6 Building Blocks for Creating Viral Content


Let’s face it: no matter how great you were in high school, you probably weren’t ever going to make it as a star NFL player or land the leading role in an HBO mega-hit series (sorry, Mom). Creating viral content might seem just as out-of-reach. While it’s definitely a white whale for business owners and content creators, you can break down the elements of a viral video or post, incorporate them into your strategy, and launch your social media stardom. Here are the six things you can do to create stellar content and increase your odds of going viral.


Find your target audience, research your demographics, learn which platforms they’re active on, blah blah blah– we know. We talk about knowing your target audience a lot. But that’s because it’s one of the most basic and important principles in business, marketing, and, you guessed it, creating viral content that resonates. Are you going to hit a win with “3 Tax-advantaged Ways to Sell Your Vacation Home” if your followers are primarily debt-ridden college students? Probably not. Content is more likely to go viral when it matches the needs or values of your target audience. Not sure what will entice your people to like and share the crap out of your content? Learn who they are, where they’re at (online, geographically, and in life), and what’s important to them. Start here to find your target audience.


Content goes viral when it evokes a strong emotional response. It only takes one mention of “Sarah McLachlan” to fill your head with depressingly adorable, crying puppies while “In the Arms of the Angels” plays softly in the background. It doesn’t matter if you just rolled your eyes or reached for the tissues. You had a strong emotional response, and there’s about a 99.9% chance you’ve seen the video in question. An emotional reaction drove millions of people to share and talk about this commercial, catapulting it into the viral stratosphere (it currently has 3.6m views on YouTube). What emotion do you want clients and prospects to associate with your brand? Trust? Relatability? Friendliness? Competence? Key in on those emotions and create content that makes your target audience feel understood. Tug a few heartstrings, make them laugh, or remind them that #MondayMood keeps you chugging coffee too.


Is your content helpful, relevant, or insightful enough to make viewers want to share it with their friends? Viral content is often relatable tips and tricks in easily shareable formats- think how-to’s or behind-the-curtain-type insider takes. You’re even more likely to go viral if your content piggybacks off of a hot topic (hello, AI/student debt crisis/inflation). Almost 9% of total internet users are the driving force behind 4/5ths of total content shares. Creating useful and timely content helps you appeal to these “super sharers” and let them do the heavy lifting. Crafting helpful content is also a great way to show value to prospects and clients while reminding them you’re on their team. Try creating content along the lines of “5 Questions Your Financial Advisor Wants You to Ask” or “How to Help Your Heirs Avoid Probate.”


You can’t time the market, but you can time your content! Up your odds of viral content by posting the right type of content to the right platform at the right time. This goes back to knowing your audience. What do they care about, and which social media platforms do they frequent? Once you’ve got the facts on lockdown, post on the right day at the right time. Harvard Business Review cites Wednesday as the top day users share content (grab a full breakdown of the best times to post by platform/day/hour here). Wondering if your reach and engagement are where they need to be? Grab our downloadable on social media benchmarks just for advisors.


That grainy graphic is not going to help you on your quest to create viral content. Looking like a pro ties into making yourself useful- if your content looks like your cousin’s neighbor’s kid designed it in Microsoft Paint, viewers aren’t likely to consider you a trustworthy source of information and share what you post. Spamming your socials with a flurry of content can also make you look unprofessional. Go for quality over quantity.


So far, all of these tips for creating viral content can get you in the right room but won’t necessarily make you stand out. Loads of content exists that’s created and backed by professional marketing companies to check all the boxes. But there’s a natural advantage you can tap into: authenticity. Using your voice in your content creation means no one else is going to sound exactly like you, which is crucial for success in an industry built on relationships. That’s why we’re such big fans of helping advisors find their voice and creating custom content for them using real people. Share your quirks, humor, values, pets, and your journey, and let your audience get to know you.

Going viral might not be a sure bet, but improving your content isn’t rocket science. Need a partner to help you find your voice, build intentional relationships with your target audience, and create out-of-this-world content?

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