How to Create Viral Content: 4 Characteristics of a Viral Content

Have you wondered how some content gains incredible popularity whilst some does not despite still being a valuable and authentic piece of information? Many brands today are trying to leverage on the trend of going “Viral” to bring in a spike in awareness and website traffic.  Constant Contact Lead Gen and CRM spoke with its expert Chee Seng, business coach and writer, who shared his view on viral content traits.

Let’s find out what are his main insights when it comes to creating contents with high sharing potential.

Chee Seng
Chee Seng, content writer and content writing trainer.

“Viral content – marketing asset that quickly generates a lot of attention and spreads around the internet.”

There are 4 common characteristics shared by the vast majority of viral content, according to Chee Seng.

1. Amazing, Fun, Amusing

According to a report  by We Are Social – DIGITAL 2021, finding funny and entertaining content is one of the top reasons for using social media. Humans are led by emotions and they often find relief from daily routines and stress by consuming content which makes them switch their focus or feel happier. 

Making your content amazing, fun and amusing will increase its engagement and ultimately brings you closer to the possibility of becoming viral.

“People share things they have strong emotional reactions to, especially strong positive reactions. Rosanna Guadagno, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Dallas.”

2. Aids in presenting oneself attractively to others


As a part of the society and a group, people want to look good: wise, generous and caring. That’s why content which helps them to reach this goal will get more attention. Specific examples of such content can be inspirational stories (wise), important updates and events (caring about the group), practical tips (contributing to people’s lives).   

3. Contains Lists or Infographics / Contains Visual Aid


The human mind always tries to save energy and leans towards effectiveness. Information provided in a structured form such as images or lists makes us perceive and understand the content quicker. In other words, the easier information can be digested the better. Presenting information in the form of an infographic, brings it close to an image. Meanwhile lists give the reader a sense of control over their time, feeling of predictability and triggers the fear of missing out (FOMO), as the reader will try to avoid worrying the feeling of missing important information in the article.

Did you know?

Photos are the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with a 87% interaction, compared to other posts with just 4% engagement rate. 

Source: SocialMediaExaminer, 2014 

4. Contains credible information


No one wants to look foolish or embarrassed, instead people want to feel comfortable and secure. That’s why people more willingly share content from trusted sources with known positive reputation. However, being a source with an established reputation is not the only way to gain an audience as the content must also be perceived as reliable and factual. A good way of creating credible content is by referencing bigger and more reputable publications in the market. For example, you can quote trusted sources that support your idea, or show that the article consists of thorough research. Chee Seng gives an example of his first viral article “10 English Words You Didn’t Know Had Malaysian Roots”, and how it illustrates the obvious amount of research made to prove the origin of the words supported the trustworthiness of the whole text.


Although the likelihood of a content going viral can be very rare, it is still important for content creators to continue creating contents with the four characteristics above to increase the probability of going viral. 

What's next for you?

Do try using the suggested characteristics above to create viral contents for your company but keep in mind that you can’t completely control the outcome. The ultimate test of your content’s success will be how well it resonates with your audience and whether or not they feel it’s worth sharing

Meanwhile, there are marketing assets where you can reach better efficiency by applying the best practices and avoiding the most common mistakes. Read our Guide: Best Practices for B2B Landing Page and make sure your landing pages are sharpened for the better conversion.

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