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The Art of Creating Viral Content: Understanding the Power of Rhetoric

Creating viral videos is actually a formula - and this formula has been around for thousands of years.

Creating viral videos
Creating viral videos

In college, I had the opportunity to take a captivating class called Viral Rhetoric. It delved into the study of various types of content across different mediums, exploring why some performed exceptionally well. The lessons I learned in this class have stuck with me, and they can be summarized in three key elements: evoking emotion, relatability, and persuasion. As Bree, a video editor and strategist, and the owner of the social media agency called the Jade C House, I'm passionate about discussing all things social media and business. In this blog post, I will share valuable insights on creating viral content based on my research and experiences with clients.

Understanding the power of rhetoric

Ethos, logos and pathos...

Let's go back to the roots of rhetoric. It traces back to ancient Greece, where Aristotle, a prominent philosopher, defined it as a message's potential to influence audiences. Aristotle identified three main components of rhetoric: ethos, logos, and pathos.

Ethos: Establishing Credibility

In today's digital age, ethos appeals to the speaker's status and credibility. It answers the question, "Why should people listen to you?" As an example, consider the viral success of dermatologists on TikTok. Their credibility is evident within the first few seconds of their videos, and viewers trust their expertise.

Logos: Reason and Logic

Logos appeals to the audience's reason and logic, aiming to convince them with facts, statistics, and hard evidence. It addresses the question, "Why should people believe you?" Incorporating logical elements into your content helps build trust and credibility with your audience.

Pathos: Emotional Appeal

Pathos, on the other hand, taps into the audience's emotions. It aims to make viewers care about the content and forge a connection. By incorporating strong feelings and imagination, you can effectively answer the question, "Why should people care?"

Applying Ancient Principles in the Digital Age:

Despite these principles originating more than 2000 years ago, they remain highly applicable today, especially in the context of creating content on the internet. In today's attention economy, where numerous brands, companies, and influencers vie for attention, understanding these principles can make your cont

ent stand out.

Crafting Attention-Grabbing Hooks:

To create a viral video, your hook—the first three seconds—is crucial. It must be attention-grabbing and instantly relevant to your audience. Avoid starting with generic introductions; instead, directly address your audience. A successful hook structure consists of three parts: a powerful one-liner, diffusing tension, and showcasing your credentials to establish credibility.

Key Considerations for Crafting Hooks: When crafting your hook, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does it evoke emotion?

  2. Is it relevant and trending?

  3. Do you state your credentials and experience?

  4. How is it different from other content out there?

  5. Is it relatable to your target audience?

After years of experience working with clients, I've compiled a list of effective free hooks here...

Delivering Value and Encouraging Action:

After hooking your audience, it's essential to provide valuable content. Focus on logos by presenting evidence, facts, statistics, quotes, and anecdotal evidence (when complemented by other evidence). Conclude your video with a clear call to action, directing viewers to take the desired next steps.

Increasing Watch Time:

Watch time is crucial for a video's success. To keep your audience engaged, consider techniques like jump cuts, varying backgrounds, or including captions. Experiment and find what works best for your content.

Consistency and Authenticity:

While following these tips can increase your chances of creating viral content, it's important to remember that going viral is not guaranteed. Factors such as luck and timing also play a role.

In conclusion...

Remember that going viral should not be the end goal. Creating content you enjoy and are passionate about is the ultimate goal. However, you can follow some of these steps to increase your likelihood as well as follow a formula.