Ep 30: Going Viral! How to Create Content that Resonates

Sarah

Today we’ll be exploring the fascinating world of viral content, breaking down the key elements that make up successful campaigns, and providing you with practical tips for creating viral content that connects with your audience. So at its core, viral content is all about creating something so compelling, so engaging, that it captures the attention of the masses and spreads like wildfire across social media platforms, and while creating viral content is certainly easier said than done, like we’ve tried here at Citrus time and time again, there are certain principles and strategies that you can follow to increase your chances of success that we follow. To begin, let’s take a closer look at the key elements of viral content.

  1. The first element of viral content is Emotional Appeal, whether it’s laughter, shock, sadness, or even joy, successful viral campaigns almost always evoke strong emotions in their audience. Think about the last time you shared a piece of content with your friends or family, and think about what emotions this content made you feel. Was it happiness? Was it laughter? Was it sadness? Was it inspiration? Chances are it made you feel something powerful, whether it was a heartwarming story or a funny meme, or a thought-provoking message, it made you feel something. So next time you come across some viral content, think “what emotion does this make me feel?”
  2. The second element of viral content is Relevance. Your content needs to speak directly to your target audience, it needs to address their pain points or their desires, or even their interest. This means understanding your audience on a deep level and creating content that truly resonates with them.
  3. Third Shareability is critical when it comes to viral content. Your content needs to be easily shareable on social media platforms, and it needs to be something that people want to share with their friends and followers. The easier it is to share, the more likely it is to go viral.
  4. Finally, viral content needs to be Memorable. It should stick in people’s minds long after they’ve seen it, sparking conversations and staying with them for days or even weeks afterward. Like do you all remember the app Vine? I think Vine was like the OG funny meme videos way before even TikTok existed, that’s memorability. Like I often talk about some of these memes, some of these videos that I’ve seen on this platform and people still know what I’m talking about and that’s pretty crazy Vine. So Vine was actually shut down in 2017, six years ago but doesn’t feel like that long ago at all, and people still remember content from when Vine was alive, and well that sort of memorability is what you are aiming for.

Okay now that we’ve gone over some key elements of viral content, let’s talk about how to create this content that works. Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating content:

  • know your audience. Knowing your audience is crucial when it comes to creating viral content, if you create content that is not gonna appeal to your audience, then you’re not gonna receive that much interaction, and you’re not gonna see that much engagement. Take the time to understand their needs, desires and interests, and ask yourself what kind of content will resonate with them. What are their pain points? What type of messaging will speak to them specifically? Once you have a solid understanding of your audience, then you can create content that truly connects with them.
    A good example of a company that knows its audience is Dollar Shave Club. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, and I’m sure you’ve seen their ads on YouTube and other platforms. Their humorous commercials and social media content are specifically targeted toward men who are tired of overpaying for razors at the drugstore. Their messaging is simple, yet effective and speaks directly to their target audience. I suggest you give it a look, search a Dollar Shave Club, look up some ads, even some content that they create, and see how you can apply this to your business or your brand.
  • Be Unique. For your content to go viral, it needs to stand out from the crowd, so don’t be afraid to take risks and try something new. Successful viral campaigns often stand out because they’re unexpected or unusual, think outside the box and don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. Think about TikTok, trends start with just one person doing something and other people catching on and wanting to do the same thing. Don’t be afraid to do something funny, do something out of the ordinary, unexpected and I think people will like it.
    One great example of a unique viral campaign is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Do you guys remember that? That was such a long time ago, but it was iconic like everyone was doing it. This campaign involved people dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS. I remember I had no idea what ALS was, and when the ALS ice bucket challenge was going around, everyone was doing it got me to look it up and understand what ALS is. It was a simple idea that caught on like wildfire and resulted in millions of dollars in donations for ALS research.
  • Storytelling. People love stories, and using storytelling in your content is a great way to create something that resonates with your audience. Try to create content that tells a compelling story, whether it’s a heartwarming tale, a humorous anecdote, or an inspirational message, tell a story. I know on TikTok, I’m constantly seeing people tell a story, like something that happened to them that day, or telling the story of what happened to them in a previous altercation or a certain situation. People love stories, and I love stories as well, so next time you’re creating content think about how can I turn us into a story, and how can I better story tell this.
    One great example of a company that uses storytelling effectively is Nike. Their dream crazy ad featuring Colin Kaepernick tells a story of athletes who have overcome adversity and achieved great success, the ad is powerful, emotional, and resonates with people on a deep level. So when you have a certain campaign, you have content that you wanna share, think how can I take this on a deeper level?
  • Use Visuals. Visuals are incredibly powerful, especially when it comes to creating shareable content, whether it’s a striking image, a video, or an infographic, visual content is more likely to capture people’s attention. Use visuals to convey your message and make your content more engaging. When I was in school, there was this artist that I enjoyed, she is a data analyst who is also an artist on the side, she’s an illustrator, so she takes the data that she analyzes at her job and she creates infographics.
    Her name is Mona Chalabi, she currently has 432K followers, and she does an amazing job at creating infographics that reflect the information that she analyzes, and a lot of times it has to do with information about women, disparities, and injustice all around the world. I highly suggest you follow her account and check her out, it’s extremely informative and her illustrations are really cute. Hopefully, this inspires you to use an interesting infographic in your content.
    Being able to visualize data is ideal, especially in our day and age, our attention spans are a lot smaller than they were before. So being able to glance at something, know what they’re talking about, and be able to understand what it is visually is amazing, especially for social media. Another great example of a viral campaign that uses visuals effectively is the Dove Real Beauty campaign, their ads feature real women with diverse body types and skin tones, which challenges traditional beauty standards. The visuals are powerful and memorable, and the message resonates with women all over the world.
  • Be Authentic. People can spot a fake a mile away, so it’s important to be genuine and authentic in your approach, don’t try to be something you’re not people will see right through you. People are more likely to share content that feels real and honest, make sure to always be as honest and authentic as possible, especially on social media where half of the people are faking it.
    A great example of a company that is authentic in its messaging is Patagonia, they are known for their commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility, and their content reflects those values as well. During the vow campaign, the president stole your land and spoke out against the government’s decision to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah. The messaging was genuine and resonated with people who shared those values as well. A good exercise is once you have your topic or whatever it may be for your content, think how my values, and what I believe in have to do with this topic and once you’re able to break that down, you can create that story, use those visuals but also tie in your values and what you believe in into your content.

In conclusion, creating viral content is a combination of understanding your audience. Taking risks, telling compelling stories, using powerful visuals, and being authentic. Keep these tips in mind next time you’re creating content, you can create content that captures the attention of the masses and puts your brand on the map and viral content will come. Just keep on practicing creating content, and the more you practice these things, the easier it will be able to add all of these aspects into your campaigns. Do not feel discouraged if maybe the first campaign that you’re putting your all into isn’t viral content, there’s no way in ensuring content will be viral. You have to try your best to put content out there, if it becomes viral, amazing as you did it, but if it doesn’t, it’s okay just keep on trying.