In this day and age, “going viral” on social media is something many brands aspire towards to gain more visibility and convert leads into sales. With the influx of social media platforms, viral marketing has become an essential strategy for companies to include in their overall business strategy.

Viral marketing is a sales technique that involves using organic or word-of-mouth promotion to spread the word about a product or service via the internet and social media platforms. The goal of viral marketing is to inspire individuals to share a marketing message with others, thus creating exponential growth in recipients. Through social media, viral marketing has provided the perfect ecosystem for companies to distribute messages organically as part of their marketing strategy. The widespread adoption of social media platforms by users worldwide has increased the efficiency of viral marketing.

Do you need help developing an effective public relations and marketing strategy? Pressfarm partners with brands to develop memorable content as well as build a strategy for engaging the right target audience. From writing winning press releases to designing creative media kits and building media lists, our team is equipped to help you get the word out about your brand.

Elements of viral content

Experts in the marketing industry have concluded that all viral marketing, whether deliberate or accidental, has three major parts that need to be considered: the message, the messenger, and its environment. All aspects need to be used and leveraged to create a successful viral marketing campaign. A viral marketing campaign is designed to trigger virality because this is an easy and cheap way for companies to gain publicity. Businesses of any size can create a viral marketing campaign to stand alone or be a part of a more extensive traditional campaign. Traditional viral marketing campaigns use tools like videos, games, images, email, text messaging, and free products to appeal to the viewer’s emotions. These tools are also used to raise awareness of a worthy cause and make it easy for users to share ideas.

Before a brand engages in viral marketing, they need to understand what makes content go viral and what companies need to keep in mind when developing viral marketing strategies. There are three main factors that viral content needs to have to achieve media coverage; it needs to evoke emotion, send a positive message, and resonate with its target audience. Content that draws people in by producing an emotional reaction performs better than content that doesn’t appeal to emotions. Social media platforms make it possible to achieve effective viral marketing by reducing costs, increasing reach, and engaging with the audience.

Ten types of content that will go viral 

1) Puzzles and Riddles 

People enjoy brain teasers and riddles because they are challenging and engaging. With the help of the internet and social media, this is an excellent way for companies to challenge their audience in a fun way. By using puzzles and riddles, companies can reach an even bigger audience.

2) Infographics

Infographics are great types of content for companies aiming to create visual content that is concise, entertaining, and educational. They still provide all the necessary information, but with minimal words and plenty of high-quality images. According to experts, infographics are shared four times more than any other form of content.

3) Motivational content 

Everyone goes through their own daily struggles, and sometimes they need that extra motivation and encouragement to get through the day. Creating content that revolves around positivity, quotes of famous and rich people, proverbs, etc. gives users a feeling of positivity. This also gives the company visibility. Furthermore, it retains the attention of users because of the connection they made to the post. If there is a positive connection, they will most likely repost the content or tell the people around them about it.

4) Personality quizzes 

As dumb as it may sound, personality quizzes are a great content marketing tool that some brands use to attract as many people as possible to the brand. They can also be created to target a specific group.

However, these quizzes also need meaningful results. People enjoy Buzzfeed’s content because of its plethora of quizzes ranging from “What city should you live in?” to “Which Friends character are you?” Users love their content because it presents a fun way to engage with the brand.

5) Lists 

Content that is in a list format is excellent for various reasons. Firstly, this content highlights critical information while also categorizing this information. The great thing about the list format is that while the information is all related somehow, each paragraph of information can be written in a creative way. Only the introduction, body, and conclusion need to follow a standardized format.

6) Case studies 

Sometimes, examples are the best way to explain a concept to someone. Case studies loaded with research-backed information are valued by readers. They also help companies create content that can be grasped more quickly and more easily.

7) “How-To”

One reason for creating content is to provide a solution to problems that users might have. Whether it is how to tie-dye clothing or build a shelf, “how-to” content follows a problem-solution approach. This type of content could help companies attain superior organic search traffic and provide a better chance of appearing higher on search engine results.

8) “Top” post 

Posts titled “Most Popular” or “Top …” tend to be a good source of traffic and usually go viral. Audiences tend to look at content or articles that are most popular because they will most likely gain the most information. Even a post about the top 10 health benefits of drinking warm water received over 3,000 Facebook responses and was reposted around 1500 times.

9) Long-form content 

For an article or guest post to appear at the top of any relevant search results in multiple search engines, the word count needs to be at least 1500 words or more. Even though we tend to have a shorter attention span these days, a well-researched long article holds quite a bit of credibility. This makes it a trusted source of information for readers. Also, by sharing a long-form article, readers can look well-informed and highly intellectual.

10) Human stories 

Readers are human beings, and we have the natural tendency to relate to content that portrays strong emotions. It’s generally in poor taste to exploit someone’s struggles. Rather, the message presented to the audience should be one of kindness, determination, and hope.

How to go viral 

1) Focus on high-quality content before investing 

Brands tend to concentrate on paid advertising instead of focusing on producing creating high-quality content. While it may be challenging to remain consistent and have a brand focus, crafting quality content is the key to brand success. What’s more, the results outweigh the effort if quality content is used correctly. Quality content does not just mean content that is grammatically correct. Rather, this is content that is unique, valuable, instantly engaging, and content that evokes emotion. Not only does the content need to be quality, but it should also offer variety and unique value. This kind of content can lead to constant engagement and loyalty from audiences.

With so many things to consider, sometimes it can be challenging to create unique, quality content. For that reason, PR agencies and experts, like Pressfarm, work with companies to create newsworthy content from press releases to guest posts. By using their extensive PR database of over 1 million journalists and media professionals, companies will also be able to find and connect with their perfect media match to begin a mutually beneficial relationship. Pressfarm’s PR professionals can also help increase the online visibility of a brand by helping them feature in relevant search results in multiple search engines.

2) Know your audience 

Like every other marketing strategy, a company needs to create a niche market and build an audience to connect with. Companies can achieve this by creating different marketing or buyer personas that are detailed representations of their target customer. These personas break down the demographic and psychological characteristics of audiences and their typical social media behaviors. Besides using personas, companies can have conversations with their existing and potential customers to get a better idea of what can be done to interact and share their content online. Once they become familiar with social media behaviors, they can decide what type of content they want to publish and where.

3) Understand the medium 

To understand an audience’s typical social media behaviors, companies need to understand what platforms and mediums their audience uses to obtain information. Understanding what platform a target audience uses most helps a company tailor its message. With this information, a company can also create content that will work on each platform and appeal to the target audience.

4) Partner with influencers 

Social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram have helped influencer marketing become an effective way for brands to reach their target audiences. Social media influencers have a huge fan following and user engagement, depending on their niche market. Companies can partner with influencers who will reiterate a positive brand message for the company. Since influencers value honesty, it’s important to present an authentic brand message.

Even before influencer marketing, partnerships were a vital part of any successful marketing strategy. Partnering with experts helps companies reach audiences that they may not have been able to reach on their own. By reaching out to influencers who are popular with their target audience, companies can cross-promote products and collaborate to create new content.

5) Get content reposted on popular accounts 

As with creating backlinks from a press release or guest post, companies achieve better online visibility and virality if they get their content reposted on popular social media accounts. Ideally, this should be an account that creates related content and has a more extensive audience reach. That way, companies can create content and reach an audience they didn’t previously have access to.

6) Tell a relatable story through content 

Content that evokes emotion and resonates with modern social media users will go viral. By creating content for users to engage with personally, companies have a higher chance of gaining more engagement. This is because people will more than likely share the posts with their friends and engage in the comments if they can relate to the story.

7) Keep it short & to the point 

Modern social media users have a shorter attention span than before. Rather than reading all the way through an article or a book, they tend to look to videos and other visual content when trying to obtain information. Not only do brands have to factor in our shorter attention spans, but they also need to consider the distractions that plague our everyday lives. Thus, the content that companies produce should be easy to read and digestible by users in 10 seconds or less. Posts that are too long, with too much text or videos, have a significant chance of getting ignored by users, lowering the possibility of going viral.

8) Utilize interactive content 

As mentioned in the previous segment of posts that tend to go viral, interactive content is one of the main ways companies can engage with their content. By posting a quiz on Facebook or a poll on an Instagram story, a company can encourage users to engage with this content to voice their opinion about it. Allowing users to comment and share their ideas is a great way to get users involved. It also increases viewership in as many feeds as possible.


Regardless of whether a company is merely trying to get media coverage or reach a larger audience, there is no doubt that social media platforms and influencers have made the idea of “going viral” a reality. While in the past, content was not monitored quite as closely, these days it is. Successful content needs to have many elements to stand out from the crowd. If your content is unique and offers value, then you can not only achieve media coverage but also become a viral sensation.