There is no hard and fast definition of why a video might go viral instantly unless of course, you have a million followers who will share whatever video content you produce. However, there is a set of principles that can guide you on the journey to make video content that “might” go further than you expected.

Does this make me look good?

iphone x status symbol

Social currency is a very important factor in why content is shared. There are many reasons to share content but one of the biggest is to do with human ego. Everybody wants to either look good or superior to their friends and family. Is your content something that will make them look impressive if they share it. We are not talking about babies or puppies here, we are talking about content to make the other guy jealous.


For example a new car or handbag or even spending £1000 on a new iPhone X. The phone itself is only worth $300 but still, if you can get one and share the fact then people will be envious. Does your content make people look clever? It could be as simple as knowing a solution to a problem before anyone else. I like to think our blogs on how to make the most out of YouTube will one day help make a marketing assistant look good in the eyes of their superior because they knew how to use end screen annotations or get a free transcription of their video.

Is it emotionally charged?

Does your content inspire an emotional response from the audience? This can be achieved of course by using puppies or children but maybe that is a cheap shot. Think about the stories you are telling and uncover some sort of emotion in them, bring it to the fore. Put the hero in a situation where they are challenged by an emotional struggle. It might be sadness at a loss or happiness at a birth, how did your product effect them at this stage in their life. Once you have grabbed someone by their emotions you have a very powerful sway over them. Empathy is one of the greatest sales tools of all time. Shameless to say it but if you understand your client’s pain and can fix it then you have won the battle.

Is your content educational?

This is fairly similar to the first point but stands the test. Will your content be of practical use to the audience? Can you create content around a subject that will help your audience in their everyday lives. We live in a value economy, the value you can give away is most often your expertise or insider knowledge. A lot of people are afraid to give away too much information feeling it will lose them a sale because the client will go away and do it themselves. If you want to build trust and encourage people to share your content then give them something special that they will value and remember who gave it to them. A great example of this is Microsoft and Minecraft and the Microbit.

The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is a non-profit organisation enabling children around the world to get creative with technology and gain digital skills in school, in clubs and at home. It is also owned and supported by Microsoft who obviously want to get the young on board early on in their lives. So they are ready to buy Office365 as soon as they are able.

Can the viewer be a part of the story

There have been some classic examples of this in recent years. Getting your audience to be a part of the story is one of the easiest ways to spread content. For example, Coca Cola’s share a bottle with… campaign,  has since been more recently replicated by Marmite. This year you can name your own Marmite jar, or even take a DNA test to see if you “love it ” or “hate it. Try and find a way to get your audience involved in your product or campaign and you should see amazing results. I say this in particular because my daughter came running towards me in a supermarket the other day brandishing a jar to give to her brother for Christmas.

Does your content have a place in public

Is your product, solution or brand normally hidden from view and a private matter. For instance, underwear. Then why not bring it out in public and help others expose themselves…Victoria’s Secret has been brilliant at making something traditionally hidden and private into a cause for celebration. A friend of mine’s daughter recently bought a phone case branded with Victoria’s Secret and she was only 9 years old. It may seem wrong to some people but VS has already got into her mindset and mad buying underwear a public thing that is normal to do. OK, they have also used some of th most beautiful women in the world to promote their brand which is possibly another shortcut to virality although a little immoral depending on your product.

Some of these ideas are our own but the basis for the blog comes from the excellent book by Jonah Berger “Contagious”. I would heartily recommend it as a great read and very useful indeed. You can buy the book here.

YouTube tools for marketing


Share This