Creating viral content: a short guide


Creating viral content isn’t a matter of luck. Neither is it magic. Rather, there’s a formula to the phenomenon. 

Every business aspires to go viral. But in order to go viral, your product or service must answer a few questions. Why should customers share your content? Have you made it easy for customers to share your message? Is your product or service worth talking about? 

Typically, the products and services that go viral are the ones that resonate with people. The product’s message must entice users to share something that’s worth sharing. Unless you’re relying on paid advertisements to get your product in front of eyeballs, you’ll have to rely on your users to spread the word for you. 

Think of ways to incorporate advertising into your product. Consider other businesses that have succeeded at this task (hint: ‘refer a friend and get $10 when your friend makes his or her first purchase’ is one way to start). 

Dropbox: a case study

Dropbox, the cloud-based information hosting service, faced a dilemma after securing its first set of customers. To secure its next stage of growth, however, the company looked to paid advertising and quickly learned that it was punishingly expensive with a consumer acquisition cost of $200-$400 per customer. 

Over the course of the next year, the founders struggled to find their next growth engine. In collaboration with famed growth hacker Sean Ellis, Dropbox managed to build a powerful yet elegantly simple referral engine. The solution was as simple as placing a “get free space” button on the front page of the service. 

Now, users instantly received an extra 500mb of space for every friend that they invited and successfully signed up to the service. The result: signups increased by 60%, translating into 2.8 million direct invites a month.


To go viral, your product must be shareable and must have a built-in reason that triggers people to share. In this sense, creating viral content is not a matter of luck. You’ve got to create your own luck to succeed.

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