Want Your Content to Go Viral? Here’s How You Can Increase Your Odds

content to go viral

Viral marketing means free marketing – or at least that’s what a lot of marketers think. But it isn’t always the case if you want to get the best possible results from your viral marketing efforts.

It doesn’t mean that you have to make a huge investment. But there are paid options out there that allow you to improve the odds of viral success.

Mike Templeman, CEO of Foxtail Marketing wrote in a post on VentureBeat:

“Just because it went viral doesn’t mean it did so for free. If you’ve created a video, you can pay for placements on YouTube. If you wrote a compelling blog post, you can promote it via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Regardless of what you’ve created, there’s a platform that will allow you to promote it for relatively cheap. If you’re good and you spend the time on it, you can have thousands of eyeballs on your marketing message for the cost of a can of soda.”

Yes, it is possible for you to create some content for free and have it go viral without any paid promotions. But that would require great content, perfect timing, and a lot of luck.

You spend a lot of time creating content that you think has the potential to go viral. So it can be a huge disappointment, not to mention a waste of resources, not to give that content a chance to reach as large an audience as possible.

If a small investment can get your fantastic content in front of more eyes, isn’t it worthy of consideration?

Paying for placement on social media sites and similar outlets isn’t a guaranteed strategy for getting your content to go viral, either. But it certainly increases the odds. And once your content gets in front of that initial set of eyes, that’s where the potential for going viral really begins.

If your content is share-worthy, then those who saw it because of your paid promotion are likely to share it with others. You can stop paying for placement and continue to reap the benefits of that initial investment as your content’s reach grows.

You can’t buy viral success. It still takes great content and timing. But there are ways you can improve your odds in the luck department. To give your content a better chance, consider investing in it the way you’d invest in the rest of your business. You might be surprised at the results.

Viral Photo via Shutterstock


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

11 Reactions
  1. Think of paid promotion as the kick-start for a motorcycle engine. Once you get it running it can go really fast, but you need that kick-start to get the motor running. And Annie’s right, it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

    • So true – it’s not something that you need to keep paying for over and over. But a small initial investment can really help to get the ball rolling.

  2. One can always conduct pilot experiments. If paying a small fee really gets you good results, then the investment is absolutely worth it.

    • Yes, I’m sure it works differently for different types of businesses, but starting small and seeing how it goes can certainly be beneficial.

  3. I’ve never paid for promotion. However, I do like the idea of using it to gain momentum, like pushing a car that won’t initially start. That suggestion’s actually making me re-think, so thanks.

    • Great! I think a lot of people choose to refrain from any paid promotions, since part of the allure of social media is that it’s usually free, but I think for the right content it could really help.

  4. It all boils down to creating content that is so useful or interesting (like in the ALS ice bucket challenge) that people cannot help but share it. That is how viral content is born.

    • I also think it’s about getting it in front of people. Because your content can be fabulous, useful and interesting, but if no one knows it’s there, it gets nowhere.

    • Yes, it definitely has to be useful first. If it’s great content that people will want to share on their own, then a small investment could just help get it in front of a few initial set of eyes.