In researching this blog post, it became apparent that there are A LOT of opinions out there about the best way to make content go viral.
Some are adamant that all you need to do is follow these ‘simple steps’ and you’re guaranteed a viral hit.
Others are a little more pragmatic and recognise that there is often no telling what is going to capture the world’s attention.
But one thing they all agree on is that there are certain things you can do to greatly improve your chances. So here are five of the best…
1. Refine and commit to your brand personality
To be truly successful, viral content should be unique to its maker. Your voice, your values, your perspective is what will make that viral content uniquely and memorably yours over any other brand’s.
So, before you do anything else, really refine and commit to your brand personality.
A brand personality should be reflective of its target audience, so think about their priorities, behaviours, wants and needs - what do they respond to?
Now use that as the basis for your output.
Because, at the end of the day, you don’t just want to reach as many people as possible for the sake of it – if you did, you could just film a funny video of your cat and be done with it.
You want to reach the people that are actually going to follow through and engage with your brand.
So don’t lose track of who you are and who your audience is in the pursuit of virality.
2. Focus on the platforms that best suit your audience
Your target audience should be your greatest inspiration here – seek out the platforms that they frequent. Don’t make them work to find your content – demonstrate that you value them enough to take it to them.
And, once you’ve pinpointed those platforms, create a consistent campaign across all of them. Optimise the content for each platform individually, whether that means creating versions in different aspect ratios, with or without sound, or with different run lengths.
Making the viewing experience as easy and enjoyable as possible will greatly improve the chances of engagement.
3. Have a strategy
We live in a world that is saturated with content - which makes standing out all the harder.
Your audience’s attention is a precious commodity, so they need to trust that when you release content, it’s going to be worth their time.
One way to ensure that your content has cut-through is to really think about why you’re making it.
Having a strategy means that you avoid making content for the sake of it, and only release content that is meaningful for your audience and purposeful for your brand.
Which is not to say that all content should be planned months, even years, in advance. A spontaneous, responsive piece of content that rides momentum can be hugely effective.
But for the content that is planned, make sure that you’re spending your budget in the most effective way by using it strategically.
4. Think about why audiences share and play to it
There’s a difference between watching and sharing. And viral content gets traction because it’s shared.
So why do we share something?
In short, to make ourselves look good. Whether it’s reflecting our intelligence, our empathy, our sense of humour, our interests… taking a piece of content and sharing it is a public declaration of our thoughts, feelings and values.
Therefore, when making content, it’s important to think about what aspect of it people might want to use as social currency with the valuable people in their network.
When striving for a viral hit, be honest with yourself and ask, ‘would I share this with my network if I had no connection to this brand?’
5. Encourage Interaction
In addition to sharing content, think about other ways that people might engage with it.
Encouraging audience interaction - in the form of comments, likes, UGC, and related tags - can elevate content from being a proclamation to a conversation.
This helps the campaign to feel inclusive, which brings us back to the idea of emotional connections. Everyone wants to feel part of a tribe and if all our peers participate in something, chances are we’ll want to interact with it as well.
So invite comments, encourage interpretations, ask questions, set challenges. Make your content about more than just your brand – make it about your audience as well.
2020 and 2021 have demonstrated how creative we can get given such stringent filming limitations. Casual Films has pivoted to continue to meet our clients' needs even in our new normal. Need to communicate ever-changing strategy? We've got you covered with delightful animations and snappy edits. Absolutely need to show your employees or facilities? Our team is well-versed in all the COVID-safe precautions to make filming in-person both safe and effective. Sound useful? Get in touch with one of our experienced Executive Producers for a test drive...