In a recent post over at popular question-and-answer site Quora, someone asked the following question:

What is the real secret to going viral?

Further elaborating on this question, the author of the post added the following just below it:

“I’m tired of hearing social media & seo because Facebook, Insta, Airbnb, Amazon…didnt go viral because they had a lively twitter account.”

The author was right, of course. Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb and Amazon – along with an array of other successful American enterprises and innovators – didn’t “go viral” as a result of anything like an active and creative Twitter feed. (Although Twitter itself certainly has a lot to thank Twitter for).

But when it comes to the question at the heart of the matter here, just what IS the right response to this person’s deep thought?

The answers offered by others on the site varied, but ours was simple, direct, realistic and straight to the point:

Create awesome and compelling content – period. 

The question actually reminded us here at Amplitude Digital of an old (but memorable) joke. It goes a little something like this…

Every night, a man would pray to win the lottery. He’d get down on his knees, clench his hands into a supplicant prayer position, extend them high to the heavens, and plead, “Please Lord! Let me win the lottery!” The man prayed like this each and every night, for many years. But God never answered his prayers. He never won the lottery.

One evening, after many nights and years of praying, God finally answered the man, sternly thundering down from above, “Do me a favor, pal…BUY A TICKET!”

Well, that’s kind of how viral content works. You have to buy a ticket, or else all the prayer in the world won’t stand a chance of winning you the lottery – not even one of those colorful, cheapo scratch-off ones.

We’re also reminded of the Immortal Words of the Late, Great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson here:

Buy the ticket. Take the ride.

In this case, “buying a ticket” equates to “creating awesome content.”

Sure, there’s some other legwork you can do – and practices you can implement, many of them via social media platforms – to make sure you at least get seen and heard. But all of that falls flat fast if the content doesn’t really catch the attention and tickle the fancy of the fickle, finicky, clouded collective mind of the internet.
We’ve all seen and read countless articles that try and break this whole process down into something scientific, but it just doesn’t answer the question.
Creating great content, however, does.

We addressed this topic in greater detail via a recent post by guest blogger Kelley McGrath.

funnyThe story, entitled “The Best TV Ads Are Going Viral Online,” examined a spate of recent television commercials that have also “gone viral” online, breaking them down into three categories:

*The funny
*The cute
*The touching

The common, cross-category thread among these tv-turned-internet ads?

They were all memorable. Compelling. Creative.

Put simply, they were examples of great content. Even if you may not have connected to any or all of them on a deep, visceral level, only the hardcore “haters” among us could truly “trash” this kind of quality, captivating content.

Do YOU have any examples of content you’ve created that’s “gone viral” you’d like to share with us? Whether it’s content created by you or your business, or something someone else did that you’ve taken part in sharing via social media and email…let us know in the comments section below this blog.

And if you really like this particular post – well, you’re welcome to help make that go viral too.

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