To make any kind of income off of Internet content, it’s most beneficial for creators to get a project/video/blog/etc. to go viral.  The more people that see it, the bigger your audience, the bigger your consumer base–whatever you want to call it–the bigger, the better.  The quickest and most effective way for that to happen is for it to go viral.

So, get your Kleenex out, ’cause it’s flu season, and I’m about to take you knee-deep into viral territory.

There’s no way to ensure that whatever you put out there on the Internet is going to go viral, but after years of watching videos like “Charlie Bit My Finger” and things like Fidget Spinners explode with popularity, there are a few things that people have begun to notice as recurring patterns.  This article claims that one way to at least try to make sure you’re producing content that has the potential to go viral is to make quality content that people actually care about.  While I wish this was the case for things, it’s not how pop culture and the trend-setting Internet works.  True, there is more chance that you’ll reach people who are loyal consumers if they actually care about your product, but it is not a sure-fire thing to get the numbers.

This article talks about the importance of finding the right location.  I think this is a really important part of having content discovered, but I also think that a lot of trial and error needs to go into host websites and the product being posted:  Something interesting that I’ve noticed from being a 20-something and growing up with the Internet at all times is that the sites that each age range uses varies a lot and often.  A website could be popular with the teens one month and come November, there’s an even better and cooler website that monopolizes their time and keeps them from doing the things they should actually be doing like homework or building social skills.

As an avid consumer of viral content, I’d say I’m pretty well acquainted with it and have a reasonable amount of authority to call myself an expert of scrolling, reading, watching and clicking.  From what I can gather, these two listicles (a term which I just learned and will now try to make sense of but secretly hate) are the closest to actually ‘defining’ what makes something more likely to go viral:

  • Evoking “high-arousal emotions” (awe, amusement, excitement, anger, anxiety)
  • Practical (educational, useful) – Who doesn’t love a good how-to?
  • Readable. – People don’t want to have to decipher something they find on the Internet in their down time.
  • Catchy title
  • Visual appeal – Everyone loves a good aesthetic
  • Publishing time – This is one that I think is very overlooked by people who don’t actually create content.  There are peak publishing hours in the day that are the best to attract traffic to you postings. The first of the two articles above gives the best days to post as Monday, Tuesday, and the weekend.

All that being said, there are still the randoms that get chosen by the Internet gods to be viral for no rhyme or reason.  We can take the easy way out and say it’s because those damn millennials don’t have much taste and always want instant gratification, but honestly, who doesn’t love a good animal video?

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