The 7 Secrets of Viral Marketing

The 7 Secrets of Viral Marketing

Professional poker players don’t win every hand; they don’t even win half the hands they take part in. But they are long-term winners. So how do they do it?

Long-term winners know their statistics and have honed their strategies in such a way that makes the random seem predictable.

The same goes for virality. No one can predict what will go viral and what will not. However, those who can deconstruct what virality is, and examine how viral content works, have a higher chance to become viral.

Enter viral marketing - and its seven secrets.

1. Stay Ahead of the Curve with these Tools

Tools are important, so it’s time to upgrade your toolkit and know what is going around the hood.

So here are a few tools to get you started!

Well, have you ever wondered what could be trending right now? I think we got the answer for you. In fact, this is not only about marketing trends but what people are into right now in general.

Focusing closely on why something is going viral will play a big role in your viral marketing success.

As Douglas Van Praet -author- wrote in Fast Company:

The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!

NewsWhip Spike

This is a Viral News aggregator that has news that is mostly shared on social media. If something is shared on social media, then probably you, as a marketer, need to give it your attention.

It does not matter if it’s silly. Content like that is exactly what your viral marketing campaigns need.

Similar to the website mentioned above, Popurls is a news aggregator that features the most shared pieces of content from all the major news platforms.

What is popular on youtube

Undoubtedly, video is one of the dominant content forms right now.

According to video producer Garth Haley, 87% of online marketers use video content.

The video format is the king of formats right now - and will probably stay that way for the next few years. is a very sneaky way to be in the spotlight and boost your own viral marketing campaign at the same time.

So, first, you have to find some Viral content. Then, you can promote said content, but what does is adding a CTA button that leads back to your own content! Wow. 

2. Figure Out & Segment Your Target Audience

Viral Marketing means finding the “right” people, who like the “right” content so much that they want to share it with their friends. Therefore, in the beginning, you need to focus on segmenting your customers. Remember, it takes no more than a smaller number of think-alike people to ignite a viral-boom.

You can base your segmenting according to parameters and qualities such as:

  • Demographics
  • Geography
  • Type of customer
  • Psychographics 
  • Lifestyles

Try experimenting with those and see what works best for you and your business.

In fact, you can:

  • Post different times throughout the day
  • Experiment with different pieces of content & promotions of your product
  • Use features like Global Pages on Facebook 
  • Use paid ads

With good research on your industry, metrics from all the above, and a little bit of intuition, you will be ready to start injecting virality into your life - or rather let the right people inject it.

3. Use An All-in-One Viral Marketing Platform

Is there such a thing as a ‘viral marketing platform’? Yes, there is!

Viral Loops is the most popular platform which made viral itself for the first time in Product hunt, where it took place among the top tech products (the other ones being slack & Snapchat).

So what does Viral Loops do?

Viral Loops allows you to build quickly and easily referral campaigns. These campaigns come in the form of sweepstakes, giveaways, and competitions. It is these campaigns what incentivizes people to share their participation via social media, Messenger or email and get their friends into the fun as well to increase their chances to win

It’s a great tool for mouth-to-mouth campaigns, and it’s also known for its user-friendliness, its customizability, and its insights and reports it can give you.

4. The Skyscraper Technique

If you know about SEO, you know Brian Dean.

Brian Dean and this team at Backlinko are responsible for some of the most thorough guides and case studies in the marketing and SEO world. 

One of these case studies was back in 2016 called The Skyscraper Technique. It’s one of the best case studies out there, and it’s about Brian managing to generate 17,584 visitors in one day with Viral Marketing.

Two years later, he came up with The Skyscraper Technique v2.0

In short, the technique involves finding a successfully published piece of content and then proceed to: 

  • Upgrade with it other sources as well
  • Add your own value & experience
  • Change the visual(s) of the content to match your own style and identity
  • Different title based on keyword research
  • SEO optimization 

There are many ways you can do this, but I would strongly suggest going for the following tools that you might recognize - especially if you are an SEO freak. These tools will help you find the most shared content, keyword ideas, etc.

For example, in the case of Buzzsumo, you enter the keyword which you want to aim for, and what you get are the most shared content pieces. Then, you can crossover your results with Google search and even use a backlink explorer, like Moz or Ahrefs, to see which keywords some sites ranked for.

5. Emotions can be as Sweet as Coconut Flavored Chocolate

Emotion brings attention, and attention brings virality.

There are a plethora of emotions, such as:

  • Amazement
  • Curiosity
  • Humour
  • Interest
  • Admiration

People are more likely to share emotionally-charged content. But what if I told you that you could emotionally charge someone not only by the content itself but also through the way you present it?

One of the best ways to achieve that is through headlines. Be creative with your titles, and try to make your audience feel something. Also, keep in mind that a lot of people share a piece of content just by the headline - and without even opening it.

A study from the Washington Post reveals that 6 in 10 people will share a piece of content just by reading the headline.

Most of us do judge a book by its cover, it seems.

6. Distribution & Timing

Distribution of the content is as important as the content per se.

Increasing your reach organically or otherwise should be a top priority.

There are 3 time-based criteria:

  • Time of day
  • Specific Day of week
  • Around Certain Eventful periods

The folks over at TrackMaven have an amazing guide, which sheds some light on when to post and give tips that brake down to 75 industries.

Last but not least, when it comes to distribution, remember to always use all possible channels and outlets. There’s more than Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram:

  • Email Marketing
  • Social
  • Widgets within site
  • Paid Advertisement
  • Affiliates
  • Communities

7. Make your Content Downloadable

Ok, we all get that our content needs to be shareable. If you use Wordpress, then you can find a lot of plugins that can help you with that - with share buttons and the like

But why does your content need to be downloadable in the first place?

Giving the option to users to download and share your content via PDFs can be a powerful lead magnet. This becomes even more important if your content has the potential to go viral.

Not only that, but you can use PDF downloads to grow your mailing list.


Viral Marketing is, in fact, something that we all aim for, whether we are in the B2B or B2C sector. Time has changed indeed, but word of mouth is still alive and kicking. So you better know how to take advantage of that.

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  • Gloria Lee

    Very interesting

  • Tom Jackson

    Excellent article

  • Holly Ali

    Fascinating insight

  • Adam Bartlett

    Great info!

  • James Redman

    Awesome, makes a lot of sense to me.

  • Anthony Morton

    So insightful

  • Chris Renton

    Amazing piece of information.

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Vasilii Chekalov

Tech Expert

Vasilii Chekalov is a computer geek with great affinity for healthy lifestyle and weights. While not at the gym, his inquisitive mind devours information about digital marketing, outreach strategies and growth hacks. Master organizer, he knows the Α and the Ω of potent and enticing virtual presence.

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