3 Easy Principles to Creating Viral and Super Shareable Content

Viral content is not impossible. It’s essentially carefully crafted highly shareable messages. With enough practice, quality, and patience, you’re sure to create a post that goes viral! It’s a skill that can be learned.

No matter what the medium, the principles of virality are the same:

  1. Make content that is useful or helpful to your audience.
  2. Ensure it is emotional, incorporates your audience, and leaves an impact.
  3. Confirm that it is packaged as a story, with practicality to easily involve your audience.

Not sure where to begin? Let’s break these points down further:


Is it helpful to your audience?


People share what is striking and worthy of attention, mainly because they want to seem wise, by sharing insider information on whatever the topic. This is the social currency in content. They feel brighter by sharing insider knowledge that also helps their audiences.

The self-fulfillment gained by informing others drives people to share informative content. After all, this grows and nourishes our relationships, which is a foundational element of human nature. Making them feel like they’re improving their self-worth will help immensely.

People find quotes, data, and statistics to be trustworthy content grounded in facts that will encourage them to share this insider info. According to a New York Times study, 69% of people share information, so they feel more involved in the world (NYT Insight Group).

To create content that helps your audience, you should ask the following:

  • What are their demographics, and how do they move differently than other audiences?
  • What do they care about? What hashtags and keywords are used by their industry?
  • What topics are controversial in their industry? E.g., What scandalous news about social media will get marketers debating?
  • What did your audience have a positive reaction towards?

If they are supportive about something, you can guess some topics that might spark conversation.

Next, simply add buttons to your page for easy access to sharing. If they have the slightest intent to share, making it effortless will help you tenfold. Also, including CTAs (Calls to action) throughout your content will remind them that they should share it in the first place!

Lastly, what are you trying to help your audience solve? Applicable content, like answers, solutions, and helpful advice, lets others find its value and share it with their audiences, thus increasing the virality of your post.

Utilize their innate human need to connect: 73% of people share in nurturing their relationships with others on social media.

Is it emotional?


Emotional triggers will be the #1 reason your post gets shared. It can be anything that gets someone to think about you regularly, like Geico’s Humpday camel. Every. Single. Wednesday. But it’s essential to consider the context as well, like Rebecca Black’s Friday.

People share because they care. It’s key to focus on feelings over function, like creating high arousal emotions with your content:

E.g., content that represents people’s beliefs will more likely be shared by these people. They will share important things that correspond to one of their beliefs. So here we go again with that human need to connect and share with one another.


Does it include your audience?


Creating audience personas will enable you to identify a few generalizations of who your audience is composed of. Then, you can appeal to their emotions and create helpful content for them. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What are they seeking?
  • Can you imagine any desired responses from different audience personas?

Does it leave an impact?


Before you can leave an impact, you have to gain people’s attention. Therefore, an emotional, captivating headline is vital to create shareable content. From blog posts to social media captions; try these examples:

  • Tease the benefits. Tell them what they will gain or learn from the content (even if the gain is a laugh).
  • Present possible results. Show the impact of reading the content.
  • Be specific. Present what information is included.
  • Highlight lists. Show that content will be easily scannable for readers.
  • Use emotional keywords. Include the best keywords most likely to catch your target audience’s attention.
  • Include numbers. Catch a reader’s attention by sharing how many items are included in your list.
  • Speak in the second person. Call out readers by using words like “you” and “your.”


Is the impact uplifting and positive? Author Jonah Berger conducted a study on a dataset of 7,000 New York Times articles to find articles that uplift people were more likely to be shared than those that saddened readers.

To get a response from people, you should share content that sparks something in their hearts and minds through humor, compassion, and empathy. They will want to inform and share with other people the things that trigger their interests and sentiments.

Also, you can let them identify with the content so they can represent themselves while sharing with others. For example, 68% of people share on socials to define their values to others. So, including emotional and powerful words that resonate with the target audience will likely succeed, especially with hot topics and the latest fads.

E.g., speak about trending topics that reveal a core value that both you and your audience can identify with. They build a trusting relationship with your brand and share your content to represent themselves!


Create a story. But is it practical?


Before the printing press, oral stories were the original medium of sharing information in packages easily remembered. This is why they pull us in and touch our hearts so quickly!

For content marketing on any platform, create little stories organized like this:

Problem -> solution, or difficulty -> resolution.

Stories are packages. Create a narrative people want to tell, and your idea goes along for the ride! The more concise a social media post, the better. People scroll quickly through their feeds and are less likely to read a whole narration. Just stick to the conventions:

  • Twitter: 71-100 characters
  • Instagram: 138-150 characters
  • Facebook: 40-100 characters

Keep it practical: People share packaged knowledge and expertise or news that is useful in your industry. But, remember their self-fulfillment needs to share helpful content as well!


Clearly show how your audience can get involved.


Easy ways to involve your audience are encouraging debate and taking a stance.

  • Create polls and ask for their justifications on Twitter.
  • Poll your followers on your Instagram story and add the Question Sticker for your audience to give their insight.
  • Email surveys to your email list and feature quotes from those who participate for exposure.
  • Ask questions and get their opinions.
  • Just ask them to share. Maybe throw in a freebie as a contest to get them engaging!

Also, we all want to be accepted by others, which is why we’re more inclined to share stuff that has previously received a lot of likes or shares. Think of Reddit’s hivemind bias.


If your content is valuable, emotional, and incorporates your audience, their instinctive need to inform and relate to others will be fulfilled by sharing. Especially if it leaves an impact. Better yet, stories create this impactful message packaged as something simple.

If someone benefits from sharing your content, they’re more likely to do so. So treat your engaged fans well, identify with them and reward them for helping you to spread helpful packaged stories.