The Secret to Going Viral

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer, Sonnhalter

You’ve probably heard the word “viral” in relation to online marketing before. If you’re not quite sure what it means, here’s a very brief definition:

Vi-ral:

Adjective

: becoming very popular by circulating from person to person, specifically on the internet.

If something “goes viral” that means it has been shared a great number of times; there is no threshold number of shares to be reached before something can be considered viral, but in general you know when something has gone viral by the way it is talked about.

So here’s the secret to going viral:

The one aspect that every viral thing has in common is that it is a quality piece of content that resonates with your audience. Content that goes viral is often in the form of blog posts, pictures or videos.

Content can resonate with your audience in many ways, most of the time viral content resonates through humor. Content that is controversial or sparks a debate, as well as timely, helpful information will also resonate.

In our industry, content doesn’t often achieve viral status, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t resonated, sparked conversation or been effective.

As marketers, we cannot make content become viral. Content can only be made viral by your audience(s) – they have the power. Marketers and brands do not have the power to make anything viral.

Image via Scott Cresswell

Image via Scott Cresswell

If you’re disappointed that you know the secret to viral but can’t do anything about it, don’t lose heart!

The goal in any marketing initiative should not be creating viral content; it should be on creating quality content.

Marketers and brands have the power to create quality content that will resonate with audiences. If that content goes viral, then that is just a happy side effect.

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