Mastering the Art of Viral Content

Key Lessons for Creating Share-Worthy Content

Marie Ennis-O'Connor
7 min readMay 13


“Going viral” is one of those social media marketing phrases that really makes me cringe. Trying to create content solely for the purpose of “going viral” is a recipe for failure. Staying focused on what your audience needs from you, on the other hand, is your best way of getting recognized by the people who matter most to your business.

Viral content is seen as marketing’s Holy Grail, with its ability to catapult the creator into the public eye, but the truth is there is no formula for going viral.

Viral posts remain outliers, and unfortunately there is no magic formula to go viral. Going viral is like alchemy, and even the best sites cannot consistently replicate the success of their top posts — Buzzsumo

However, while there is no foolproof formula, there are key elements that can increase your chances of success. We can still draw on the lessons learned from successful viral campaigns to improve the shareability and engagement of our own content.

Based on HubSpot research in the 2022 Video Marketing Report, these as the most common characteristics:

  • Title length: Videos had short titles (3 words or less)
  • Run-time: Videos had shorter run times (3 minutes or less).
  • Captures viewer’s attention in first few seconds: Videos featured the element of surprise (defined as seeing or hearing an expression of surprise, such as a scream or gasp) or interesting propositions breaking of norms.
  • Content is relatable in nature: Videos featured relatable circumstances, situations or subject matter that viewers of multiple different backgrounds could relate to.
  • Production quality: Videos displayed a musical elements reflecting high production value in resolution, props, and well-thoughtout ideation.

Hubspot’s Video Marketing Report also includes a survey of marketing professionals regarding the factors most commonly cited as effective for creating viral videos:

  • Title (3 words or less) and…



Marie Ennis-O'Connor

Social Media Consultant. Keynote Speaker. Digital Storyteller.