Developing a Viral Content

I was jolted by Feyi while in bed, whatever I was dreaming seemed more interesting than the uproar about to welcome me, and the angry expression on my face was followed by his muttered apologies. “Draw the pillow closely to your ears and curl tightly to the wall,” I thought smiling to myself and you would be back at wherever you stopped. Alas, the laughter in the room with the steaming chorus of “Godwin, Godwin, everything na Godwin, na Godwin” jerked me up, for I loved God and I wanted to share in the act of committing everything to Him.

A while later I embarrassingly figured it was supposedly a circular song by Korede Bello a member of Mavin Records which the producer of the song Don Jazzy had uploaded with a genuine request for people to send videos in line with the song that morning on Instagram and it was already viral with an obvious effect in my room.

This is the dream of every digital marketer, social media marketer, advertiser, artist, brand, and marketer, the virality of their content.

The #Godwin trended for days on various social media platforms with people sharing their own personal #Godwin videos. No doubt the dedication of success or failure to God in the lyrics was captivating viral content.

The trend on Instagram, Twitter, and even word of mouth was engaging and almost every person was on the #Godwin groove.

I believe that the road to achieving virality is in a simple formula.


To achieve virality which is the holy grail of all social media marketing and advertising, it is essential to have proper content development and strategy. Although most social media experts would attribute it to luck, this view is however debatable. I believe that every viral content or ad campaign was necessitated by the obedience and application of certain rules of content development, unknowingly but mostly a pattern similar to this:


A major aspect of this methodology was derived from Tai Tran, a social media marketing manager but I felt consistency is pivotal to the formula for achieving virality.

Obviously, strategy comes in the form of content development known as content strategy, and can be applied using Aristotle’s framework of persuasion.

Pathos + Ethos + Logos

Pathos: The content should be able to invoke emotions that increase a person’s propensity to share as well as engage the reader, thus comical content should invoke laughter from the reader, (sorrowful) invokes sadness, advisory, information, knowledge, sexual, love, health, religion, relationship, or genuine requests are engaging contents. “My reaction was childlike, I knew many others would have the same reaction” recalls Lucie Austin a marketing director of Coca-Cola, explaining her reaction when she saw her name on a Coke bottle.


The addition of Ethos and Logos punctuates the genuineness and originality of the content respectively. Logically the content would be more engaging if, from the standpoint of an ordinary reader, it is original on the surface and completely genuine without a hint of its intention to go viral. The request for fans to upload their video for the #Godwin song is an example.  Sadly, most social media marketing campaigns give more significance to purchasing various advert banner placements on-site rather than generating original content for the campaign, which is cheaper and has a lasting effect. People should participate and share in your product campaign rather than to view and move on. According to Jeremy Rudge, one of the principal architects of Share a Coke and Creative Excellence lead, “We’d probably spend a fraction of what we spent on TV. There is still a belief in the marketing world that you need to spend big on media to make sure people see your ideas, but “Share a Coke” proved that you can focus your resources on building ideas people want”

The contents of such a campaign or ad should retain a genuine and original approach that hides its viral or marketing intent. A clear example is the Coca-Cola “Share a Coke” campaign known internally as “Project Connect”, which started with the aim of inspiring shared moments of happiness in the real and virtual worlds. The brand interacted with its audience on a whole new level and the sentiments of sharing a Coke with someone else broadened the appeal of consumers. This automatically created attention for the brand as the customers saw Coke trade out its iconic logo on its bottles for their names to be printed on Coke labels. This uniquely genuine and original concept required the brand to do little in championing the campaign, as the campaign went viral, persuading people to use the hashtag, “#ShareaCoke” on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter by using the personalized bottles and cans to create, posts, share stories, memes, selfies, special moments through pictures and short video clips with friends.


The other part of the methodology, Relevance + Timelines answers the question of the role of luck as an ingredient for virality. The relevance of the content I believe creates its opportunity to go viral with the effect of timelines and consistency. This is best utilized for ad campaigns and all viral content always has something in common, relevance.

The ShareaCoke campaign portrayed relevance through its theme, especially being marked in a season of giving and happiness (Christmas), by appreciating and bringing its customers closer through its name branding and capitalizing on the global trend of self-expression and sharing which made a strong appeal to the consumer’s value of individuality and desire for human connection and it invoked emotions of sharing, pride, achievement, love, and warmth. The campaign successfully rode on its nature as self-generating viral content. I am yet to see a campaign content that can match such self-generating awareness.

Another example was Chevrolet’s Purple Your Profile campaign which was very effective and was one of the biggest campaigns in 2013 due to its relevance to the theme of cancer and the road (Chevrolet makes cars) to recovery which got many celebrities and billionaires joining the campaign. It is important to take note of the mood, season, environment, and challenges of your audience in creating viral content.

Continues in the next release, stay glued.

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