Despite the overwhelming amount of information available online, some content still manages to stand out, loud and proud, from the rest. Whether it’s adorable, silly, funny or profound, viral content manages to deftly capture attention and persuade readers to click the ‘share’ button.
Harnessing this kind of power is the dream for any copywriter or marketing professional, but it’s by no means easy. So – what makes content contagious?
1. It evokes emotion
Viral content is primarily driven by emotion. If you can trigger a strong emotional response in a reader, they’re far more likely to share something across their social network. Overall, positive content is more contagious than negative content, but it’s not always quite as clear-cut. The strength of the emotion is also important – high-arousal or motivating emotions like awe, extreme amusement and rage beat lower-arousal or ‘deactivating’ emotions like sadness and disgust.
2. It’s novel and interesting
Past research has found that infographics and ‘top ten’ lists are more popular than standard articles, videos, and ‘how to’, ‘what’, and ‘why’ pieces – and that quizzes are the winners by far. Why? Well, quizzes play into our inherent self-interest and give us a chance to interact socially with our friends, define ourselves to others, and express an opinion online. Content that is interactive asks the reader to actively engage and participate, strengthening their connection to a piece.
3. It’s valuable
Content with the best chance of going viral offers value and usefulness to the reader. It might satisfy a reader’s curiosity about a certain subject, for example, by sharing something they didn’t know before. It may dig into a topic in depth; while we’re largely told to be short and succinct when writing for the web, long-form pieces are often shared more than shorter pieces, perhaps because of their greater depth and ability to connect with the reader. Additionally, people generally like content that is practically useful. When considering whether to read and share a piece, they assess what’s in it for them – so it’s crucial to offer them something irresistible.
4. It tells a good story
Traditional marketing techniques focus on the consumer. Marketers may focus on a particular group of ‘special’ customers they deem to be particularly socially influential or relevant to their brand, hoping that their content will filter outwards from there. However, crafting content that is widely contagious may be more important than targeting specific customers. In other words, rather than creating copy to check a box or fulfil a quota, put content first. Virality is a great illustration of the power of storytelling: if you have a good story, and tell it in the right way, the sky’s the limit.
Looking to create content that performs better and captures your audience’s attention? Get in touch now – let’s collaborate!