While there is no exact number of shares or views to achieve “going viral” with our online content, there does seem to be a generally accepted broad definition. Basically, it means that your video, image or story is shared at an exponential rate in a small amount of time to get massive amounts of online attention across multiple platforms.

Anyone who posts videos online hopes to have their content go viral. Whether it’s educational, newsworthy or entertaining, we make our videos with a message or story that we want to share with the world. This makes the idea of creating a viral video that captures millions of views compelling. The thing is, getting that level of views can be tricky. However, there are several things creators can do to increase their chances of going viral.

Produce content for a broad audience

Obviously, if you’re a creator in a niche market, your usual content might not be interesting to the masses. For something to go viral, though, you may need to stretch out of that comfort zone. You’ll have to find ways to appeal to more types of audiences.

Honestly, it doesn’t even need to be positive attention. One example is the “Baby Shark” video by Pinkfong (48.6M subscribers on YouTube). It’s an up-tempo repetitive tune that’s easy for little kids to get excited about. This causes a lot of views because children will watch it over and over. Parents, amused by their kids, share the video with other parents. Quickly, the repetition becomes annoying. The parents then share it with a different set of friends to laugh at how awful it is. As this pattern grows, people find reasons to love or hate it, and the sharing continues. 

Consider keeping your content short

The fact is, most people decide to either share a video or keep scrolling within the first 10 seconds. If it’s interesting or amusing enough, they’ll continue watching but the decision is already made. BuzzFeed (106M followers on Facebook) has honed this skill with their dedicated foodie page called Tasty. As noted in the About section, they make “snack-sized videos and recipes you’ll want to try.” Many of these videos are less than a minute and have useful titles and graphics with no intro. They use a little time-lapse and cutting clips together to keep it short and shareable. 

It stands to reason that, if you want your video to be wildly popular, you should consider making content that is already trending. Some trends are short-lived while others hold popularity for years. Skateboard stunt videos, funny cat videos, prank videos and food challenge videos have all had their heyday. Tutorial and how-to videos have been big business in recent years. 

Make people laugh

Laughter is the best medicine, as they say. It feels good to laugh and it feels even better to laugh with a friend. This is just as true on social media as in real life. If a video is funny enough to make people laugh, they will share it with their audiences and friends. Those people will re-share it and you’ve got the beginning of a video going viral. You can start with our list of some of the funniest channels on YouTube to inspire your own.

Make content that’s relatable

Similar to sharing funny videos, people will always love to share relatable posts. We’re all going through our struggles in life. Many people go online to find solutions or solidarity. Crazy things happen in houses with small children, for example. A video of a toddler having a meltdown about the color of their dinner plate and the exasperated reaction of a parent is a relatable post for millions of viewers. Nearly all of us has been through horrible bosses, embarrassing family holiday moments and awkward interactions in the dating world. Tell your stories that others relate to. It might just be your first viral video.

Share your content everywhere

It seems obvious but it needs to be said. If you want your video to go viral, you must promote your video. Promote it far and wide. Be sure that you’re continuously building your audiences on multiple platforms. Include captions if the titles aren’t sufficient to tell the story on mute. Learn how SEO works so that you can use relevant tags. Share your content across all platforms and encourage viewers to like, comment and share. The more people do these things, the better your chances are for it to take off.

While there is no way to guarantee that your videos will go viral, there are a lot of things you can do to increase your odds. Produce content a broad audience would watch. Your content might be useful (like food hacks) or hilarious (like pranking your grandma). You can make relatable content or share your own take on a trend. Whatever you create, it needs to capture people’s attention quickly and also get a little lucky. If your next video doesn’t go viral, don’t take it personally and keep practicing.