Innovation & Technology

Top 7 Factors Affecting Virality of Content

7 minute read | January 1, 1999 Share Share

Here are some factors that greatly affect the virality of your content:

  1. A longer post will make your content viral

    Readers tend to share longer posts than shorter ones. Though it seems more practical to share short content because a lot of people nowadays have short attention spans, Buzzsumo Team conducted a research and analyzed the top 10% most shared articles online and found that it is actually quite the opposite.

    The longer the content, the more shares it gets, with 3000-10000 word pieces getting the most average shares (8859 total average shares).” Buzzsumo Team shares at

    They concluded that although memes and short articles gets viral, people also like to share long informative posts that are intellectually challenging. And since writers barely create long content, you basically have no competition in terms of getting your post viral.

    Two professors of University of Pennsylvania also did a research on why long content gets emailed more than short one by referring to New York Times’ most emailed list, you may check out their study here (


  1. Content which provokes high-energy emotions like anger, awe, fear and anxiety is more likely to go viral

    Content that fuels high-energy emotions like anger, awe and fear always gets people riled up. People are more likely to respond and share a post which tickles their emotions.

    For example, if the content is about something surprising or shocking, readers would itch to share this “new found information” to their family and friends. On the other hand, if your content stimulates anger, it would push people to respond to your content, whether be it to criticize and berate it or to argue with you regarding your content. No matter what the response is, as long as it provokes these kinds of emotions, readers would still create traffic on your website.


  1. Emotions and Vulnerability

    Readers are inclined to share posts that have heartfelt content, they like reading content which they can sympathize and feel. Emotions play a big role in acquiring and retaining the readers’ attention because emotions are what keeps a person going and it is a huge factor in decision making.

    Writing content is like selling a brand/product to customers. A customer would buy a product that they think is likeable or they feel the sincerity in the ad of the product, which can be said the same in making your content viral, a likable content with a touch of sincerity in it would surely get the readers’ emotions moved and they’ll get hooked on reading. Besides, no one would like to keep reading a dull emotionless content.


  1. Images help in getting more shares

    People like looking at pictures when they’re reading, whether be it online or through a physical medium. Social meta tags also help in virality of posts with images, this is especially true with Facebook posts.


  1. Go for the useful, interesting and practical topics

    No one likes to read a dull worthless content. Most of the content that becomes viral are practical, interesting and useful, because let’s be real here, why would you read something that is irrelevant to you? Dull and irrelevant content often get swept under the rug especially when they don’t pique the readers’ attention. People would like to read something that they will benefit from.        


  1. Popularity has a huge impact

    Content written by known authors are more likely to go viral than an average writer’s content, people who have heard or have read works of a known author are inclined to read his/her content. The more popular you are the more people will be viewing your content.

    “SEOs are experts in detecting credible content online, yet we sometimes forget that every piece of content is at least partly considered based on its author’s reputation – or lack thereof – and credibility.” Carson Ward writes on Moz.


  1. Content laced with humor tends to gain more views and go viral

    Everyone likes a post with a bit of sense of humor; it is one of the great ways to get a reader hooked into reading your content. But keep in mind that a writer should use humor sparingly, limit the use of humor in your content unless you’re writing about something really funny or related to humor.

    “Its (humor) purpose is to grab the reader’s attention and help you make points in creative ways. Don’t confuse the reader by coming across as a comedian.” Says Leigh Anne Jasheway on Writer’s Digest. The reader’s attention should not be swayed away from the topic at hand.


    Just make sure that you have captured the factors mentioned above and then you’ll get a viral content. But before that, let’s do a quick run though:

    • Long posts gets more viral than short ones
    • Provoking high-energy emotions is a sure fire way to get your content viral
    • Putting a touch of emotion will move the reader’s heart
    • Images help in getting more shares
    • Go for interesting and practical topics
    • Funny contents tend to get more views and go viral



Jasheway, L. (2016, January 26). How to Write Better Using Humor. Writer’s Digest. Retrieved from

Snow, S. (2015, July 6). The Science Behind What Content Goes Viral. Social Media Today. Retrieved from

Kagan, N. (2014, April 21). Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us. OkDork by Noah Kagan. Retrieved from

Social Triggers. Creating Viral Content? The Secret is Get Contagious. Retrieved from

Ward, C. (2013, January 14). Why Content Goes Viral: the Theory and Proof. Moz. Retrieved from

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