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Why Isn’t My Content Going Viral?

Bare with me here and you’ll have a much better understanding of the proper content creation process…

In a nutshell, there are four reasons, each with their own nuances, that would explain why nobody cares about your content.

1. You don’t have an intuitive feel for what people like to share or respond to.

2. You didn’t think of something that you legitimately wanted to see brought to fruition.

3. You didn’t produce your content to its original vision.

And/or…

4. You didn’t put your content in the right places with the right spin.

Most people think their video/image/song/article/startup (yes, these four reasons can apply to even entrepreneurship) isn’t going viral because of 4 when in reality it’s most likely 1 or 2.

1. You don’t have an intuitive feel for what people like to share or respond to.

Good content starts with a deep understanding of what people like and respond to. It starts with an unconscious grasp of what mental triggers get people interested.

This isn’t something that people are born with, it’s something they develop.

When I was in High School, I created a video of me getting hit by sports balls in my parents’ basement, put it in 3x slow motion, and set it to T.I.s ‘What You Know.’ I threw it up on YouTube, back when the platform was just emerging as a place to watch fun videos, and then was disappointed when I didn’t become famous.

I thought the reason for this was 4 so I spent the day refreshing the video 3,000 times and getting it into the “most viewed today” section of YouTube. This got it only 500 or so legitimate views, which was nowhere near what popular videos were getting at the time.

My content was in the right place to be seen by people who would share it with their friends- the “most viewed today” section was a great place for that, but still, nobody cared.

It took a few days of constant refreshing, but I eventually came to the disheartening realization that my content was doing poorly not because it was in the wrong place, but because it wasn’t an appealing piece of content.

I didn’t have an intuitive feel for what people liked.

That’s changed now, but at the time it was the cause of a lot of frustration in my life.

Nonetheless, once I started liking the same things other people were liking, it still took me a while to create my first piece of content that was of value.

Why?

2. You didn’t think of something that you legitimately wanted to see brought to fruition.

The second major cause for a piece of content not being shareable is that it wasn’t created from the heart.

This is a very popular phrase but what does it actually mean?

Well in my instance, it meant that I was still creating content, not so I could see what it would look like if realized, but so I could be famous.

I’m not saying you can’t create something of value if it’s not created with the utmost passion (that happens all the time), but I am saying that if you don’t have the utmost passion, and you don’t have a pre-existing audience who’s already bought in, people just aren’t going to care.

Let me make this clear:

If you don’t already have a following who wants to see new content from you, then an uninspired video/song/image/startup/article isn’t going to get any attention at all.

You need to be inspired. My biggest successes have come from me originally saying, “Oh! That would be so cool/funny. Ohhhh I have to do this,” and not from me saying, “I need to create something that’s going to make me rich/famous.”

If you feel like you have both a strong taste in what others like and an inspired idea, then the next possible reason for you not experiencing your desired success is:

3. You didn’t produce your content to its original vision.

Basically, you didn’t execute the project correctly.

If you produce something that looks or sounds or feels different from your original vision, then you’re not actually producing your original good idea.

In early 2014, I was responsible for producing a video about two high-fashion models doing challenges from the Internet. My friend conceptualized the idea, and I really liked it and wanted to see it brought to fruition. We produced the video, but had tons of challenges along the way: our original models canceled on us at the last minute, the make up artists messed up, and the director of photography didn’t take enough time to prepare.

The video we made was nowhere close to what was originally conceptualized- if it was, I still believe that it would have gone viral.

We screwed up with the execution.

We didn’t produce our content to its original vision.

However, if we had, and everything met the previous three requirements, then the final reason for us not being shared all over the web would be…

4. You didn’t put your content in the right places with the right spin.

Out of all 4 reasons for your content failing, this is actually the least likely one (and, unfortunately, the most nuanced one).

I consider myself to be very good at spinning bad content into great content, but even I will say that it’s much easier to make something popular when the idea is good to begin with.

The depth that exists with this reason is way beyond the scope of this particular essay, but I’ll give an example of when this ACTUALLY was the case.

Back in 2011, my friend and I set an illegal driving record in NYC and produced a short video about it. I knew the video had the potential to go viral, but at the time of its production, had no idea how to show it to the right people.

A year after the video’s release, I learned about some things I could do to publicize it and then used that information to get it onto the front page of jalopnik.com for a full two days. This got it onto the front pages of other online publications and made it somewhat viral (we even got investigated by federal authorities!).

In this instance, the video wasn’t completely the problem- it just wasn’t being shown to the right people. However, again, this is rarely the reason for a piece of content failing.

I believe that any piece of bad content can be spun into great content, but I also know that this isn’t optimal and, often times, is much harder to do than just creating something that’s good to begin with.

Again, honestly ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you have an intuitive feel for what people like to share or respond to? If you can frequently make a post that does well on platforms like 4chan or Reddit, then the answer to this question is yes.

If you answered yes, then the next question you have to answer honestly is this:

2. Did you think of something that you legitimately wanted to see brought to fruition?

If you did, then next ask yourself this (and be hyper critical in your answer!):

3. Did you execute the actual production of your content to its original vision?

And finally, if all of those are a resounding, “Yes!”, then rather than learning how to create good content, you just need to learn basic marketing.

Thanks to Justin Gilbert Alba.

Why Isn’t My Content Going Viral? was last modified: November 7th, 2017 by