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Going Viral: The Science Behind Creating Shareable Content

Unraveling the secrets of shareability, one neuron at a time

By Ali LiaquatPublished 6 months ago 4 min read
Going Viral: The Science Behind Creating Shareable Content
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

In a world where attention is currency, a viral piece of content is the holy grail. It dances in the minds of creators, marketers, and dreamers alike, beckoning them to unlock its secrets. But what if the answer lies not in the content itself, but in the way we're wired?

Let's embark on a journey through the science of shareability, guided by the wisdom of Seth Godin and the logic of human nature.

The Purple Cow Effect

Seth Godin, marketing maestro and storytelling sage, once coined the term "Purple Cow" to illustrate the power of standing out in a sea of sameness. The idea is simple: if you saw a purple cow amongst a herd of ordinary cows, you'd stop and take notice.

The same applies to shareable content. To create a viral sensation, your content must be remarkable. It must possess a unique quality that sets it apart from the mundane, igniting a spark in the minds of those who encounter it.

Leveraging the Zeigarnik Effect

In the 1920s, a Soviet psychologist named Bluma Zeigarnik made a fascinating discovery: people are more likely to remember incomplete tasks or interrupted actions. This phenomenon, dubbed the Zeigarnik Effect, can be a powerful tool in your quest for shareability.

Craft your content to pique curiosity, leaving your audience craving more. Whether it's a cliffhanger ending, an unresolved question, or a promise of future insights, leave them wanting more, and they'll be compelled to share your work.

By Gareth Harper on Unsplash

Emotions: The Great Amplifier

Aristotle once said, "Man is by nature a social animal." We are hardwired to connect with others, and one of the most potent ways to do so is through shared emotions. By tapping into this universal truth, you can create content that resonates on a deeper level.

Stories that evoke powerful emotions – joy, awe, surprise, or even anger – are more likely to be shared. Ensure your content has an emotional core, and your audience will naturally want to share it with others as a way of reinforcing those feelings.

The Bandwagon Effect: Harnessing Social Proof

"People do what they see others doing." This simple insight, known as the Bandwagon Effect, lies at the heart of many viral sensations. Social proof plays a significant role in shaping our behavior, and this knowledge can be used to amplify your content's shareability.

Encourage sharing by showcasing the popularity of your content. Display share counts, highlight testimonials, or promote social media engagement. The more people see others sharing, the more likely they are to jump on the bandwagon themselves.

By NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Making Ideas Stick: The Rule of Simplicity

In their book "Made to Stick," Chip and Dan Heath revealed that one of the key ingredients for making ideas memorable is simplicity. The more complex a concept, the less likely it is to be shared.

To create shareable content, aim for simplicity. Communicate your ideas clearly and concisely, using relatable analogies and vivid examples. Stripping away the unnecessary will leave your audience with a memorable core idea, one they'll be eager to share.

In Conclusion: The Viral Alchemy

Viral content is not a happy accident, nor is it solely the product of luck. It's an artful blend of psychology, emotion, and human connection. By understanding and leveraging these principles, you can create content that not only captures the imagination of your audience but inspires them to share it far and wide.

And when that happens, you'll have achieved the alchemy of virality, transcending the limits of your own reach and leaving a lasting impact on the digital landscape.

So, go forth and experiment with these strategies. Transform your ideas into Purple Cows, leverage the Zeigarnik Effect, evoke emotions, harness social proof, and embrace simplicity. In doing so, you'll not only create content that resonates with your audience but also set the stage for a viral phenomenon.

Remember, the key to creating shareable content is understanding the science behind it, but never losing sight of the human element. Keep your audience's needs and desires at the core of your work, and you'll be well on your way to unlocking the secrets of going viral.

Happy creating!

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About the Creator

Ali Liaquat

Blogging, marketing, and all things digital since dial-up. When I'm not glued to my laptop, I'm probably exploring the great outdoors or pretending to be a sommelier :)

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