Welcome back to #WPRF viral: a look into how to create shareable content with the potential to go viral. Tune in for valuable information on how you can engage your audience. Want to make your brand stand out in the noisy online world? Every industry can learn to leverage word of mouth and social sharing to spread ideas. It’s important for all of us to determine why audiences share in order to communicate more efficiently and effectively.
Have you ever wondered why certain information gets shared viciously while other messages barely engage anyone? What makes content go viral? Why do people share online?
Viral content is information that spreads rapidly through a large number of people. The process begins when a brand develops its own website, graphic, video, blog or social media post (owned content) in hopes that it will be transmitted peer-to-peer. Users have the ability to share the data globally, amplifying its organic reach. The onus is placed on creating content that motivates and engages audiences to share.
There are a few theories about what makes content go viral. Kevin Allocca (YouTube’s trends manager) believes that tastemakers, communities of participation and unexpectedness have something to do with it.
Before we can create something viral, it’s important to know the characteristics or anatomy of viral content and to understand why people share in the first place. After researching viral content for years, I’ve developed a model based on existing viral marketing theories combined with the unique relationship-building elements of PR. I hope this study opens the door for future research to change how brands communicate online.
The anatomy of viral content can be divided into six factors:
Altruism, Activism, Social Capital, Herd Mentality, Emotions and Storytelling.
You can use the acronym AASHES with two a’s to help you remember.
Altruism: We share to help.
Activism: We are driven by the need to participate in social change.
Social Capital: Leveraging importance, appreciation and game theory will enhance sharing.
Herd Mentality: Our social networks and connections influence our behaviour.
Emotions: Emotions impact social sharing.
Storytelling: We share narratives and personal experiences to participate in and co-create brand stories.
Don’t miss my in-depth look at how altruism makes content go viral. Coming soon!
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Want more proof? Resource list.