12 Principles of Viral Content

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viral content
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Edgy Labs covers the Vengage and Hubspot presentation by Nadya Khoja that offers 12 ways to create viral content.

What is viral content?

Viral content is any piece of media that achieves sudden, logistic growth online.

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Marketer of the Year startup TKM Labs, Tri Nguyen, explained in an interview with Edgy Labs that users and business alike are competing for growing markets with increasingly limited attention spans.

Viral doesn’t happen organically anymore,” he insists.

'Viral (content) doesn’t happen organically anymore,' Tri Nguyen - EL interviewClick To Tweet

How can I create viral content?

  1. Solve a burning problem or provide new answers to existing questions: Find out the problems your target “buyer persona” is facing – use those problems to discover stories of success surrounding your brand.
  2. Find hacks to common struggles:
    Identify a common task we’re all familiar with (i.e: folding laundry)Offer a structured and simplified way of completing this task (ie: Japanese style shirt folding)
  3. Bust a Myth: This creates controversy, debate, shares, recognition, and opportunities for learning.
  4. Challenge the Status Quo: More confrontational, creates shock value, can create and sustain movements (ie: tinyhouses and minimalism).
  5. Reframe the Question:
    Identify what the question is
    Use a new angle
  6. Bring in a New Perspective: Differentiate your piece by bringing in contrasting lenses (ie: CEOs vs. athletes)
  7. Mashup Principle: Seemingly unrelated topics discussed in the same arena
    Evergreen theme + Trending topic(ie: SEO and Harry Potter)
  8. Go Outside of Your Immediate Field: Create content that reaches outside of your immediate business clients
  9. Find niches and subcultures: subcultures engage people and can create waves of active site participation (ie: Reddit, Game of Thrones, RuPaul Drag Race).
  10. Explore and envision origin stories: Use timeline infographics and investigate the origins ofSpecific fields of interest
    Industries and companies
    Influential people
  11. Envision the before and after state: Create a checklist to promote customer value optimization (CVO).
  12. Include a reason to share:
    Ask yourself “Will this help someone better express themselves?”
    Ask yourself “Do we have great success stories?”
    Engage with your audience – Don’t broadcast (ie: Wendy’s and Gordon Ramsay do this very well through Twitter – they provide constant engagement for their fans

Can Viral Content Really Help my Business?

Yes, creating viral content can propel your business forward.

For example, U.S. President Donald Trump received around $2 billion USD in free advertising for his Presidential campaign from social media engagement.

Be wary, however. Historically, the larger the business the more difficult viral content is to control.

Mountain Dew: Kickstarter’s super bowl commercial backfired severely when they crossed the line between relatable and disturbing with their “puppymonkeybaby” campaign.

Venable social media white papers suggest the best protection against failed campaigns is “truthful and accurate” representations of the brand’s relationships, significance, and performance.

Edgy Labs further suggests closely studying (or even testing) your target “buyer persona” before releasing content.

What examples of viral content have you seen business owners use to their advantage?

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