Want to create viral content?

published15 days ago
7 min read

Oct 01, 2023

Proven principles to get more likes, comments, and shares on your content [The Viral Framework System]

Out of all the questions I regularly receive, one of the most common ones is -

“How do I go viral?”

And to be honest, there’s no easy answer.

It's ultimately a combination of trial and error, following the data, excellence, and a little bit of luck...

But that doesn’t keep me from doing my best to knock it out of the park every week.

While not every post I make is a winner - I'm constantly studying my content to learn and improve.

In fact, every week I receive an in-depth breakdown of my top-performing and worst-performing content pieces from the past 7 days.

Taking time to review my content performance gives me valuable insight into what’s working and what isn’t.

This allows me to double down on the winners, and increase my odds for success.

I was recently reviewing one of these breakdowns and thought it would be cool to share some of my best-performing pieces with you.

So in today's newsletter I'm going to:

  • Share the viral framework I use when crafting content pieces
  • Give you some tangible examples for reference
  • And share why I think they performed so well

That way you get a combination of both the "concept" or theory behind my content creation, as well as the practical application.

And hopefully by the time we're done, you have some new insights that you can apply to your own content.

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Now back to the Viral Framework System...

#1 - The science behind viral content

Viral content has less to do with how "perfect" it is...and more to do with how "shareable" it is.

Ultimately content goes viral because people start talking about and sharing it with their circles.

Want to create viral content?

Focus on creating content that’s shareable.

I use the STEPPS framework to craft content for maximum shareability.

Here's a quick breakdown for you...

1. Social Currency

People want to be perceived as being cool, smart, and in the know. Create content that makes your audience look good and they will share it.

2. Triggers

Weave memorable themes into your content that cause people to think of you via association. You can also leverage triggers by mentioning concepts that people have pre-existing associations with.

3. Emotion

Try to arouse the emotions of your audience as much as possible. Emotional content frequently goes viral.

4. Public

People want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Create content that gives people a sense of connection.

5. Practical Value

Useful things get shared. Create informative and digestible content that is easy to pass along.

6. Stories

Bring your content to life by including stories that carry the idea for you.

Now that we’ve covered the viral framework, let’s get into some examples.

#2 - Twitter (X)

I posted this a couple of weeks ago and it’s gotten nearly 2 million views.


Let's analyze it using the STEPPS components:

Social Currency - There's a lot of incentive to share this because people who do are perceived as “looking out” for their friends by giving them unique insight they might not have had before

Triggers - “A hard pill to swallow” is a commonly used phrase that many people associate with uncomfortable (but also helpful) truths

Emotion - This post directly calls out a feeling (being stressed) and also makes a divisive statement that evokes a strong “agree” or “no way” from the audience. This post also references getting rich, and many people have strong emotions (both positive and negative) around this concept

Public - In this post I’m revealing some of my own personal experiences and failings in a public way, making people feel both extremely curious as well as connected to me

Practical value - I share 15 hard-earned lessons. People can avoid a lot of pain and accelerate their success by listening to what I have to share

Stories - This is the point my post lacks the most. Although it’s somewhat inferred that I learned these through experience, each of the points is shared in a very straight-forward and matter-of-fact way

#2 - LinkedIn

This post has crushed on LinkedIn. It’s received nearly 15k likes and has been shared 1400 times.

Let’s dive into why it performed so well:

Social Currency - LinkedIn is a professional platform. Given that the context of my post is around hiring, it is likely seen as “share-worthy” for people both looking to hire and be hired

Triggers - I don’t have much of a 'trigger' in this post. However almost everyone has had an interview (or interviewed someone) before, so there’s some loose connection to this common human experience

Emotion - “Rare traits” + “high performer” are a double whammy on the emotions front. The phrase "rare traits" evokes a ton of curiosity, and most people consider themselves (or want to be considered) a "high performer"

Public - Like with the tweet above, in this post I’m revealing some of my own personal experiences and learnings in a public way, making people feel both extremely curious as well as connected to me

Practical value - I share 8 rare traits that I came to learn through hard life experiences. These traits can transform people’s lives, or save businesses from devastating hires, if they choose to learn from them

Stories - Like with my tweet, this post doesn’t have any stories

#3 - Instagram

This post has actually been my highest-performing one on both Twitter and Instagram.

On Instagram, it has garnered nearly 5x the amount of normal likes I get on my posts.

Let's break it down:

Social Currency - Instagram is extremely lifestyle-oriented. My post provides insights that directly correlate to one “living their best life.” People who share it would be seen as:

  1. Extremely helpful
  2. People who are conscientious and concerned with their own self-development (which is a celebrated value for many)

Triggers - “If I could go back and do it again” is an extremely common concept. People relate to the idea of wishing they did things differently

Emotion - I start by mentioning things that are hot-button topics like drinking and smoking - and I frame them in a negative light. This creates a lot of positive AND negative responses. I also imply regret, which is extremely curiosity-invoking

Public - As I mentioned with my other content, in this post I’m revealing some of my own personal experiences, learnings, and failures in a public way. This makes people extremely curious (like with tabloid magazines) as well as feel connected to me

Practical value - I share 8 life lessons that I learned by making mistakes. People can save themselves a lot of pain by applying these lessons without having to go through the same experiences

Stories - The frame of this post is somewhat like a narrative, like how an older person would tell a story about their past to teach a lesson. Apart from that, this content is less story-driven and more focused on sharing multiple lessons in a succinct way

#4 - Content reflections

As you’ve seen - insightful, list-style breakdowns resonate extremely well with my audience.

And while I also post shorter or more narrative-driven content - I always ensure that I’m including these list-style posts multiple times a week.

Ultimately, you’ll have to try things out and see what works best with your following.

But once you start seeing some trends, don’t be afraid to double down and start producing more of that content.

Do that, and the exponential growth won't be far behind.

Also, in case you’re curious, you can check out some of my other highest-performing posts for each platform here (Twitter), here (Instagram), and here (LinkedIn).

There you have it, a portion of my viral framework system plus a breakdown of some of my recent bangers.

I hope you found that helpful.

If you'd like me to do more breakdowns of my own content like this...

Or if there's something in particular from the Founder OS ecosphere you'd like me to discuss more specifically - hit reply and let me know.

And one last thing before I go...

If you want to discover how you can add 10,000 new followers each month, make sure you grab a spot for my workshop next week.

I always have a blast hanging out with the Founder OS community on the workshop, and would love to have you join me.

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#4: Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more operating systems, marketing tips, and community-building systems.

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Founder OS (Business Growth Tips)

I’ve built 4 successful companies and a community of over 14 million people. My mission is to help 100,000,000 founders automate their business and hit $5,000,000 profit per year. I help you grow your personal brand and business in just 3 minutes a week.

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