Viral Content Made Me Do It
Can we formulate how Danish Sait’s lockdown videos and his array of characters are now all unforgettable references?
And can we explain why Yashraj Mukhate’s ‘rasode mein kaun tha’ jingle was so hugely popular that it could was basically the India’s internet anthem in 2020?
To be able to answer these questions let’s first ask ourselves — What exactly we mean by the term “viral”?
Viral has a whole new meaning because of COVID 19 but for now we’ll shift to that meaning of the term viral that we’re more comfortable with –a term used to refer to some form of online content that became hugely popular in a relatively less period of time –analogous to an almost sudden glow up one gets when puberty suddenly hits them.
But viral doesn’t always necessarily mean positively viral, you could also go viral for the wrong reasons — or become popular for something that doesn’t exactly make you liked by the majority of people — the infamous sort of viral.
But for now, we’ll stick to the kind of viral that is more synonymous with a glow-up — now that we’ve established the context of viral here, we can say that viral is great , every content creator would love to become viral ,after all it’s the epitome of external validation for your content — while becoming viral and sustaining it are 2 slightly different things , one can’t help but ask themselves whether the virality of content can be predicted or perhaps a formula can be chalked out for it? — when I say formula I know I sound like a math teacher but adding a little bit of linearity to the infinite possibilities of content or at least trying to, calms me down whenever I am facing a creative block so here I am writing down some of my key take-aways from a talk by *drumrolls* Devaiah Bopanna, someone who can break down the entire existence of the internet to you and leave your mind blown and one of the masterminds behind the immensely popular CRED ads — by immensely popular, I mean viral of course.
I didn’t say viral because I used the term viral way too many times already and now I realise by trying to explain why I didn’t use the term viral I used it way more times than if I would’ve just written viral instead which I was lucky enough to get access to.
Content that usually appeals to people can be sorted into a bunch of buckets, while these aren’t to place a strict boundary on the kind of content you can put out, it certainly does help a lot when someone’s looking for ideas:
- Calling out Bullshit
I think the only way to understand this is through references — think of the amount of content generated as a reaction to Kangana’s tweets or the number of memes based solely on ridiculing that scene from Saath Nibhaana Saathiya where Gopi bahu washes the laptop.
— that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do: find content you can mock in a 100 different ways (there’s also a thin line by the way between being offensive and mocking — just be aware of that and you’re good to go)
Generating emotion amongst your audience, stirring up some juicy debate in the comments is likely to boost your post up — more often than we like to admit it, comments > likes — so if you’re expressing something that could range from “I like pineapples on my pizza” to “what do you think I should name my pet dog?” — either of these could generate a lot of traction in the comment section.
3. Contrarian Content
Consider an event that has invoked a positive opinion in people, now find out all the faults in it that you can poke fun at (yes, you read that right) –
So here’s how this works: there could be something that generates appreciation and a bunch of positive reactions from people, now hold up, wait for a day or two and think about it — is there anything in this that can throw people off — something that is unexpected and therefore grabs people’s attention — the key to this form of content is deciding when you should actually do it — get the timing wrong and the piece of content you’re focusing on wrong and it could backfire.
4. Relatability — this is sort of an obvious one right here, your content will almost never be hated if it’s relatable to a large number of people, be it things you face at home as a child who grew up in a middle-class home or things no one tells you before you pick science as a stream or introvert content about you dying to go back home after a party. The main crux of relatable content lies more in the content itself than how unexpected the idea behind it is.
5. Gifting an Emotion & Nostalgia — The real secret behind good content is its connect with people, just like relatability, when you bring in some sort of emotion in your audience via your content, more and more people would want to interact with your content : think content about hostel life or maybe content with wholesome pictures of dogs and sunsets or maybe just content related to forgotten childhood games(* gets triggered * brb gotto take a break to stare into space while I listen to 2010 Bollywood songs and reminisce about my bachpan ke neighbourhood friends )
6. Topical content — okay so this sort of content is more about the quantity rather than the quality — it’s about consistently delivering and keeping up with the internet, if there’s a certain meme template that’s trending, whip up some memes based on the first things that come to your mind when you look at it — it doesn’t have to be the best of content but the important bit is you’re keeping up with the trends. Honestly, I think putting out topical content is one of the best ways you can really get yourself out there and try to expand your reach before you really begin to focus on what kind of content you really want to put out and whether you’re satisfied with the quality of your content or not.
7. Pick an island of content — scavenge, explore and search!
There must be some mine of content potential, some topic or perhaps something as simple as an unexplored meme template, if so, you should be the one to dig some content out of it, give the audience something they’ve not seen before — something that’s original & done from the scratch.
8) Put out content that makes someone laugh — This is the toughest one yet because there’s no tips or hard and fast rules for this and also because everyone likes humorous content but there’s different kinds of humor liked by different people and sometimes the harder you try to be funny, the flatter the joke falls so really, there’s no way around this bucket of content than to just go with the flow and trust your gut.
Other than this I also feel a good amount of “making no sense at all” helps, well sometimes at least — I know this sounds ridiculous but take the whole ‘Binod’ comments for example that flooded every Instagram post for a week at least, there’s absolutely no rational explanation behind why it took the desi Internet by storm and yet there it is — a 5 lettered name, that no one knows who it actually belongs to ruling the comment section.
We’ll try to make peace with the Binod phenomenon by quoting Mr. Peanut Butter from the show Bojack Horseman — “The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense”
9. And lastly timing — knowing what will work when is a mixture of instinct, logic and of course just plain dumb luck:
The Dalgona coffee was spilt over the entire internet during the lockdown of 2020 -Did it become viral out of sheer coincidence or can we actually reason it out?
-well, for starters — everyone’s at home, everyone is (well most of them) experimenting in the kitchen, we are all looking for an opportunity to post something on Instagram as a distraction from the pandemic and finally, for once, a majority of the working population seem to have all the time in the world and then of course there’s also the unspoken rule of “whatever goes on the gram must look aesthetic” and we can’t risk running to the store for a dash of thyme or a pinch of rosemary to make the food look aesthetic , we want it to look effortlessly fancy with ghar ke ingredients because no one’s allowed to step foot outside their houses anyway and if you put all of this together one can very well reason out why the Dalgona coffee has stained the entire internet.
So that’s that and I am going to end this article by contradicting a very popular saying: “Think outside the box” — outside the box is too vast a space & too vague an idea to get started on content, so instead, in this blogpost I’ve highlighted some boxes of ideas that you can look for outside your box — my interpretations from the talk we had with Devaiah Bopanna and I hope it helped you get over your creative block!
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