Articles, Songs and Videos go viral every second of everyday. Here are 3 simple ways to breakdown why content goes viral on the internet.
Today's general population is consistently bombarded by media messaging on their television, pandora stations, social media channels...the list goes on. Advertising has seeped into every crevice of our brains, Facebook has become an institution- acting as the carrier pigeon between old and new friends and our photo album for all of our latest adventures, Twitter has become the best friend we tell our secrets to and Youtube continues to act as the Jester- providing us endless entertainment about anything and everything. But why?
In a recent talk for TEDtalks, a series of enlightened converstations about current ideas and topics, Youtube's very own Trends Manager (Yes, this position is legitimate, and very necessary) Kevin Allocca, discusses viral content on the internet. The term Viral Content is not all that unfamiliar to most of us, but what Kevin addresses goes beyond so much as What it is, but further - Why Viral Content goes...well, viral.
Kevin breaks it down into three simple, intuitive categories. Obviously these mainly apply to youtube's web content, but in analyzing a little further, these characteristics are succinct across multiple content mediums (i.e. articles, blog posts, ineractive, etc) Below are his three must-have Viral Content attributes:
Tastemakers are the pioneers behind the popularity of your content. If we were referring to the common saying in the marketing industry, "content is king", than Tastemakers would be a God of sorts. These figures of higher influence shed light onto your content and share it with their exisitng and much broader network. Often times, tastemaker recognition is unexpected, just as the virality of your content is.
The best tip to get noticed- expand your network and web presence, or as we would say Make your Presence Known.
EXAMPLE: Our team does this often when a new project is launched by growing the social audience and growing anticipation of the new project before it goes live. You may not yet be a 'tastemaker', but if you have a growing network online, then you're one step closer to having the ability to go viral.
Sharing is an action where anyone can project their inner most thoughts, feelings, personality etc. When sharing content with hopes of going viral, it's vital that you share something that will generate conversation. Originality, relatability, humor, and cool factor are all elements that lead viewers to want to participate. Response videos, sharing and remixes are all examples of how even the act of participation can get your ideas noticed.
One tip - call to actions that are simple and easy, requiring little effort or money, aid the sharing or participation of youth who can be among the most powerful audiences.
EXAMPLE: Consider the success of the Kony 2012 video because of their participation, or the lack of success of the 99% movement because there was no clear call to action or ways to support.
It may seem pretty obvious, but viral content takes off because of the simple factors that fall in step alongside timing and relevance. Just as important in advertising - Timing is everything. Virality is determined by how it relates to specific events in time. It's not necessarily about the date and time you posted it, but when and how it can relate to instances in society that people can identify with.
Best tip for timing - identify any trends leaning toward good timing for your content and opportunities to grasp more attention because of the trend.
EXAMPLE: Superbowl 2012 ads saw videos with cats on Youtube as the most frequently watched material behind funny things babies do - so smart advertisers implemented either pets or babies in their ads, making them the top viral ads of 2012. So ads that would typically have only the Superbowl audience, now tripled their value by going viral online.
So what does this mean for us? As thriving business owners in a highly populated city with constant traffic and activity, how do we spread our expert ideas and content with the world - and most importantly, generate a growing conversation?
In today's society, as Kevin says, you can go viral on the web in a matter of days. The three chacterstics he gives us are all common denominators when it comes to Viral Content, but actually putting these into action remains a ongoing deliema. Afterall, Virality, along with all the other great feats in your life - landing your dream job, falling in love etc cannot be forced.
Mix up these attributes and there you have it - the recipe for virality. You may not be the next Rebecca Black, or Double Rainbow guy, but you'll have a passionate and active audience in your web content conversations!
Interested in hearing Kevin Allocca's full talk on Why content goes Viral? Check it out here: TEDtalks