How to Make Content Go Viral?

9GAG's founder says the trick is being straight and simple
How to Make Content Go Viral?
Image credit: Entrepreneur APAC

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Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific
3 min read

Is there a formula to make content go viral on social media?

Be it the Kiki challenge, the act of dancing after stepping out of a car made popular by Drake’s song “In My Feelings”, which has flooded social media, or last year’s #MeToo movement that became a global campaign within minutes, people’s reactions on social media increases news, a product or brand’s value within seconds.

What makes a piece of content global? Does it just have to do with the presence of famous personalities, or content is the king?

Content is King and Queen

The founder of Hong-Kong based social media website, 9GAG, says the trick is being straight and simple.  According to Ray Chan, the topics for funny videos and memes that are popular on the platform come from the people itself.  When it comes to assessing the most followed topics, Chan says, “The company picks the most common and trending topics for its stories.” He adds, “Topics like World Cup, Game Shows, or anything on animals work best on our website.”

Similarly, Jay Shetty, a digital content influencer who has over 10 million followers on social media and one billion views on his videos, says content should have a connect with audience, in a previous interview with Entrepreneur India. Shetty’s videos are based on people’s day-to-day problems, which makes then popular with everyone. In the World Wide Web, Shetty is making his wisdom go viral through his content.

Million Takers

For a 9GAG video to hit a two-million mark is almost an everyday affair, how?

Chan says, “The basic idea that company follows is to understand the cultures of different regions.” He adds, “One thing the company had assessed is that people understand jokes of each others’ regions, which is why it gives us more leverage on social media.”

For Jay Shetty, getting nine million subscribers on YouTube wasn’t a cakewalk. He says his video talks are based on scientific facts. Having studied behavioral science for 10 years, he was able to connect with people. "It wasn't just that. When I was speaking to people, about their issues, something would just click and I would know I have to talk about it. Many a times, my videos are not scripted and are based on real life experiences," says Shetty.

Quick Recommendations

The content needs to have specific elements that push people to share it on social media. In a May blog post written by Brian Dean, the “SEO master” and the founder of Search Engine Optimization blog website, Backlinko, he offers some disruptive ways to make content go viral.

For example, the mention of numbers in title, short URLs, use of creative images and infographics and quoting influencers in the content.  He insists on the importance of publishing time of every post. The prime time is to publish posts between 8 am to 12 pm, according to Dean.

He suggests opting for easy-to-scan keywords and topics, and recommends going for the most practical approach for content. “The data-driven series or any posts get the most traction,” he writes.

Lastly, the US-based content marketing specialist, Jeff Bullas, talks about the growing importance of Wikipedia pages of companies for the better brand positioning in one of his blog posts published on October 2013. He says, “Wikipedia pages about business add a level of prestige, authenticity and credibility to business, brand and an entrepreneur’s persona.”

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