6 Key Elements to Viral Nonprofit Content

Everyone’s dream is to create something viral. That’s why so many people have offered the “secret” to going viral. Some say it’s the quality of the content. Others say it’s in the marketing. Still others will tell you it’s both while a fourth group will tell you it’s all just a happy accident that cannot be planned.

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In truth, it comes down to creating something people want to share, like this viral Pepsi ad that Kars For Kids deemed shareable enough for its Twitter page. The clip is funny, shocking, and generates empathy for the guy who has no clue he’s the victim of a prank. We can put ourselves in his place and imagine how we would respond. Now that’s the formula for a viral video just waiting to happen.

Let’s take a look at some of the key elements you’re likely to find in a viral video.

It takes you by surprise. Some of the best viral videos involve superhuman feats such as incredible parkour skills that have you alternately holding your breath and gasping at something that just seems impossible. It keeps you riveted to your seat. You would never shut off the clip to go take care of those eggs boiling in the pot on your stove that need to be exactly timed. So of course, when the clip finally does end, you’re going to share it.

It makes you cry. Why people like to cry is a riddle that may never be solved. But yeah, people like to cry. They like to watch something so touching that they need at least three tissues to sop up the mess of tears rolling down their cheeks and for blowing their noses. Can you make people cry with what you’ve got? It’s got share potential.

It makes you smile.Have you ever watched a clip that makes you smile so hard your face hurts? That’s a video that is bound to go viral. People like to smile. And people are kind and want their friends to smile too, so they’ll also share that clip that made them smile.

It makes you laugh. Humor is a matter of taste, of course, but if it makes you break out in belly laughs, there’s a good chance it will make others laugh, too. Even better, people bookmark funny clips for those days when a laugh is much needed. They may dig out that old clip when a friend has lost a job or is otherwise down in the doldrums and in need of cheering up.

It makes you think. Everyone likes TED clips because they challenge our intellect and make us think. There’s a takeaway. But for the sake of becoming viral, you need your clip to be shorter than a TED clip: short and impactful with a takeaway. That’s the ticket to virality.

It makes you feel inspired. Did your nonprofit help someone overcome a difficulty against great odds? That’s the kind of thing that motivates others to try harder with their own challenges. They see the person with the difficulty succeed and think, “If he can do it, I can certainly do what I need and want to do.” Such clips touch a chord deep down, hitting the part of us that always strives to improve and do better, to move in a positive direction. People won’t want to keep that to themselves. They’ll want to share and share and share that sort of thing.

It’s a virus in the making.

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