Viral Content Marketing and the Human Desire to Share

In our social media obsessed world, we all want the secret to viral marketing. Is there a formula to viral marketing? Is it purely a matter of luck? For these two common questions, the answer is the same: sometimes.

Viral content is sometimes a matter of luck.

At least that was the case for notorious Sweet Brown during her interview about a fire at her apartment complex. Her infamous line, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” earned Sweet Brown not only millions of views and shares on social media but a spot on a local dentist commercial, too. Sweet Brown’s epic punch line even warranted an autotune remix – a hilarious song that went just as viral as the original video. But the videos never intended to go viral. It just happened.

Viral content is sometimes a formula, too.

Popular sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed are perfect examples of modern content creators with the concept of virality down to a T. Their virality formula is what you would expect: create and publish epic content that provokes a strong emotional reaction – positive or negative. Plain, simple and totally effective.

Shareworthy Content as a Science

Sometimes virality is neither a matter of luck nor a formula – but a science. In fact, a certain area of the brain – known as the Temporal Parietal Junction – activates when we decide to share something.
Our natural compulsion to share something may be directly related to how much we believe others will enjoy it. According to the Temporal Parietal Junction, content must not only be interesting but also provide value to someone else – in terms of appeal, enjoyability and usefulness – in order to be shareworthy.

How Marketers Manipulate the Desire to Share

Psychiatrists and other medical professionals understand the science of viral content – but so do marketers. Viral content translates to successful marketing campaigns. Here’s how a typical marketer might go viral by manipulating the Temporal Parietal Junction, or shareworthy area of the brain:

  • Make the reader look/feel good.
  • Introduce hot topics on everyone’s mind.
  • Develop an emotional connection and why you should care.
  • Prove everyone else is doing it.
  • Provide practical value and helpfulness to others.
  • Tell an interesting story.

Putting It All Together

Understanding the human desire to share and manipulating the shareworthy area of the brain, modern marketers go to great lengths to ensure content is shared optimally across the social sphere. The most successful viral content marketers consider their audience and its motivation to share – so that the message spreads like wildfire from one social media network to another. Mother always taught you sharing was caring – and today, more marketers care about your desire to share than ever before.

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