1: When you’re trying to achieve viral success with something, it starts with what that something is.
If it’s a blog post like other blog posts, or a boring video, or a generic image, or a tired infographic, it’s simply not going to achieve the shares necessary for real viral content. If you have a piece of content that’s interesting but not amazing, you don’t have a viral hit on your hands. Keep in mind that “amazing” in this context doesn’t mean epic, or huge, or even well-produced. “Amazing” means someone likes it enough to attach their own name to it when they share it with their friends. People love to be the discoverers of things their circles will like.
(You can fake something going viral by throwing money at it. The visual difference between ads and content on the internet is very small. But that’s a subject for another post.)
2: To know if something is amazing, you have to be amazed first.
If it doesn’t appeal to you or your friends, it’s unlikely to appeal to anyone else. Try to recognize your own biases… your toddler’s attempts to say big words might be hilarious to your own family, but fall flat in front of strangers.
3: Don’t alienate the media.
If you’re sending links to your favorite websites, tailor your presentation. If it’s a tech website, don’t talk about how your video shows some great examples of wedding dresses, talk up the tech! Sure, amazing content can go viral on its own, but those established media properties can really help it along.
4: Build your own brand.
Much viral content seems to come out of nowhere. But much viral content doesn’t. It comes from the people and organizations who are focused and dedicated to creating regular work that people like. With each success, the next success becomes that much easier.