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Public Relations

How Posts Go Viral

We all remember the 2007 YouTube sensation of Charlie’s poor baby brother crying after getting his finger bitten. Since then, it seems the Internet has only gotten more infatuated with babies, puppies, ice buckets and crazy 13 year-olds on Dr. Phil.

Wouldn’t it be nice if virality could be as simple as A + B = YouTube fame? Unfortunately, a secret formula doesn’t exist to help your content go viral. The rule of thumb for viral viewership used to be that a post would be considered viral once it received over 5 million views within a 5 to 7 day span. Now, the number of views a video gets no longer constitutes virality. There are, however, a few commonalities between viral videos. Keep reading to check them out and decide for yourself what videos you’ve seen fit into each category.

1. Emotional Tug

Content has to connect. If the audience doesn’t emotionally identify with what they are watching, the post isn’t going anywhere. Posts must elicit some sort of emotional reaction from the viewer. In general, people like to share things that make them feel good. A heartwarming video that moves you to tears or makes you roll on the floor with uncontrollable laughter is much more likely to be shared by viewers. Furthermore, if a video containing certain political beliefs or social issues you identify with crosses your path, you are more inclined to share it because it reaffirms your beliefs and lets others know them too.

2. Buzz, Buzz and More Buzz

Virality goes beyond viewership. A post may be getting shared, but is it the talk of the town? The notion of buzzworthy content is evident on social media through the use of hashtags. Does it become a trending topic on Twitter? Are a bunch of your friends commenting about it on Facebook? The engagement that a video gets on the web goes beyond the screen and continues through word-of-mouth. If you’re obsessed with a video or article, you’re definitely going to want to talk to friends about it, which only increases its virality in the real world.

3. The Test of Time

Although content rarely lasts a lifetime, longevity is still a significant element of virality. Videos come and go, but every so often one seems to “stick.” Even after the video itself becomes outdated, you’re still left hoping your eyebrows are “on fleek” and you can still “cash me ousside.” While the videos themselves may not be around in five years, or even five months, their phrases become ingrained in the minds of society and continue to flow from our screens to our mouths for years to come.

How bou dat?