go viral with next to no other content, so you might not need one thousand words to get your point across because as you know… sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Next, we have the wow factor.  When I think of the 'Wow' factor I immediately think of Jackass the movie and some of the crazy stunts these people have performed.  Broken bones, fights, amazing goals in sports and things you just don't see every day fall into this category.  If you read an article and by the time you are finished you are thinking holy crap, I need to post this on Facebook, you've probably just read a piece of 'Wow' content.

Finally, we have resource articles.  These are pieces of content that are designed to be a resource on a specific type of content.  Examples of such an article would be 152 Ways to Save the Environment, or 15 Biggest Dinosaurs to Walk This Earth.  While these don't tend to get as viral as the other three, they tend to gather amazing links from related web sites.  The end results is awesome search engine rankings.  These articles tend to be much longer than your standard piece of viral content and often use citations to back up the information.


Make a list

To Do List(53595)

The next step to making a highly successful piece of viral content is to use the list format.  While this is not the only type of media that goes viral, if you are new to creating viral content you will quickly learn that people love to read lists.  Lists are easy to digest and if you build them from last to first, build anticipation of what the #1 list item might be.  

If you want to improve your chances of creating a successful resource top list, I would highly recommend making your list larger than a top 10 list.  


Use Images


No matter how good of a writer you are, nothing makes you look more amateur than having a gigantic blob of text with no images to break things up.  Not only do images give readers something to look at while reading, it also breaks your article up and makes everything much easier on the eyes.

The number one thing people do wrong when using images is they don't use uniform widths.  If the height of your images vary slightly, that isn't a big deal, but make sure that your images are all the same width so it doesn't look like a five year old formatted your article.  If you need to get images, check out morguefile, they have copyright free images you can use to spruce up your article.


Use Video

Example of a viral video

So you've got your list, you've got your images all uniform, but you want to take your content one step further.  If your topic is suitable, why not add a video for each point.  If you are creating the 20 best recipes for Valentines Day Cupcakes, try to find recipe videos for each of the recipes you have in your article. These extra videos  make your article that much more valuable because not only do they get to read how to make these cupcakes, they also get to see a picture and a step by step instructional video.   


Use Headings

Row Of Heads

Another big mistake I see when people are making lists, is they fail to use headings for each point.  Headings are another great way to break up your content and make it easier for the reader to digest the information. Not only that, search engines will pay attention to these headings and hopefully land you more search traffic for those keywords.


Network your Brains Out

People Networking

The final step to making viral content is often the most difficult, networking.  If your web site has minimal traffic, your viral article is only as viral as your most connected friend.  I highly suggest diving into the social media arena and trying to befriend a few highly successful people.  When you create something you are proud of, make sure to share it with them, if they find it as amazing as you think it is, they will most likely share it with their friends and colleagues.  If you don't socialize with people in the social media click, you are going to have a hard time getting something passed around.  

A great place to start is Twitter! Pick a couple of people that you think would be good to know and try to get them on instant messenger or Facebook.  Slowly get to know them and pick their brains for tips and tricks.  


Don't Solicit Votes

No Soliciting(53599)

I'm going to close this one out by telling you to go against your normal intuition to ask people to vote for your content.  Send the content to your peers and if they think it is good, they will share it on their own.  Soliciting votes is against the TOS of just about every social site out there, so to stay on the safe side, I would avoid it at all costs.  If your content is good enough, people will share it.

A Book Worth Reading

Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You.
Amazon Price: $14.99 $3.81 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 26, 2015)
If you want to take your content marketing to the next level you owe it to yourself to read Seth Godin's "Unleashing the Ideavirus".


Jul 12, 2011 11:10pm
Good Article once again!
Jul 14, 2011 9:48am
Awesome info! Thanks for the great tips on making viral content.
Jul 17, 2011 1:35pm
Great shear and good article
Jul 31, 2011 1:28pm
Great article and congrats on making it into the IB Facebook page! The last picture on "No Soliciting" had me laughing - THAT should go viral!
Aug 1, 2011 7:37pm
Nice article! Been here under a week, IB rocks!
Aug 10, 2011 8:47pm
You obviously know more about this computer stuff than I do. thanks.
Oct 7, 2011 9:16pm
Excellent article. I knew most of this stuff, but to see it presented so logically is good. Bookmarked!
Oct 13, 2011 7:58am
Topnotch guide especially to beginners like me. Now to figuring out how to insert video in between text capsules. :D
Oct 21, 2011 12:06pm
Networking...egads...I get it and know it's essential, but wish I had a PR person who could do all of that. Great article.
Oct 26, 2011 9:03am
Great information, and I see where I have been missing the mark in many cases. Thanks for helping get back on the track to success:)
Nov 3, 2011 2:01am
This is just what a newbe wants to know and a vet needs to be reminded of occassionally! You lead by example. Thank youB-)
Nov 3, 2011 10:41pm
Great reminders and nice "heading" art work. Thanks!
Nov 4, 2011 3:40am
These are great suggestions.
Nov 13, 2011 7:54am
This suggestion will surely improve my articles. Im an striving writer hoping to get some tips and these comes at the right time. Thanks a lot.
Dec 6, 2011 6:31pm
Thank you for that article. Great tips to put to good use.
Dec 13, 2011 1:06pm
This great article has inspired me a lot. Thank you!
Dec 13, 2011 11:05pm
Thanks for the information. I like the use of all the options that inforbarrel has to offer. Thanks.
Jan 28, 2012 12:40pm
Thanks for the information about pictures. I have never heard of those sites before.
Feb 1, 2012 5:03pm
Super Informative, thanks a bunch!
Mar 2, 2012 2:43pm
Very helpful, Ryan!
Mar 2, 2012 3:38pm
Well, I just submitted an article now that I'm hoping can go viral. I've been wanting to get an article to go viral for some time now, but haven't had any success yet. Maybe this latest attempt will do the trick.
Mar 12, 2012 1:10pm
Well if you haven't had an article go viral yet JC there is much hope for the rest of us!
Nice article Ryan, timely for me and with lots of useful tips. I also liked the Header artwork.
What are the legalities about importing other peoples stuff from You Tube into your article. You suggested to go and look for some videos that show how to "made the recipes", but are we allowed to go onto you tube, find a cooking video and then import it into your article? Or does that breach copy write and do we all have to become expert video creators as well?
Looking forward to hearing the input about this,
Thanks, Nici xxx
Apr 18, 2012 8:22pm
Very informative article Ryan. It's actually my first time to know about making an article viral.

May 1, 2012 10:46am
Yes, this was quite informative. Thanks for sharing.
May 20, 2012 9:29pm
Very nice and informative article. I think I have couple of them in my bag.
Sep 23, 2012 1:34am
Good ideas... this is a 'must read' article for writers who are new to Infobarrel.
Oct 22, 2012 11:40am
Very helpful if I only could get some ideas to write about!! I realized trying to write for infobarrel that I don't know as much as I thought I did!!! Sure busted my bubble!
Apr 4, 2013 12:09am
Great article full of useful information. Thanks for sharing!
Apr 12, 2013 7:03am
Good information here, thanks for the tips! It's true, no matter how good your story is, no one will read it unless it's presented well.
Apr 25, 2013 7:08am
Great information! Perfect for a newbie like me.
May 29, 2013 10:48pm
Ooh, printing this. Thank you :).
Jul 16, 2013 9:59am
Practical advice. I def. took notes. Thank you!
Jul 31, 2013 1:38am
Great information. Some I did not know and will help me with my writing skills. Thanks
Sep 15, 2013 6:33pm
Nice info I was looking for. Thanks and keep sharing.
Sep 19, 2013 10:38am
Thanks for all the good information and for that hilarious viral video. That made my day.
Jan 7, 2014 10:06am
Good information. Thank you sharing the great ideas.
Mar 1, 2014 4:19pm
Oh, making lists and working on headings is something I need to do. I've never used twitter, either. Word of mouth has always been the best advertising, for me. Humour works, for sure. Thank you for these great tips.
Jun 25, 2014 5:29pm
So much good information! Thank you!
Jul 8, 2014 6:58pm
Thanks for sharing this information.
Aug 7, 2014 2:36pm
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for more great information!
Nov 7, 2014 8:30am
Excellent information! Thank you so much for this article. I now feel I have a base plan to get started.
Dec 15, 2014 10:46pm
Hey great tips on going viral. I'm working on it!
Jan 11, 2015 7:15am
Useful article, I will use some tips here for sure:)
Mar 24, 2015 10:14am
WOW - thanks for the article concise and interesting and very informative and very helpful in climbing the greasy pole of trying to get featured. I love IB:)
Apr 28, 2015 10:38am
Thank you for the helpful information!
Sep 18, 2015 11:09pm
This article is containing very useful informations. Thank you!
Oct 11, 2016 10:32pm
Excellent information. Imbibing these points will help in writing winsome articles. Thanks a lot!
Add a new comment - No HTML
You must be logged in and verified to post a comment. Please log in or sign up to comment.

Explore InfoBarrel

Auto Business & Money Entertainment Environment Health History Home & Garden InfoBarrel University Lifestyle Sports Technology Travel & Places
© Copyright 2008 - 2016 by Hinzie Media Inc. Terms of Service Privacy Policy XML Sitemap

Follow IB Lifestyle