Those of us who use the internet on a daily basis hear the term “go viral” all the time. It seems as though everything has the potential to blow up in popularity – blog posts, photos, videos, news stories. Going viral is the internet-using population’s version of a front-page headline. Only in this case, the popularity is instant rather than building slowly.

So how exactly do you get something to go viral, and why would you want to? There are a lot of answers to these questions. I would be willing to say that many businesses would be thrilled to find something related to their company has gone viral. Here are a few reasons that viral content can help your business:

  • Drive traffic to your website – the definition of viral is to get a lot of attention in aGoing Viral short period of time. If viral content is located on your company’s website, expect site traffic to increase wildly. Some videos on YouTube that would be considered viral have hundreds of thousands or even millions of views, like Psy’s Gangnam style. If you are angling to get content seen, it’s important to make sure that your website is set up to handle large quantities of traffic.
  • Paint your business/industry in a positive light – even if a piece of viral content is not directly related to your specific business, it can still be beneficial to your company. Make sure to follow these tips for successful viral videos so your company doesn’t miss out on a great opportunity. Another way to give your business a boost is from content that paints your industry in a positive light. If you find viral content that is related to your industry in a positive manner, then share, share, share.
  • Create a human interest story – most viral content wasn’t created with immense popularity in mind. It just happens that way. In most instances, viral videos and photos gain popularity because they are funny or touching. However, there are some things you don’t want to do if you want something to go viral. By publishing content that has a human interest element, you may be able to generate more traffic.

Of course, going viral is not always a good thing. Many news stories about businesses that have wronged customers (or the customer perceives that they have been wronged) or have produced faulty products or bad business practices have gone viral much to the detriment of the company involved. This is just another instance where it is crucial to be careful what you publish, print, or share. While the ability of news and information to spread quickly on the Internet can be a great thing, it can also cause trouble if you are not cautious about what you post.

While it’s not generally possible to create content and then make it go viral (calling something viral generally indicates that it spread on its own) there are still some things that businesses can do in order to gain the interest of potential customers. Publishing interesting and unique content would be the most simple, yet effective way to get noticed. Utilizing different types of media is another way. And if you don’t want to give up on video, you can make a successful business video. Keeping yourself and your colleagues informed about what is going on as far as what is going on in the online business world and what is going viral will do nothing but help your company.