Content or context – What makes your news viral?

How common is to hear that so and so brand’s video went viral in record time and achieved so many millions of hits these days? News going viral also becomes a benchmark for many of the brands if it is spread on positive note and an issue of academic interest among the competing brands. The competition tries to learn and understand as “how did they do it” if it is positive virality and also attempts to understand, “how did they solve it” if the news has gone viral in the form of a crisis.

All news going viral have some clear triggers, positive or negative that influence the audience and enable further conversations around the same. A basic element of any such news comes from the content itself as to how it affects your audience, does it bring in anything constructive or destructive things in their lives, does it add any value for them, or do they stand to lose something sooner they can think of, etc.  And that’s what makes the audience share, forward, discuss, opine and review between themselves and their connections related or non-related to the brand per se.

And that’s where the play of the content, comes in making the news go viral. Brand communicators always look for avenues to create and disseminate content that can take an autopilot mode at the earliest and spread by itself into newer territories, thereby increasing the universe of brand and capturing a larger market share. It could be anything like a Facebook post or  Tweet, which is shared and re-shared thousands of times by the users on social media. In fact, one can say that the news has gone viral only when people share it extensively on multiple platforms other than the original platform where the news broke first.

In fact, these days journalists are actively using newer fads in journalism to make the news go viral faster by creating content in the format that the audience may want to read, and not even the actual content the audience wants to read. Brand communicators have a lot to learn from this, where the learnings can be used to help to push the content to the journalist in a more receptive format.

Most often there is a headline that is used to entice readers/viewers to further engage in an in-depth reading, listening, viewing and sharing the news. However, it is the content that makes social media share and makes it viral and not just the format or headlines as observed. Taking a cue from here, the role of creative and relevant content becomes key in its virality potential, something that brand communicators can anticipate, understand and plan before executing viral strategies.

The next key aspect is the context, which drives the virality factor in any brand communication. If the communication and engagement opportunities created are relevant to the current context, latest happenings, they are built around what is happening now, there are high chances for the news going viral faster. Brand communicators successfully use relevant keywords in their communication to ensure that the context is best utilised.

Sometimes the context can be built up if it’s not already existing through the use of creative, unique, differentiated and original content that is relevant for the audiences. Charitable, socially relevant, CSR-driven, or sometimes even promotional nature of causes sets the agendas and creates a context to be excited by the audience. The building of innovative context is all about great storytelling and that’s something also provides brilliant opportunities to develop creative and catchy content.

Eventually, it’s a well-crafted play of both content and context that can make any campaign go viral and bring smiles to the faces of brand communicators!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

1 Comment on "Content or context – What makes your news viral?"

  1. Dear Praveen, you have a great PR & Advertising person. You have created bridges in fighting groups in organizatio s. Pl add your experience in Healthcare where you have a major role to play. Thanks

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