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Viral content – sometimes referred to as something “going viral” – is a term that digital marketers use to describe content that is seen and shared by a lot of people.

Viral YouTube videos are seen by millions and sometimes even get mentioned in mainstream media like TV newscasts or print newspaper articles after they’ve gone viral.

Content goes viral when it’s shared by as high as third-level connections. These are people who are friends of the friends of a brand. They currently have no direct relationship.

Friends of a brand are easily convinced to share content. Their friends are a bit harder to get on board, but might share content shared by their friends if they find it interesting.

Their friends (third level connections to the brand) have no relationship to the original content creator. Once this level starts resharing content, it has a chance to go viral.

Some executives and marketing staff talk about trying to make a piece of content go viral.

In reality, the goal of content shouldn’t be to go viral, but to offer valuable content to a defined audience. When valuable content is shared,
audiences pay attention. Then there’s a chance that it will be shared with others.

Content that’s most likely to be shared?

Stories that make us look good OR that make us mad. (Source: Jonah Berger)