The Science Of Viral

social fish
social fish

Something all psychologists have unanimously agreed upon is the streak of random in all of us. What we decide to click on seemingly has no pattern: or does it? Researchers have spent countless hours trying to rationalize why some content is more viral than other. And one thing they have all come to agree on is that viral content evoke some extreme emotion. Once you tap into the power of great content, about half your job is done.

What exactly IS great content?

Contrary to popular belief, we love us some positivity. When we think about the things that we have shared over the years, we would come to realize that most of what we share is positive content; something so awe-inspiring we can’t help but click on it.

To create and curate such content, you need to have a basic understanding of how people think. If they read something uplifting or relatable, they instantly want to share it with their friends and colleagues. Content that evokes positive emotions such as awe, excitement and surprise will always work better than posts that have a less upbeat tone to it. An example: An article on Buzzfeed (the undisputed king of viral content) titled ‘21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity‘ currently has 15.1 million views. Also, in the words of Buzzfeed’s editorial director, Jack Sheperd, ‘Cats’.


Let’s compare two titles:

  1. Top 10 Stories that shocked the world!
  2. Most Read articles of 2015

The first title will probably be shared a lot more than the second as it instantly piques the interest of the reader.

Click-bait titles are a major winner when creating viral content. Throw in a few strong adjectives and words like ‘shocking’ , ‘amazing’, ‘irresistible’, ‘unbelievable’ and you will see increased interest in your content. It has also been shown that people love sharing practically useful content. So words like ‘hacks’, ‘tips’, ‘tricks’ and ‘secrets’ will help increase the reach of your post.

Don’t forget to add a visual element

Content that has a visual element will always do better than something that is text-only. Buzzsumo, a content analytics company, discovered that posts with images get twice as many shares on Facebook and Twitter as compared to those that don’t have any images. This increases your reach by about 200%. If you feel like you don’t have the time to go through the entire world wide web and hunt down the perfect articles, apps like Feedly and DrumUp can do the job for you. DrumUp even lets you schedule your posts on various social media platforms.

Identify the optimum time

Publish your content at times when your readers are most likely to be online. Compare stats of your posts and note down when traffic is at its peak. Posting content during these optimum windows of time will ensure maximum exposure. Again there are a variety of freely available tools like Google Analytics that you can use to generate statistical reports.

Another key to creating share-worthy posts is creating content with a high social currency.

The content that you share greatly influences the way others perceive your business. Content that makes you look good will be shared more. Take the example of LinkedIn: Users who received a ‘Congratulations’ message from the website for being in the top 5% most viewed profiles immediately shared the message on various social media platforms, increasing LinkedIn’s visibility and reach.

There’s no denying it: Achieving virality is not easy. But recent times have come to show that there is some method to the madness. Posting content that your audience enjoys at a time when they are most active , improves your chances of getting more unique visitors by severalfold. This smart trick will improve your page views like nothing else. There’s a click-bait headline right there.


Author Bio: Antara Krishnamurthy is currently pursuing a degree in media and communication. She is very passionate about digital social media marketing.

Connect with her on Facebook.

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