Viral content is any piece of media that becomes wildly popular overnight.
We are living in the age of the content consumer. There is more demand than ever for engaging content that adds value, teaches, and entertains.
The average Millennial spends 17.8 hours a day consuming different types of content. Often, media is overlapping—like watching a video on your laptop while you send texts from your smartphone, or listening to music as you browse through articles. The common theme is that we are all nearly always plugged in.
This is great news for content creators: for those looking to capture attention, it is ever-present in the digital sphere, waiting to be reeled in.
“Attention is the new economy. It’s the world’s most valuable resource. You shape hearts and minds only with attention,” says Fox Network’s president of advertising, Joe Marchese.
With attention, you can capture leads and customers, sell your products and services, spread brand awareness, and build a winning reputation.
So just how do you create engaging content that captures attention? here’s how dependably creating viral a content and building a highly engaged following you can sell to.
1. Aim To Be Real, Not Hollywood.
“Forget the quality, the glitz, and glam,” says Julius Dein, a 22-year-old influencer with a following of 9M+ across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. A common misconception about filming great content is that the production quality should be professional-grade. While it’s important your camera captures high-resolution sound and audio, you can skip the $3,000+ camera equipment and film crew—your smartphone will do just fine.
It is highly recommended to record your content on a smartphone camera because it’s raw and relatable. “I’m 22, I don’t have the budget of a film crew. I filmed my grandma on my phone and it got 87M views,” Julius added.
2. Create ‘Feel Good’ Content.
The biggest determinant of whether or not a video will go viral is if people feel compelled to share it. “Before you post something, ask yourself, ‘Are people going to share this?'” Julius says. “People share content that makes them feel good—things that are cute, funny, emotionally eliciting. Boring things don’t stand a chance, it has to be entertaining and provocative.”
It helps to have a general understanding of what the general public will be able to relate to. If your video represents beliefs that are controversial or extreme, you may have a harder time connecting to your audience and thus getting them to like and share your content. Aim to appeal to a mass audience in order to go viral.
3. Get Into The Action Right Away.
The average attention span today is 8 seconds, which means you’ve got no time to spare in capturing your audience. Avoid a lengthy introduction and show, don’t tell. “Jump into the action in less than a second,” Julius says. “No ‘hey guys I’m Julius and today I’m going to do this.'” Once you’ve caught your viewer’s attention, keep them on their toes. The most engaging content is full of unexpected surprises and is designed to evoke emotion.
4. Stretch Your Content.
One video can go a long way. Are you getting the most out of your content? Julius says one of his most effective strategies to stretch content is to create follow-ups to your popular videos. “My first video that went viral was a prank on my girlfriend. I made a follow-up where she got me back, then another where I got her back, and then she got me back again. The most important thing to do is keep the momentum going. Milk it as much as you can and then move onto the next thing,” Julius shares.
Video compilations are also a great strategy to recycle content. Simply string together a series of videos under a common theme and aim for a 1-2 minute compilation.
5. Share And Promote.
Julius says the easiest platform for sharing content and generating awareness of your brand on a grand scale is Facebook. Julius’ strategy for visibility on Facebook is simple: after you post content, reach out to popular Facebook pages and groups that share related content. Send them a simple message, like, “Hey, can you share my video? It’s a really great video I think your audience will love.” A shortcut to find pages is to click on the profiles of people who are sharing your videos, see what other videos they’ve liked and shared, and go to the pages those videos come from.
“I would literally message hundreds of hundreds of pages. I even got my account banned,” Julius jokes. “Sharing from pages is powerful. This is the hurdle you can overcome. On YouTube, it’s very difficult to get your foot in the door, but on Facebook, you can reach out to big pages and find one that will share your video. Good content matched with good distribution can blow up your video.”