10 Tips for How to Go Viral Online

How to Make Your Stuff Go Viral Online

Everyone wants more traffic, more views, more subscribers, more followers. more likes and more comments from as many people as they can reach online. If you can get something to go viral on the internet, you can get a lot of exposure in a small amount of time without much effort.

It takes the right kind of content, the right timing and the right people who first discover it to get that viral spark. Most would argue it just takes a whole lot of luck too.

It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. Here are 10 tips you'll want to keep in mind when trying to get something to go viral.

01
of 10

Focus on current events and trends.

Man sitting in a restaurant and reading a newspaper
ONOKY - Julien de Wilde / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

If something is current, you have a better chance of getting your content viewed because people are searching for it on Google, on Twitter and everywhere else. Keep an eye on the Google News section and check out Google Trends. And news breaks first almost always on Twitter, so pay attention to trending keywords and hashtags.

02
of 10

Make a really great video.

Photo © Tim Robberts

There are no rules on what format your content should be in order for it to go viral, but videos are a big part of the web, and they get shared like crazy all over social media. If you upload a video to YouTube, Vimeo or even Facebook and get discovered by others who like what they see, they may do all the promotion for you by sharing it all over their own social networks.

03
of 10

Be mindful of keywords and tags.

Photo © Darin Mickey

This is important for your content to get discovered. Keep in mind that people are typing in keywords and phrases to search for stuff, so you want your content to come up in the results. Make sure you have as many keywords as you can fit in the headline, description and throughout the text body if it has more written content. Platforms like YouTube, Tumblr, and Twitter also make use or tags or hashtags, which can also help you show up in search results.

04
of 10

Miraculously attract the attention of a big influencer.

Photo © George Doyle

Content often goes viral because a celebrity or at least a big influence (a.k.a. some kind of high-profile individual with a large online following) comes across it and shares it with their massive audience. In fact, this is how Rebecca Black’s Friday video went viral. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get noticed by someone big and famous. You can bug them a lot by tweeting to them on Twitter and hoping for the best, but there are no guarantees they'll notice you.

05
of 10

Launch a contest.

Photo © Brand New Images

Contests are wonderful for spreading the word about something. If you can give away something of value and offer people a chance to win, this can act as a bribe to get people to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter and even get them to tweet about the contest or post it on Facebook to pull even more people in. A lot of social media campaigns make good use of contests and giveaways to keep their current audience engaged and attract new people.

06
of 10

Use your great sense of humor.

Photo © Brand New Images

People love to laugh and are more than happy to share something that’s ridiculously funny, so if you have a creative knack for comedy, you may be able to get quite a bit of attention and viral sharing just by being hilarious. BuzzFeed, which specializes in viral content, often posts lists of funny photos and other stuff that get people laughing. If your stuff is funny enough, you could get featured on BuzzFeed and lots of other big blogs too.

07
of 10

Dare to be shocking and controversial.

Photo © ballyscanlon

If you’re okay with going viral for something that's not so positive —and you're fine with possibly being badly criticized, disliked or even hated a little, you could decide to surprise your audience or comment on a controversial issue. When strong emotion is sparked from viewing a piece of content, people naturally want to share it to see how their friends will react to it too. Good or bad, it can still go viral!

08
of 10

Use as much visual content as possible.

Photo © Paul Viant

The attention span of the average web surfer is getting shorter and shorter, so you have a better chance of catching the eyes of people with a bold photo or a great GIF rather than with a big block of text. Now, we have major platforms that are almost entirely dedicated to pushing around visual content — like Tumblr and Pinterest. Facebook also makes photos look very large in the news feed now, so people are more likely to notice it.

09
of 10

Submit your content to Reddit.

Photo © John Rensten

If you can get on the front page of Reddit, you could get thousands upon thousands of views. Other users will upvote or downvote your submitted piece of content, and the more upvotes it gets, the more it will be pushed to the front of the page. It’s tricky, however, and we recommend that you take the time to get involved in the Reddit community first before just simply submitting links to your stuff for self-promotion. Reddit actually frowns a lot on submitting your own stuff.

10
of 10

Don't create the same old stuff that gets shared all the time.

Photo © Sharon Dominick

Last but not least, you can’t expect anything to get picked up by a significant audience if it’s just rehashed content with a mediocre message. To go viral, you need to do something that’s never been done before. You have to get people excited and offer them something that can affect their feelings strongly enough that it makes them want to share your content with their social networks. In other words, you have to hit them right in the emotions. That’s what it takes if you want to go viral these days.