What It Means To Go ‘Viral’

Social icons over an image of Edward on a cliff

What It Means To Go ‘Viral’

Part of the reason I’ve created these essays is because in my personal journey to make viral content, I’ve come across far too many articles misusing the word, ‘viral.’

If you’ve ever put out a piece of content which has disappointed you with a poor response and researched how to change this, then you’ve come across these articles too.

Let’s get this straight, making something that’s viral and spinning something so that it has a catchy headline or hook are two different things.

Going viral, first and foremost, means being shared.

It’s when you and/or your piece of content are shared with friends, are shared with media organizations, are shared on social media…

People feel compelled to share and your content gets spread beyond just your pre-existing followers.

It DOES NOT mean creating an advertising campaign around something designed to get more people to merely “click on” or engage with your piece of content.

You don’t want people to just consume what you’ve created, you want them to share it with others.

There are varying degrees of virality. You could have a piece that’s shared within a particular niche, like automobile lovers or painters or programmers, or you could have a piece that breaks niche boundaries.

“Niche viral” and “Mainstream viral.”

Both of these types of virality have different purposes, and both are important.

Niche viral gains more interest from people already in your niche and, most of the time, strengthens the perception of you, your business, or your product.

Niche viral is more effective at strengthening perception than mainstream viral. Mainstream viral, however, drives more traffic, introduces new people to your particular niche, and sets you, to people who don’t know your niche, as more of a leader in your field than you may actually be.

Most people assume that they want to go mainstream viral. Not always the case. It could actually be better for you to create something so effectively nuanced that your particular niche responds to it more, giving you a market lead.

Understand that niche viral responds to nuance and mainstream viral doesn’t understand the nuances of your niche.

The principles of how to create viral (shareable) content still apply to both of these types of virality, just one responds to nuance way better than the other.

All the articles that I’ve come across on this topic haven’t touched upon any of this. They don’t teach people how to create content that people want to share, they teach people how to market crappy content.

Edward Sturm

Edward Sturm is an SEO and video and image producer.

Latest posts by Edward Sturm (see all)