5 Tips to Make Quality Viral Content

From the famous Priya Varrier wink video and the latest dancing uncle viral video, no one could have guessed the reaction they got, now we tell you what makes a video go viral

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By Imran Shamsi


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"Viral' has been a buzzword for a while now. I've heard this word echo millions of times in agencies, brands and even film studios. Don't we all wonder, what is it that makes a video go viral? Is it accidental or is there a method to make something go viral? After years of creating, failing, learning and watching online content, here are the 5 factors that I feel can make content go viral.


    The relevance of the content with the time of its release is a very important factor. While the advertising industry relies on topicality for driving maximum reach and engagement with campaigns around Diwali, Ramzan, Women's day and what not, it's not a new concept. Amul was one of the most prominent brands to use topicality in their content by having a witty take on current affairs and events. So go ahead, plan and make videos with a fresh take on a topical subject to increase its chances of going viral.

    Emotional Connect

      Content needs to impact people emotionally, something that looks like it's made by and for real humans instead of just consumers. Many videos achieve that emotional connect accidentally, for example, the cute dog and cat videos that get zillions of views. Or the famous Priya Varrier wink video and the latest dancing uncle viral video, no one could have guessed the reaction they got. But then there are others that evoke the same feeling but only after a lot of planning and through some stellar storytelling. Thai insurance videos on YouTube are a must watch. Next time you make content, ensure that it makes them laugh or cry or connects with them at a personal level.

      Visual Freshness

        Visuals have extraordinary power to communicate. Some videos take visual imagery and art to the next level by making content that looks like nothing else. Ok Go, a popular music band, has been doing this rather successfully on YouTube and have come to be known more for their viral videos than their music. Stunning, imaginative, fresh and innovative visuals will go a long way in making your videos much more shareable.

        Shock Value

          One of the best ways to get the viewers' attention is by creating content that shocks them. Whether it's an unexpected occurrence in a video, an outrageous statement in an article or a shocking twist at the end of a short film – The chances of shareability multiply if you're able to successfully shock viewers. But one has to be careful that it's not a gimmick just to get eyeballs because that can backfire. So go against the tide, do something with a twist, defy expectations or be completely crazy in your approach.

          Who Shares it.

            Making quality content keeping the above factors in mind is important for it to go viral. But to ensure that the right people see your content, right people have to share it. Study the content and figure out what kind of people will potentially share it. Is there a community or group that will push it? For example, if your content is about a brand new bike, it's likely that biking communities will be okay sharing it.

            Now it's time to use your creativity, imagination and persistence to make your content. So keep trying and learning from mistakes, be a keen observer of what works and what doesn't and you may just break the internet one day. Good luck!

            Imran Shamsi

            Founder - What Works

            Director, Writer, Producer and Entrepreneur - Conceptualised and executed promotional campaigns for films like Sui Dhaaga, Jagga Jasoos, Raees, Fan, M.S. Dhoni - The Untold Story, Fitoor etc. Producer of 'The Trip' an international web series featuring Lisa Haydon for Disney - Bindass. Creator of engaging, award-winning branded content like AXE Chickipedia. Headed digital content for Disney India from 2010 - 2014.

            Founded What Works in May 2014 and created compelling brand videos for clients like: KFC, Yash Raj Films, UTV Motion Pictures, Fox Star Studios, Red Chillies Entertainment, Uber, Disney, bindass, MTV, AXN, Ogilvy & Mather, Universal Music, Culture Machine and many more.

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