What makes content go viral?

It’s a tough question, but when you look around, there’s some people who are able to craft contagious content every single time.

What’s their secret? Do they know something you don’t?

The answer is Yes! They do!


Walt Disney World. Say those words to children under the age of eight and just wait for their excited screams. More than 18 million people from all over the world  visit the Orlando, Florida , theme park annually.

Why do people buzz about some products and services more than others?

Why does it matter if particular thoughts or ideas are top of mind? Because accessible thoughts and ideas lead to Action!

1. Positive content is more viral than negative content.

(Amazing, right? When you read the news, you’d think that negativity was a must, eventually turns people off).

Positive uplifting content always gets shared. Remember, there’s a lot of unhappy people in the world, and while there are different reasons for being unhappy, content that is uplifting and inspirational helps people get out of their rut… even if it’s only for a few seconds.

2. Content that evoked high arousal emotions—positive or negative—is more viral than content without emotion.

(What’s a high-arousal emotion? Think awe, anger, anxiety, or anything related to the fear of loss)

3. Practically useful content get’s shared.

(That makes sense, right? People like sharing practically useful content to help out their fans and friends.)

Frequency, however, must also be balanced.


When we care, we share.

1. Awe

What’s awe?

It’s quite simply something remarkable. It’s the sense of wonder, and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, sublimity, or might.

Something that people can’t resist commenting on. This can be in the form of a story, a real-life event, or it can also be something as simple as an exhaustive list of 101 links to helpful resources.

Awe is a complex emotion and frequently involves a sense of surprise, unexpectedness, or mystery. Albert Einstein himself noted, “The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. Is it he power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.”

Some of the Web’s most viral videos also evoke awe.

On April 11th, Susan Boyle was on Britain’s Got Talent. A 47 year old lady who lives with her cat and has never been kissed takes the stage. She sings a song so fitting from the musical Les Miserables called “I Dreamed A Dream.”

Simon Cowell, the director who knows talent…Couldn’t help but be blow away by her voice. Like most, we prejudge people on how they look, even before we know them. Check out this video of her amazing audition.

Its’s hard to watch this video and not be awed by her strength and heart. It’s not only moving, it’s awe-inspiring. And that emotion drove people to pass it on.

Consider PSY Gangnam Style with almost 2.7 Billion views. Yes you read that right.

2. Anger

When you upset people, they’ll work hard to attain justice. They’ll talk about it on Twitter, write blog posts, and more.

How can you trigger anger? All you have to do is challenge someones beliefs and it’s a sure-thing.


Anger and anxiety lead people to share because like awe, they are high-arousal emotions. They kindle the fire, activate people and drive them to action.

3. Anxiety

People hate anxiety. What creates anxiety? If you’re writing content that talks about potentially losing out on something, that’s one way.

People hate losing things they have.

4. Fear

Fear is one of the biggest motivators on Earth. It targets the reptilian brain, and people can’t resist but take action when motivated with fear.

What’s an example of fear?

  • You can make people worry that they’re making mistakes they’re unaware of.
  • You can also target the fear of loss (aka limited quantities).

5. Joy

What makes people happy? There’s loads of things. It can be something funny, inspiring, or anything that’s positively uplifting.

One of my favorite ways to target the “joy” emotion is by telling a story from my life that I know people can connect with. It really takes advantage of nostalgia and bonds with people who read it.


6. Lust

People can lust for more than just power. They can lust after money, position, results, women, men, or anything like that. To target that, you simply need to tantalize readers with potential results.

7. Surprise

What surprises people? Anything that goes against their expectations. You can challenge assumptions, and prove them wrong. You can share new ways of doing things, or share results of personal tests.


Emotions drive people to action. They make us laugh, shout, and cry. They make us talk, share, and buy.

Some emotions kindle the fire more than others. Activating an emotion is key to transmission. Psychological arousal or activation drives people to talk and share.

We need to get people excited or make them laugh. WE need to make them angry rather than sad. Even situations where people are active can make them more likely to pass things on to others.

When you’re looking to get traffic for your business website, make sure you show people how to implement the advice you give them. Take the time to show them an example, and give them next action steps.

And finally, don’t just write content for the sake of writing content. Always target a high-arousal emotion so you know your content will get shared.

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!




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