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How To Engineer Virality

While speaking at an event recently, I was asked if virality on digital platforms is luck or if it can be engineered.

I said that it can be engineered.

I also discussed this further during a recent monthly Content Creation Coaching call for my One Million Views Club. My creative director, Naveen, and I provided insight about how successful creators engineer virality. The conversation included analysis of content from major influencers Prince EA and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Let me start by being clear that finding a formula to help drive virality can take time, and what works can vary for each person.

Major influencers, like Gary and Prince EA, have gone through many iterations of content to determine what distinctly works for them. To truly succeed on digital platforms, you need to do the same.

However, here are two tactics that we’ve found can work somewhat universally:

Trademark Feel

Successful creators have signature aspects of their content that their audiences grow connected to. We refer to this as “Trademark Feel.”

Prince EA has a trademark cadence. Gary Vaynerchuk has trademark energy. Naveen leveraged it when creating food content with a trademark look. It helps keep your followers engaged in all of your content beyond the initial, landmark piece that gets their attention.

Subvert Expectations

Viral content typically has a nuanced angle that is unexpected and gets people to take notice. It’s a technique known as “misdirection,” used by comedians in joke construction. The more you can surprise your audience, the more they’ll stay engaged.

For example, Gary Vaynerchuck was asked for life advice and responded, “That’s a stupid question.” It was completely unexpected, and made his audience want to know more.

Brands like Dollar Shave Club, Axe, and Purple Mattress have all created viral campaigns using the same strategy.

To leverage it with your own content, think about how you can create a trademark feel, and ways to surprise your audience. Then, experiment and test to find what works. This post about creating your hook point may also be helpful to you.