Have you ever wondered how some people are able to create viral internet content and gain millions of views and followers in just a short amount of time? Well, I am here to spill the secret sauce.
As a content creator, I have had my fair share of viral moments on social media platforms like Facebook reels, TikTok, and Instagram.
In a recent month alone, I was able to reach a monthly average of over 6.5 million people and 3 million engagements every month, besides my 22.7k followers. Since then, I have added another 10k followers, and one of my videos has reached a staggering 7.5 million views.
With 6 videos out of 51 (close to 12% of all my content) going mega-viral, I have received many engagements and a combined total of 22.3 million views within less than 2-3 months. In this post, I will share some of my secrets on how to create viral content.
Research Phase 01 - Study Each Platform & Content Inventory
When it comes to creating viral content, many people believe that it's all about creating something funny or catchy, but there's much more to it than that. The first step in creating viral content is research.
During the research phase, it's essential to study each platform and analyze what content is making waves and why. As a content creator, I spent a lot of time scrolling through various social media platforms and studying the elements that made certain videos stand out.
I also spent a lot of time studying what types of content were out in my niche or topics that I was interested in publishing. This is basically similar to conducting general marketing research, finding out what types of content (or products) were out in the market and circulating.
I then made sure that whatever I was going to put out was not out in the world yet so my content could have that unique edge and angle in my niche.
By analyzing content like a scientist, I was able to identify patterns and trends that could help me create highly engaging content. Ultimately, the time and effort put into research can make all the difference when it comes to creating viral content.
Research Phase 02 - Discover Your Unique Voice
In addition to studying what makes viral content successful, the second phase of research is geared towards discovering your own unique voice or perspective.
As a creator, it's essential to find what you can bring to the world that sets you apart from others. Asking questions like "what can I add to the existing or known information that is circulating out there?" or "how can I add different perspectives on the topic X, Y, Z, etc." are very helpful in this phase.
With my Japanese background, I shared my own perspectives and interpretation of Japanese culture, which became unique and engaging content that resonated with my audience.
As a person who grew up in both US and Japanese cultures, I felt that there was not enough content from a person that deeply understood both cultures, and therefore, that became my own angle/voice.
By also sharing my own personal experiences and perspective, I was able to connect with my followers on a deeper level and create content that they found valuable.
The key takeaway from this phase of research is to identify your strengths and find ways to express and promote them in your content, as this is what will set your content apart from the masses.
Research Phase 03 - Identifying Your Preferred Content Style
As you proceed with your research on creating viral content, the third phase requires you to focus on the type of content or style of the channel that you want to create.
There are numerous styles of content creation, ranging from vlogging, lifestyle, and dancing, to talking heads, and each style has its unique way of attracting different viewers. Identifying your preferred or more natural content style is crucial in ensuring maximum engagement from your audience that will connect and resonate with you or your brand.
For example, if you're more comfortable creating videos showcasing your personality and daily life, then vlogging might be your preferred style.
Therefore, taking the time to determine your preferred content style will allow you to create content that feels authentic and resonates well with your audience.
Research Phase 04 - Finding Inspiration and Emulating Your Ideal Content Creators
The fourth phase of viral content creation is all about finding inspiration and emulating your ideal content creators.
By identifying the individuals or channels that you admire and aspire to, you can learn from their approaches and incorporate similar elements into your content to create something that resonates with your audience.
However, it's crucial to avoid copying everything and instead personalize the content to make it unique to your voice or angle.
For example, if your inspiration is a travel vlogger, you can learn from their approach to storytelling and incorporate similar elements, but make sure you still put your own spin on it by sharing your unique perspectives, your interpretation of events, products, or anything you encounter.
Look for your own style, your worldview, perspectives, and voice, and avoid being too generic. The last you want to be is to become "basic."
Ultimately, this phase of research is about learning from the best while still maintaining your unique perspective to create compelling content.
Technical Tip 01 - Use a Visual Hook
One of the key technical tips for creating viral content is to use a strong visual hook to captivate your audience in just a few seconds.
In a world where attention spans are short, it's crucial to make sure that your content stands out and grabs the viewer's attention quickly.
By using visual cues and building up anticipation, you can make sure that your content is visually compelling within the first two seconds. The goal is to build up excitement and curiosity, making your audience eager to see what comes next.
Therefore, incorporating a visual hook in your content or viral campaign (if you are a business) is an effective way to ensure viewers engage with your content from the very start.
Technical Tip 02 - Craft Compelling Copy and Headlines, Not Overused Hooks!
Even with a strong visual hook, the next technical tip for creating viral content is to craft compelling copy and headlines.
Your copy and headlines should play with words to be unique, avoiding common hooks that are overused. The goal is to create headlines that are creatively written and impossible to ignore.
Your headlines should generate enough curiosity and interest and persuade viewers to click and watch your video. Even if a visual hook is not your strong point, using great copy that is catchy and attention-grabbing can still drive viewers to your content.
Therefore, don't overlook the power of a great headline or copy in increasing engagement rate and driving traffic to your website and content.
Strategy 01 - Keep Viewers Engaged Throughout Your Video
An important strategy in creating viral content is to ensure that your content is engaging throughout. Adding elements like music, captions, narratives, and voice narration can significantly increase engagement and keep your viewers interested from start to finish.
Utilizing pop-up texts or captions can add context to your videos while providing visual interest. Meanwhile, narrating your content with your voice or story creates a personal and emotional connection with the audience.
Moreover, adding the right type of music can also elicit emotions in your viewers, adding another layer of depth to your content. By incorporating these elements, you can create a compelling and engaging video that keeps your audience hooked throughout its duration.
Strategy 02 - Using the Right Tools
Creating high-quality video content is essential to making your content stand out and go viral, and using the right tools is crucial to achieving this. Although many social media platforms have native video editing features, they may not always be the most reliable.
However, while using the native app may be favored by some algorithms like Instagram, the editing features may not match the quality you're aiming for.
Personally, I have had much more success creating content using editing software like Capcut. These mobile apps offer more capabilities and flexibility in editing your video content, allowing you to make it more appealing and engaging to your audience.
Strategy 03 - Consistent Posting for Effective AI Training
Consistent posting is a key factor in creating viral content. Posting at least 1-2 times a week can help to train the AI and the app for your posting schedule, making it easier to reach your target audience.
Additionally, consistent posting will help meet audience expectations and increase engagement by providing them with a steady stream of content. While it may be tempting to skip posts or take a break, it's vital to remain consistent to ensure maximum exposure and growth.
Strategy 04 - Experimentation is the Key
Finding success with video content can often be a matter of experimentation. Varying the length, speed, and music choices of your videos can help you determine what resonates most with your audience. Seek more answers or better results, and keep experimenting.
I learned this myself through feedback from my audience on different types of videos, headline copies, and content. Make sure you get a lot of feedback, improve your content, and keep experimenting.
For me, the results of one of my videos were just striking - one video ended up receiving 7.5 million views. The video went mega-viral as a result of my past experiment results and incorporating the feedback from my experimentation. This taught me that experimentation to find the right formula for your content is essential.
Bonus Tip: Be Patient
Viral videos don't happen overnight. It took my own videos 1-2 months before they finally went viral, and that's very common.
Oftentimes, the most important factor in creating content that goes viral is patience - allowing your audience to find and share links to your content and to train the AI or algorithm over time.
There are, of course, many ways that the algorithm or AI is triggered to make your content boosted organically, but that is a whole other subject we can perhaps touch upon in another blog post.
But one of the things you CAN control is yourself, and it is patience, and this sometimes applies to even paid ads.
Sometimes they don't start performing immediately, as it requires time to gather data, test, and fine-tune. Moreover, organic growth also requires some time.
Just like New York Times Mini Crossword Puzzle (a NY Times viral internet content crossword game) requires patience and diligence, a video to become a viral video takes time, so think of it as a long-haul game. It will prepare you to think of content creation as a marathon and not a sprint.
So, what makes content viral? The answer is simple - research, create, execute, publish, and be patient(or let go)!
Research is paramount to your success. Strive to emulate successful content from your role models, but make sure to make it your own using the elements discussed above.
Ultimately, the most successful content will be that which is unique and has not been published, shared, or discussed before. Put in the effort to create something original, and you will see results.