The Complete Guide to Creating Viral Content

go viral

It’s easy to make content go viral. All you need is to have a great quality video that is fun and entertaining. Right?


There is a lot of content on the internet and to compete with all the noise, videos don’t only have to be great quality, but they also must hit emotional triggers for viewers as well. Below, we show you the top elements your videos must have in order to have a chance at going viral.

Ethos. Pathos. Logos.

Aristotle left us with a number of great theories and works to ponder, and his modes of persuasion are the most useful for marketers and storytellers alike. Want to convince someone that your product is better than a competitor’s or that your cause is worth caring about? Then use these three rhetorical methods and you’ll be golden:

Ethos. Ethos comes into play when an individual (or company) is trying to persuade a potential customer that he or she is ad good person. The adage is true: people buy from those they know, like, and trust.

Pathos. Pathos appeals to a person’s emotions and is used to get your audience to feel through an issue rather than think through it. (This explains the viral cat video sensation that continues to sweep the internet.)

Logos. Logos appeals to a person’s logic. This is where the facts and figures come in to back up your argument. Do you have a chart that shows viewers that your product has no preservatives, but your competition’s does? Perfect. You’ve just won over a new customer with logic.

So, how does this help with viral videos? Simple. You want to convince your audience to share the video you’ve created and in order to do that, you will need to persuade him or her to do so. Brainstorm unique ideas that relate to your business goals and create a video that touches upon these three triggers and you’ll be on your way to the viral kingdom.

Finesse with surprise and fear

Do you like opening presents? Of course you do!

How about receiving flowers from a loved one out of the blue? Who doesn’t?

Surprises are exciting, especially if they are positive. Grocery chain Publix nailed surprise in their holiday surprise video. We won’t ruin the “surprise” for you here, but after watching the commercial, Publix was able to hit a pathos nerve that made grocery shopping more than picking up a frozen pizza for a Friday night.

How about fear? Do you like to be scared? Well, the jury is mixed on this one but it’s no secret that the horror film industry has been on the rise since the ‘80s so chances are that a huge chunk of your customers and/or potential customers are fans of horror. For instance, check out Rob Zombie’s Woolite commercial. In this spot, he appeals to people’s fear of using other detergents, which gets them to think about switching to Woolite. It’s also very clever considering that through the commercial, Woolite is being considered a high-end option that will keep clothes nicer for longer, instead of the economical option. Smart.

If customers are surprised or scared, they are more likely to remember a product/video and will be more likely to share it.

Social Currency

We all want to be cool and be known amongst our circle of friends that we found the hippest hot spots first. Yelp! tapped into this desire with its platform successfully. But how does it relate to viral videos? Easy. With social currency, marketers need to show the viewer what is in it for them if they share the video. Will they get a coupon? Will they look cool? It’s up to you to decide and to use this to your advantage.

Marketing guru Jonah Berger revealed to Forbes that the secret to social currency is to make the viewer feel like he or she is an insider and in-the-know. In the video world, this means that you need to make sure your video is intriguing and that it will make your viewer look clever or hip if he or she passes it on. Remember Psy’s “Gingham Style” or Los del Rio’s Macarena? We thought so.

Test Ideas

Yes, it’s true. You can’t become an overnight viral-hit success without testing the waters. Some tips include visiting websites that are known for creating viral content and trying to take some of those ideas and customising it for your own product or service.

Another idea to play with is to experiment with social share buttons. For instance, SEO professional Neil Patel reveals that HuffPost puts their share links under the picture of their stories. This has given readers the opportunity to at least check out the headline and view the picture before deciding if he or she wants to share the article or not.

He also reveals that visitors consume online content in an F-shape. This essentially means that visitors will read the headline and start to scan the left-hand side of the page for key facts and figures. Knowing about this eye-tracking information can be helpful in setting up your video to be shared easily.

For instance, if you already have a great headline for your video (which we know you do), make sure to put the share widgets on the left-hand side of your post next to the video since you now know that visitors read headlines and scan the left.

This may seem like a simple thing but anything you can do to make it easier for your audience to share your content, the more likely he or she will.

You Can Go Viral

If you’re still having trouble knowing where to start, we’re here to help you reach your marketing goals. We’ve even made it easy for you to get a free evaluation of how your site is currently registering. Don’t believe us? Check out this free SEO tool and get your free analysis today. Then reach out and we will help you improve your score.