The Secret to Creating Viral Content

What is Viral Content?

In today’s content marketing landscape, writing viral content for your company is integral to your success. But what is viral content? It’s a word bandied about so frequently, but what truly makes content stick, and circulate rapidly from one web user to another? Viral content is compelling, and it comes in many forms. Viral content spreads across social networks like a virus, as people continuously share it with their friends.

A piece of viral content possesses those traits that demand to be shared: specifically, it should be impactful. Neil Patel summarizes Aristotle’s concept of the three principles of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. A viral piece of content should either:

  • Contain some form of ethical petition
  • Appeal to your audience’s emotions
  • Possess a request that is justifiable and logical

Creating viral content means arousing emotions in your readers, giving useful advice, and often striking a positive note. However, viral content isn’t a simple concept. While there are techniques for how to write viral content, it can be difficult to predict whether a piece of content will take off or not. However, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of having widely-shared brand content. Our guide will walk you through viral content marketing: how it works, how to create it, how to tap into your readers’ emotions, and more. Learn how virality works and the secret to creating it for your company.

What Makes Content Go Viral?

How do content creators across the Internet manage to create viral content? This question has frequently been asked in the past, and Berger and Milkman performed a study in 2015, analyzing hundreds of New York Times articles for virality. They found that:

  • In general, positive content is more viral than negative content.
  • Positive content that arouses surprise, amusement and awe is more commonly shared than other types of positive content
  • Negative content that evokes anger and anxiety is more frequently shared.
  • People share content for many reasons, including as a chance to raise their social status, to get something back, and to help other people

These results about viral content are still relevant today. People share content because it brings out emotions in them and they want to allow others to experience the same feelings. Viral content marketing is about producing content that challenges the norm, which captivates and persuades.

If you want to get people to share your content socially, you want to arouse their emotions, either positively or negatively. The more stimulated they are, the more likely they are to share your content. Content that doesn’t inspire emotional provocation, or inspires low arousal, such as sadness, doesn’t have the same viral potential.

How Can I Create Viral Content?

Now comes the most crucial step: applying viral content creation to your business. How do you write viral content that connects with readers? There are several important steps to consider when beginning to create content:

  • Determine the best medium for your content. What topic are you covering, and who is the intended audience? Is the content piece best suited for a video, infographic, or article format? While most viral content is still written, videos, infographics, and new alternative content formats are breaking into audience’s minds. Experimenting with the latest content types can be a boon, yielding additional shares on social media.
  • Headlines are vital—test your article title in tools like to determine the best title for your piece of viral content
  • Understand the importance of visual content. Whether you’re creating a video, written piece, or infographic, images are vital to the virality of your content. Choose them carefully, creating original graphics if necessary.
  • Gather as much data as possible from your site and social media accounts. The more you post, the better you’ll be able to ascertain which post types are popular and determine trends you can use in the future. Creating viral content is about knowing what your customers enjoy reading, watching, or listening to.
  • Build links in intelligent ways. Develop relationships with popular websites, and your content will get linked back to. This process can help boost virality.
  • Write about practical topics. While viral content marketing that taps into high emotions is talked about most often, practicality is another essential element of viral content. People love sharing an article about something they need in their life, something helpful or necessary.

Creating viral content is all about utilizing your customers’ emotion potential, determining what they’ll best enjoy and share with their friends and coworkers. Follow these tips, and you can be on your way to becoming an expert in viral content marketing.


The Leverage Marketing content team knows all about creating viral content. Learn more about our content marketing services and find out what Leverage can do for you. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest in digital marketing.

Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter

Digital Content Specialist at Leverage Marketing
Reuven is a content specialist at Leverage Marketing in Austin, TX. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with his B.A. in English and Women and Gender Studies, Reuven spent some time in I.T. before moving to Austin and starting his career in content marketing. When he’s not working, Reuven cooks, takes his dog all over Austin, reads voraciously, and is an avid watcher of odd TV
Reuven Shechter
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