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Here are some of the smartest rules for going viral. Don’t hesitate to share this post!

by Jerry “Doctor Spin” Silver // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Senior Digital Strategist // Spin Factory

Fast Company writes up some smart rules for going viral by looking at, a site that got 30M hits in May, 2013.

These are the rules, but the comments are mine:

1. Spend Half Your Time On The Headline

We live in a world of syndication and curation. And headlines get seen, but little else. It’s also a fact that a lot of sharing takes place without the person sharing having even read the actual information.

The difference between choosing different headlines can be extreme.

So the advice is to spend half your time on creating the headline. Use Google Keyword Tool to do some research. Or, if you’re an all-in type person, there are plenty of softwares to help you with keyword research.

But if we back out for a second:

It’s becoming common knowledge that you should – in a perfect world – spend 80% of your time promoting your content, and 20% of your time creating it.

So this gives you an idea. Only 10% of your time should be spent on creating the actual content. Hence, slow down on your posting frequency and give your content momentum. And build your frequency up from there.

2. Make It Sound Like Your Talking To Your BFF

“Informal is the default position.”

It’s important to find your brand’s human voice. Note that this is about being casual, not dumbing down your message.

3. Know What Strong Feeling You’re Trying To Evoke

I searched and I found this list of feelings (man, that makes me sound like a robot):

With this post, I’m going for curiosity. It killed the cat, and internet loves them cats, so we’ll see.

While these rules might serve as inspiration, they don’t really give you the tools you need. For instance, how do you write great headlines?

So, I wanted to add two rules of my own.

4. Would I Share It To My Friends?

I think this is a great litmus test. When you’ve created a piece of content and decided on a headline, ask yourself:

“Would I share it?”

Your scale could look a little something like this:

Spin Level 1: No way. Why would I even consider it?

Spin Level 2: Possibly. If I was actively looking for content to share right then and there.

Spin Level 3: Yes, this is a MUST share for me. If I see the headline — boom. I share.

Spin Level 4: I would actively seek this information out via a search engine, and then, yes, I would share it!

5. Have An Army Of Sharers Standing By

Yes, it’s possible to have an army of sharers standing by.

It could perhaps be that you have an awesome email list of people who love your content.

It could be that you have lots of followers both here and there.

Or, you simply have lots of friends who love the idea of seeing your content reaching a large audience.

If you don’t, be creative in building hype.

Now, this “army” isn’t a group of drones. They’re smart people who like you based on your past performance. You need to earn their engagement over time.

This is something to think about long-term. Having an existing audience is often key to be able to consistently get your content shared.

Do you have good advice on how to get content spread? Leave your comment below and … don’t hesitate to share this post!

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

Doctor Spin’s comment policy:
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

Reader reactions:

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Doktor Spinn

Testing to do a comment. I’ve changed commenting system.


Thank you for another interesting post Jerry!

Jerry Silfwer

andreasivarsson Thanks, Andreas! Appreciate the encouragement.