9 Secrets to Creating Killer Content That Goes Viral

A study by the Journal of Marketing Research found that content that elicited the emotions of awe, surprise or anger was 28% more likely to go viral.

Content that goes viral online achieves a higher level of awareness amongst an audience. It gets more shared and talked about than its contemporaries, prompting more engaging conversations around it and propelling its creator into the limelight. 

If you’re a business looking to gain traction online, we’re divulging some secrets to creating killer content that goes viral to help you positively grow your outreach. 

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9 secrets to creating Killer Content that goes viral

Secrets to Creating Killer Content That Goes Viral

Going viral gives an extraordinary reach to you and your content. People who may not even know about your brand could potentially see your content and be interested in what you have to say. You gain credibility as a brand simply because you’re everywhere now.

People are more trusting of you. By getting organic shares, you get to save on marketing efforts and budget. Big brands have been acing it with viral content online, be it Grammarly with its Twitter campaign that highlighted common grammar mistakes or Hubspot’s inbound marketing content that it offered for free.

With a bit of planning and targeted efforts, you can do it too. Here are some secrets to getting it right:

1. Know your audience

Many brands have the false idea that anything can go viral. That is not the case, things that resonate with people go viral. To have your content resonate with your audience, you need to know your audience first.

There are many ways to interact with your audience that informs you of their likes, dislikes and interests such as social media and email marketing. 

A detailed guide on how to use targeted email marketing will tell you to conduct meaningful conversations with your audience based on where they stand in the sales funnel. Some other ways to do it include:

  1. Conduct surveys or polls — They can be easily integrated into your targeted emails or social media posts and ask the audience a specific question that reveals information about their preferences.
  2. Analyze social media engagement — This helps reveal the patterns and likeliness of different user groups to interact with the kind of posts. You want to create content that gets the most engagement.
  3. Create buyer personas — A tried and tested way to understand your audience is to create their personas from scratch. It helps you understand your audience’s pain points and what resonates with them.
  4. Study competitor’s content — Learn from what your competitors are doing correctly to incorporate it into yours. View their content as a viewer and see what clicks with you.

2. Tell a story

Tell a Story That Goes Viral

The trick to creating engaging content and creating a compelling story around your brand and telling it over and over again. Toms is an excellent example of this as the owner of the brand was inspired by the misery of children in Argentina not having shoes. It not only became his motivation to start the brand, but most of its initiatives harken back to the noble idea.

Here are some tips to help you craft a compelling story for your brand:

  • Create relatable characters that people find themselves in and can get behind their actions.
  • Establish a clear plot and conflict that resonates with people’s struggles in life.
  • Use sensory details to paint a picture. Highlight the highs and lows with vivid detail so they stick with your audience.
  • Incorporate a surprise twist or resolution that could be a pleasant surprise for your audience and become a talking point. This gives you the clear potential to go viral.

3. Make it visually appealing

Visual appealing viral content

Glow Recipe is a skincare brand that went viral in 2021 for how its face serum gave an instant glow to the face upon application. 

People on TikTok were sharing videos of themselves attaining the instant glow and relishing in it.

Visually appealing content such as this attracts the attention of users instantly. High-quality or visually stunning content is more likely to make an impact on users as they can clearly see the effect of the product and be willing to try it for themselves.

Here are some tips for incorporating visuals into your content:

  • Use high-quality images or videos the way Glow Recipe does in its content.
  • Incorporate eye-catching graphics or animations to spice up the content.
  • Use colors and fonts to enhance readability and branding. You may even pick some fonts and colors as your go-to options as they will help users identify your brand better in the future.
  • Use whitespace to improve the overall design and make it more pleasing to the eye.

4. Create emotional resonance

Creating emotional resonance helps you form a connection with your audience that you can bank on to create potential future exchanges.

Many companies use humor to create a positive emotional response. Funny videos are widely shared and positively received. Many tell stories that evoke empathy or compassion

You can also use fear or urgency to create a sense of importance for say, a sale that is about to end. The use of nostalgia, on the other hand, helps create a sense of familiarity and comfort that lulls the user into engaging with you.

6. Make it shareable

Make your content shareable to go Viral

You simply cannot go viral if people cannot share your videos. Every social media platform has its own mechanism for sharing content. You need to make sure that the content you create fits that mold when it’s shared around

For example, put an eye-catching thumbnail on your video instead of the first frame, so that people immediately know what to expect. Here are some more tips to optimize your content and make it prime for sharing:

  • Create precise but attention-grabbing headlines and descriptions.
  • Add social media buttons to your content to make it easier for people to share.
  • Encourage sharing with calls to action.
  • Time your content for optimal engagement by sharing it in time zones that witness the most activity of users. It varies for every geographical region.

Another pro tip that is often overlooked but can bring in a ton of new shares and followers to your platform is video translation. Sure, it’s nice to be famous locally but imagine what you could do with a simple online video translator that can translate your content to millions of viewers who don’t speak (but/or wish to learn) your language. It will open a whole new world of opportunities!

7. Provide value through your content

Content that truly shines provides real value to your audience. Rare Beauty is a makeup brand by musician Selena Gomez that constantly shares content that educates people on how to apply different makeup items along with pairing them, many times the videos/pictures feature Selena herself.

Such content is widely shared primarily because it’s informative and teaches people something. You can also create such content by conducting research through social media, forums, and customer feedback.

See what people are looking for and provide them with the answers through your content. Use keyword research tools to identify frequently searched questions or analyze competitor content for information gaps.

Provide the information they aren’t providing and make it detailed and actionable advice. Use real-life examples to illustrate your points the way Rare Beauty does by having the owner herself demonstrate makeup. Encourage feedback and discussion in the comments section as it will help you improve the content in the future.

8. Keep it concise

Although data suggests that longer content is 76.8% more likely to go viral, you must differentiate between vague and vapid and long but concise and to the point. Your content can be long if that’s what the topic at hand requires, but make sure to keep it succinct and engaging.

Here are some tips for crafting concise content:

  • Focus on one main idea or message per content piece.
  • Use strong, active verbs to convey your message.
  • Use visual aids to supplement your message and make the piece engaging.
  • Edit and revise every post to delete redundant or repeating points.
  • Test your content with a focus group or beta readers if you can.

9. Be unique

Be unique to go Viral

This is admittedly a challenging task as brands are constantly clamoring to do something out of the box. 

However, you can certainly find new and exciting content opportunities with your products if you’re constantly on the lookout for a new angle or perspective.

Another way to imbue uniqueness is to incorporate your personality or voice in the content you create. This is something celebrity brands often do, as it instantly helps them set themselves apart. 

Take a look at what your competitors are doing and try to stand apart from them. Don’t fear taking risks with formats and ideas as that is where the true potential to go viral lies. At worst, it may not work, but if it does, you’re golden.

Test and refine your content

Lastly, keep measuring the performance of your content to understand how it’s performing with your target audience and how it can be improved as you move forward. Here are some ways to measure the success of your content:

  1. Analyze metrics — Metrics such as views, likes, and shares let you know that people are seeing your content and sharing it around organically. 
  2. A/B testing — It helps you compare different versions of your content to know what works better and should be done more.
  3. Feedback — Inviting direct feedback from your audience will allow you to make adjustments based on their input. It becomes another point of marketing as you can proudly say that we made these changes as you asked for them.

Create content that resonates with your audience to go viral like wildfire

Content goes viral overnight but viral campaigns do not happen overnight. You need to have a firm understanding of what your audience wants to see to create such content. Create content that is visually stunning but also emotionally resonant to connect with users.

Provide value so that users come back to your content over and over. Make sure it’s easily shareable by keeping it concise. 

Finally, keep experimenting to see what sticks with your audience and what needs to change. It helps you keep yourself relevant and grow organically.


What is viral content?
Viral content refers to online material, like articles, videos, or memes, that gains rapid and widespread popularity through internet sharing.

How can content go viral?
Content goes viral primarily through social sharing, where it resonates strongly with audiences, encouraging them to share it with their networks.

What are the key characteristics of viral content?
Viral content often features elements like humor, relatability, surprise, high emotional value, and sometimes an element of controversy.

How important is the platform in making content viral?
The platform is crucial as it affects the content’s reach and engagement. Different platforms cater to different audiences and content formats.

Can viral content benefit a brand or business?
Yes, viral content can significantly benefit a brand or business by increasing brand awareness, reach, and potentially leading to higher sales or conversions.

How can one measure the success of viral content?
The success of viral content can be measured by metrics like the number of shares, comments, likes, views, and the rate of audience growth.

Is it possible to predict if content will go viral?
Predicting viral content is challenging due to the unpredictable nature of audience preferences and internet trends, but studying current trends and audience behavior can help.

What role do influencers play in making content go viral?
Influencers can play a significant role due to their large followings; their sharing of content can greatly increase its visibility and chances of going viral.

How can viral content impact public opinion or trends?
Viral content can significantly impact public opinion and trends by spreading rapidly and influencing the views and behaviors of large audiences.

What risks are associated with trying to create viral content?
Risks include the potential for negative reception, misinterpretation, or backlash, which can harm a brand or individual’s reputation.

Can any type of content go viral, or are certain types more likely to?
Certain types of content, like those that evoke strong emotions, are humorous, or highly relatable, are more likely to go viral than others.

How does the timing of posting affect the virality of content?
Timing is crucial; posting when the target audience is most active increases visibility and the likelihood of content going viral.

What role does SEO play in making content viral?
SEO can enhance the discoverability of content on search engines, indirectly aiding in virality, especially if the content ranks for trending keywords.

How can data analytics be used to create viral content?
Data analytics can identify trends, audience preferences, and engagement patterns, helping creators tailor content with higher viral potential.

Is it possible to replicate the success of viral content?
While replicating the exact success of viral content is unpredictable, learning from successful elements can increase the chances of future content going viral.

How does the social sharing feature on a website contribute to content virality?
Social sharing features make it easier for viewers to share content with their networks, significantly boosting its potential to go viral.

What is the impact of viral content on a website’s traffic?
Viral content can lead to a massive spike in website traffic, often in a very short timeframe, which can be both beneficial and challenging to manage.

How do user-generated content and virality relate to each other?
User-generated content often has a higher chance of going viral due to its authenticity, relatability, and unique perspectives.

What are the ethical considerations in creating viral content?
Ethical considerations include avoiding misinformation, respecting privacy, and ensuring content doesn’t harm or offend audiences.

How important is audience engagement in content becoming viral?
Audience engagement is crucial; high levels of interaction (likes, comments, shares) signal platforms to promote the content more, aiding its virality.

Author bio

Atreyee Chowdhury Atreyee Chowdhury is a freelance content writer with more than 10+ years of professional experience. She’s passionate about helping SMBs and enterprises achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She loves to read, travel, and experiment with different cuisines in her free time. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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