Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

September 26, 2023
7 min read
By George Djaniants
Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

Imagine for a moment, you've just brewed the perfect blend of content, and instead of trickling down, it gushes out across the internet, taking the world by storm. Welcome, in this blog post we will explore viral marketing and how to craft contagious content. We go into the core strategies for creating content that captivates, converts, and clicks so well it spreads like wildfire. We don't just talk theory here; we go behind the scenes to comprehend the science and psychology of viral campaigns, exploring case studies of some of the spectacularly successful ones. As we unlock this fascinating domain, get ready to encounter powerful tactics, ingenious techniques, and methodologies that will arm you with everything you need to make your content go viral. Buckle up for a thrilling journey; the landscape of viral marketing awaits!

What is Contagious Content?

Contagious content, refers to unique, engaging, and share-worthy content that effortlessly spreads across various online platforms, garnering significant attention and engagement. Be it through videos, articles, memes, or infographics, such content stands out due to its compelling nature, invariably resonating with the target audience and persuading them to share it further—much like how a virus spreads. This ability to get shared organically, coupled with its potential to reach unforeseen numbers of people, all while managing to stay relevant and engaging, is what sets contagious content apart. Drawing parallels to viral marketing, contagious content is no happy accident. Often, it is the result of careful planning, astute understanding of audience preference, and strategic execution.

Creating contagious content isn't merely about jumping on trends or creating click-bait headlines. It calls for a deep understanding of what truly engages your audience and sparks conversations around your brand. For instance, Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign powerfully resonated with audiences worldwide, since it tapped into a deeply-held sentiment about body positivity and redefining beauty standards. Similarly, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge became a sensation as it combined entertainment with a call to action for a noble cause. Above all, remember that contagious content isn't just about garnering clicks, but more about creating value and lasting impressions. When done right, contagious content can boost brand visibility and foster stronger connections with your audience.

The Psychology Behind Sharing

Understanding the psychology behind sharing content is crucial when it comes to viral marketing and how to craft contagious content. Delving into the emotional and psychological aspects that trigger individuals to share, it's clear that content must evoke strong emotions and validation. Content that elicits laughter, surprise, or inspiration tends to get shared more frequently. These emotions connect with individuals on a personal level, compelling them to share the impact with others, thus driving viral marketing.

Furthermore, the validation aspect is potent. When content aligns with an individual's values or beliefs, they are more likely to share it. In other words, if your content mirrors an individual's identity, it can make them feel more understood, thus triggering a share. This highlights the great potential in creating content that resonates with people's attitudes and identities.

Additionally, practical value cannot be overlooked. Informational content that provides useful tips, life hacks, or unearths new knowledge is frequently shared, as users tend to promote content that holds utility. For instance, sharing a blog post with tips on becoming more productive may increase your chances of it going viral. As such, embedding practical value in your content strategy can significantly boost your chances for viral marketing.

The Role of Social Media in Viral Marketing

the role of social media in viral marketing

In the evolving world of digital marketing, social media holds significant responsibility in viral marketing. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn act as a springboard for content to reach wide, diverse audiences. These platforms have the advantage of speed, reach, and a predominantly younger demographic who are more likely to engage actively online.

Social media influences viral marketing in several ways, first and most importantly by providing an ecosystem where content can easily be shared. The inherent structure makes it easy for users to share and spread content, functioning as an important digital word-of-mouth system. A compelling video or a thought-provoking post could be shared extensively within a matter of hours, resounding the power of social media.

Collaboration and interaction with internet celebrities or influencers has become an effective viral marketing strategy. These figures command massive followings, ensuring that content gets a huge amount of exposure in relatively short durations. A case in point would be the influencer-led marketing strategy employed by the popular cosmetic brand, Glossier, demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach.

Moreover, social media empowers users to express their opinions and engage in discussions, thereby creating a sense of community. This engagement not only spurs the virality of content but also provides valuable feedback for businesses. For instance, Netflix's "You" became a cult as viewers formed communities and exchanged theories online, proving how crucial user engagement can be.

Finally, businesses use social media analytics to study market behavior, customer interests, and trending topics, allowing them fine-tune their marketing efforts. Tools like Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, and Sprout Social offer data-driven insights to help businesses understand which strategies work best. The successful movie campaign of "Joker", based on the analysis of social media trends, showcases the potential of such tools.

Identifying Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is an integral part of success. A meticulous study of your audience's demographics, preferences, and behaviors leads to the tailor-made, viral-worthy content. For instance, if your audience mainly comprises young, college students, memes, and trending content might work best. Equally important is knowing where to find your audience. Online platforms vary from Facebook, Instagram to LinkedIn, which one you'll choose depends on where your audience spends most of its time. Well-researched marketing campaigns consider the social media channels their audience favors.

Furthermore, it's crucial to engage your audience by communicating directly, making them feel heard and involved. A tactic that Warby Parker, the glasses retailer, nailed astonishingly in their interactive campaigns, thus ensuring a strong, emotional connection with their audience. Delving deeper into user-generated content (UGC) like testimonials, reviews, can open a treasure trove of vital information about your core audience. Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” series remarkably utilized UGC, which significantly increased their customer engagement. A happy customer not only augment your online visibility but also act as brand evangelists, doubling your marketing efforts. Remember, a firm grasp of your target audience is a sturdy foundation for crafting contagious content.

Importance of Good Storytelling in Viral Marketing

The significance of good storytelling cannot be underestimated. It acts as the lynchpin that holds together an engaging and successful marketing campaign. During the process of effective storytelling, marketers weave alluring narratives that connect with the audience on an emotional level, rendering their marketing messages more persuasive and impactful. Case in point, Apple’s "The Song" holiday ad is a brilliant example of storytelling where the story of a girl discovering her grandmother's old recording touched multitudes and went viral.

Moreover, stories have a unique quality of being infectious, and they travel speedily in today's digitally interconnected world. This integral quality makes them a powerful tool. A captivating story, when infused with the right marketing message, does not only evoke emotions but also motivates the audience to share it further, amplifying its reach exponentially. According to Jonah Berger, a renowned marketing expert, "Emotional stories are two and a half times more likely to get shared." It proves how effective storytelling functions as a formidable catalyst in crafting contagious content, making it an essential component of standout viral marketing strategies. The transformation of Dollar Shave Club from an unknown start-up into a sensation, because of its humorous and relatable story, is a powerful testament to this fact.

Utilizing Influencers in Viral Marketing

The role of influencers cannot be overstated. These social media personalities have vast online reach, playing a key role in spreading an advertisement, a concept or a brand. With their millions of followers, influencers provide a perfect platform to get the message across effectively. They are like modern-day trendsetters, shaping the tastes and preferences of their followers. The success of brands like Daniel Wellington and Gymshark, which utilized influencer marketing to an immense degree, is a testimony to the power of influencers in viral marketing.

Influencer marketing is not just about quantity, but quality as well. When a popular influencer, who is relevant to your product, endorses it, the content becomes inherently trustworthy. The engagement rates skyrocket, making the content even more shareable and likely to go viral. Consistently, studies have shown that conversion rates are higher when influencers are involved, gradually proving their indispensability. As Andrew Davis, a keynote speaker and best-seller author, rightly puts it, "Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue." Influencers' expertise and trust-building capability make them immensely beneficial for viral marketing campaigns.

Measuring the Success of Your Content

measuring the success of your content

Understanding the effectiveness of your content requires thorough analysis and measurement. One common approach is observing the direct increase in lead generation or sales. However, other indicators like heightened brand awareness, commanding a more substantial social presence, and creating more engagement should not be overlooked. User activity like shares, likes, comments, re-tweets and tag mentions, for instance, can be a sure indication that your content is resonating and spreading, much like a virus.

More subtly, observing an increase in returning visitors or a decrease in bounce rate on your website can suggest the contagious nature of your content. Search volume data can also be a good indicator of success; a spike in Google searches for your brand following a content release would affirm your viral marketing strategy. In 2013, Google Trends caught the meteoric rise in search volume for Harlem Shake when the content went viral. Website analytics tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush and Moz prove vital in quantifying these parameters, helping to quantify and illustrate the success of your marketing efforts.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Viral Marketing

One common error marketers make is neglecting the audience's interests. Each demographic has its own preferences and tends to react differently to various forms of content. Therefore, crafting content for viral marketing requires careful audience segmentation and personalized content delivery. Instead of focusing on broad reach, viral marketing should be about resonating with the right people. For example, a campaign focusing on sustainability might cause a buzz among eco-friendly consumers while barely making a ripple in other demographics. Hence, knowing your audience is a critical first step in devising an effective viral marketing strategy.

Published on September 26, 2023 by George Djaniants

George Djaniants

CEO & Co-Founder