The science behind contagious content

contagious content

As a business owner, whether your operation is a budding startup or an established medium-sized enterprise, you are continually searching for ways to promote your products or services and boost your revenue. The increasingly digital world we live in today has revolutionized the traditional way businesses operate, with one significant aspect being the manner in which businesses market their offerings.

Today, we will demystify the science behind creating ‘contagious content,’ which is essentially content that is so compelling that it goes viral. We will delve into effective strategies that can help your business stand out and generate more revenue. Let’s unravel the magic!

Understanding Contagious Content

Contagious content refers to digital material that spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared among users. In essence, this content spreads like a virus, hence the term ‘viral.’ To create contagious content, you need to understand what motivates people to share.

1. Emotional Appeal

Research has shown that content evoking strong emotional responses, whether positive or negative, is more likely to be shared. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania found that content that evoked awe, excitement, amusement, anger, or anxiety was shared more frequently than content that did not evoke strong emotions. For instance, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which aimed to raise awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research, went viral due to its emotional appeal.

Practical advice: Strive to create content that will evoke strong emotions in your audience. This could be a touching story about your brand’s journey, a funny ad, or a thought-provoking blog post.

2. Social Currency

People love sharing content that makes them look good in front of their peers. They share information that showcases their personality, makes them appear knowledgeable, or supports their beliefs. The Secret Starbucks Menu is a classic example. People discovered unique drink combinations and were eager to share their knowledge, making them look like insiders.

Practical advice: Try to offer your audience unique insights, advice, or exclusive deals that they would be eager to share with their network.

3. Practical Value

People are more likely to share content that others will find useful. This could be tips, advice, or anything that offers a solution to a problem. A company that does this well is IKEA. Their DIY instructional videos on assembling furniture provide valuable information to their customers, making them highly shareable.

Practical advice: Share information, tips, and insights related to your products or services that would offer practical value to your audience.

4. Stories

People love a good story, and they love to share these stories. If your brand has an inspiring or intriguing story, sharing it can increase your chances of going viral. TOMS Shoes, for instance, has a compelling brand story. For every pair of shoes purchased, the company donates a pair to a child in need. This story is not only emotional but also easy to share.

Practical advice: Do not just sell your products or services; tell a story about them. This could be the story of how your company was founded, the journey of a satisfied customer, or even the journey of one of your products.

Creating contagious content involves a deep understanding of human psychology. As you strive to create viral content, remember the four principles we discussed today: emotional appeal, social currency, practical value, and storytelling. Incorporate these principles into your content, and you will increase your chances of capturing the attention of your audience, promoting your business, and ultimately, boosting your revenue.


In conclusion, while there is no guarantee your content will go viral, following these principles increases your chances. As a business owner, it is essential to create a solid content marketing strategy, align it with your overall business objectives, and always keep the interests and needs of your audience in mind. Remember, it’s not just about creating content; it’s about creating contagious content that people will want to share.

Stay tuned for more tips on effective strategies for promoting your business and boosting your revenue!

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