What Makes Content Go Viral Online?

Viral Content? Here’s How…

Today I want to talk about something EVERYONE wants to have as part of their online arsenal and that is ‘Viral Content’ so first let’s start with a sensible question…


What is it that makes content go viral?


Okay so this is a pretty broad question and allows for a plethora of answers but let me give you my take on this. So as stated it’s a pretty broad question and it’s a difficult question too; but when you take a look around the internet you will see that SOME people are able to seemingly create contagious and viral content every damn time…at will.


So what the heck is their secret sauce? What’s their magical method? Do they know something (or a lot of things that we don’t have a clue about?


The answer, in short is yes. In fact it’s a big fat yes!


Crazy thing is that they may not even know or at least be aware of the fact they have it; some people are just in the know when it comes to pushing that big magic button that creates traffic like gangbusters.


How is it that I know this? Simple, I spend a lot of time researching content, for a multitude of reasons as well as being interested in building my own knowledge. So what have I personally learned?


What Is It That Makes Content Go Viral Online?


Well to answer this I turn to a man whose studies and research kept me tuned in for a long while now, a man by the name of Jonah Berger (Click here to follow him on twitter). Jonah is the assistant Professor of Marketing at Wharton School of Business and his specialist subject is researching and discovering what it is that helps to make content, products and ideas go viral.


It’s fair to say that Jonah is a man of great skill and talent, for example he has been the featured author for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, NY Times and The Economist as well as recently co-authoring “What Makes Online Content Go Viral” with the fabulous Katy Milkman.


You would be pretty silly not to listen to Jonah and so as a treat for you and a tribute to both his and Katy’s brilliant research here are the best bits of their research paper.


  1. Practically useful content gets shared.

This is more common sense than genius, it just makes sense. If you are sharing a video on how to save someone $100 through a simple hack then it’s going to do better than a review of something that’s going to cost the reader or viewer that same $100 for a product, isn’t it? Just a thought.


  1. Positive content becomes more viral than negative.

Think about when you read the news, it’s mostly negative or boring, but if you suddenly throw into the mix a firefighter who has saved the lives of 10 fully clothed chimpanzees then you are going to see a massive difference. I know I’d rather read about and see images of the chimps instead of the boring negative news from the local anchor-man or anchor-woman.


  1. Content which evokes the arousal of emotions (positive or negative) will more viral than any content without emotion within it.

So the above is based on purely positive content but when you throw the emotion into the mix it is bound to help get you the views you so much desire. For example if you had an article about someone that was serving meat products to vegetarians in a restaurant you are going to get a lot of anger which converts to clicks and views (sad but true). On the flip side if it something such as a local woman who has turned her home into a dog kennel to save some poor pups being given a death sentence then you are going to want to show you admiration or affection towards the lovely dog saving superhero lady!


So How Do We Create Content That Goes Viral?


Well, for a start you can take the three above bullet points and use one of them or a mixture of them to try and create your very own viral content but how do you craft the content into click converting contagious content (or as I like to call it, the 4 C’s).

Well, my advice would be to start in your happy place, or rather try and aim for your readerships happy place. What I mean is try and use a happy, positive and overall glee inspiring piece of content, and also use your own happy voice in there too!

It’s all well and good writing about something like ‘The Worlds’ Largest Cookie Ends World Hunger’ but if you sound drab, dreary and full of melancholic thoughts then you will come across as Mr or Mrs grumpy…not a great spin on an otherwise positive and happy piece of content.

Remember that there are a whole heap of very unhappy people in this world and being different by inspiring and uplifting them instead of being disconcerting and negative, which is what they are absorbing elsewhere

So, happy place = a great place to start. Also remember the above bullet point about emotions, try and add some emotionally trigger in there as that will give them more to push in front of others and that can help you go viral quickly.

The above is all very well and good if you are blogging for the sake of it but if you are more interested in generating leads of buying customers then you are better off going for the ‘Practically useful content’. The reason being that with practical content you are showing them their pain points and then you are giving them a solution, usually followed by a paid version of said solution.

This is just my opinion of course, and don’t get worried about offering paid solutions to problems, if they are legitimate issues that your readership or viewing audience is having and it’s a good solution then regardless of money involved you should at least tell them.

This is because as a thought leader, as a guidance coach or as an authority figure in your niche you need to tell them about quality products that will benefit them…it’s for THEIR benefit and as such you would be doing them a disservice if you didn’t offer products of value.


Preparing Practically Useful Content

When you finish your content and it is fully polished, well written and up to the point of completion you need to remember one thing that most others do not. You need to give the reader an actionable step for the next part of their journey.

So let’s say for example that you have written a great article and you want some feedback. The best thing to do would be to ASK them to leave some feedback, or a comment, maybe you want them to complete a poll…don’t just have the poll there…ASK them to vote on it for you. Do you want them to opt in to your newsletter? ASK them to opt in to it!

Obviously we are talking about viral content here so the best thing to do would be to ASK them to SHARE IT! It really is that simple. Sometimes it works other times not so much, but the need to tell people or at least ask them to do something is vital as it can mean the difference between a subscriber or two and hundreds of subscribers.

So on that note; please share and tweet this article to people you know and like that you think will benefit from it…pretty please!


Activating High Arousal Emotions in Your Content

If you have a well written article or any type of content to be honest, and it has a way of arousing emotions within the reader/viewer/listener then you have got it made. There is a drastic chance that those people will share your content as it has hit a nerve or given them hope. Whatever emotion you have hit upon doesn’t matter it’s getting that arousal in the first place that’s key to getting the content shared and hence shared virally.

I touched upon what high arousal of emotions is earlier but let me digress a little. High arousal of emotions can be either a positive or a negative experience for the person involved, it doesn’t matter which as both ways work. So if you can invoke any of the following then you are onto a winner:

Anger, Awe, Fear, Anxiety, Surprise, Happiness, Lust and there are a few more but you catch my drift.

What you need to do to gain this arousal of emotion is to hit a particular nerve so if you want to make them angry then do something that you can offer facts and evidence to back up your claim. For example some fanboys may get very angry if you said a certain smart phone was better than a competing brand (seriously they get uber angry at this but I won’t mention any brands).

You could invoke lust by doing a quality review with a snippet of video which shows all of the features they desire, this can lead them to want that product so badly that they are looking for the buy button and if that’s the case make sure you have a link for them and don’t forget to tell them to do it too… “Click Here To Buy xxxxxxx Now”.

Use emotion to your advantage where possible but DO NOT misuse it as it can be a very powerful weapon, so be good and do not use it to promote garbage to your lists.

Tomorrow I will be emailing out a list of the best high-arousal emotions that can help to make your content go virally contagious so watch out for that.



So now that you know how to get your content viral, you just need to make sure that you have something to write about to make viral, easier said than done I know. However there are two takeaways that I want you to remember from this article and they are simple.

Firstly if and when you are looking for traffic to get to your business website be certain to show them how to actually use and implement the advice and techniques you have given them to use. Take your time and be sure that you give them an example as well as the best next actions to take, give them the steps to do it tool.

Secondly, do not just decide to create content merely for the sake of it. Always, Always, ALWAYS be certain you have a target of emotion that you want to create a high-arousal with and then your content will be shared more.

Finally, this all works so try out the techniques yourself and leave me a comment below to let me know how you have gotten on (see what I did there? That’s your next actionable step). Alternatively feel free to leave a comment if you have any other tips or advice.

Oh and please don’t forget to share this article on Facebook and twitter, be an authority figure to those looking up to you and send them this awesome information. They will thank you for it.


Before I end I would like to just remind you that tomorrow I will be adding a list of the top emotions to aim at arousing so don’t miss that. Plus I have been using a neat tool called “WP She’s Viral” that is guaranteed to help get your content more viral but I am currently reviewing it for you as it isn’t released yet. So keep your eyes open for that.


Until next time and to you and your future success,

Dr. Max V




Below is the FREE REPORT I said I would write yesterday, please grab your copy by clicking on the link below.

how to activate high arousal emotions in your audience









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