Viral Writing 101: The Little-Known Secret to Rapid Audience Growth

Ship 30 for 30 Team

The little-known secret to viral content & rapid audience growth:

Writing for emotion.

This is how Twitter’s fastest-growing writers create content you can’t help but share.

Why build an audience on Twitter?

Twitter is arguably the easiest platform to build an audience on.

All because of the "retweet" button.

Every time someone retweets your content, you're accessing a new audience of readers that can retweet you again.

This is the perfect breeding ground for your content to go viral.

How do you leverage the power of the RT button?

Simple - creating shareable content.

People only share stuff that touches them on an emotional level.

So whenever you have a content idea, slow down & ask yourself:

"What emotion do I want to elicit here?"

There are 8 universal emotions you can elicit with your content:

• NSFW: that's crazy!
• LOL: that's so funny
• OHHH: *now* I get it!
• WOW: that's amazing!
• AWW: that's sooo cute
• YAY: that's great news!
• WTF: that pisses me off
• FINALLY: someone said it!

Sometimes 1 idea can tap into more than 1 emotion.

But if your idea doesn't elicit any emotions, your chances of going viral are LOW.

No matter how actionable or analytical your content idea is, you can find a way to frame it in such a way that it triggers an emotional response.

Here are some great examples:

Example #1: LOL - that's so funny

Who doesn't like to be entertained?

Funny memes are a great way to add some humor to your content (and increase your chances of going viral).

You can do this regardless of your industry.

Trung's content is a case study on how to masterfully use memes in a traditionally serious & formal space:

Example #2: WTF - that pisses me off

This type of content can be a double-edged sword.

It's probably the most likely to create controversy and hate.

But it's also one of the most effective.

Use it wisely (and at your own risk):

Example #3 : AWW - that's sooo cute

For some weird biological reason, our brains can't resist cute stuff.

Depending on your niche or the type of content you create, this emotion might be hard to tap into on an ongoing basis.

But if you can, you should definitely take advantage of cute animal pics:

Example #4: WOW - that's amazing!

Everyone loves success stories.

They can be incredibly inspiring (and sometimes even teach you something).

The best part? There are tons of these in every single niche or industry:

Example #5: NSFW - that's crazy!

This is probably the hardest to recognize & tap into.

It's very similar to WOW - that's amazing! but with a (often weird) twist.

This was the best example I could find that didn't involve nudity or a creepy story:


Example #6: OHHH - *now* I get it!

In a world full of fascinating but overly complicated concepts & ideas, simplying is a superpower.

This type of content is probably the hardest to produce but also the most useful & rewarding.

Not just a great way to build an audience but also a forcing function for you to sharpen your understanding of the stuff you learn:

Example #7: FINALLY - someone said it!

There's something incredibly satisfying about reading someone say what you've been thinking (or feeling) for so long.

I think that's why this type of content works so well.

The tricky part is nailing the timing. Had Shaan put this out either 3 months earlier or 3 months later, this thread had probably gone no where:

Example #8: YAY - that's great news!

Finally, who doesn't like to hear good news?

Especially when they're about people you care about or look up to.

When you help people every day, they start caring & celebrating your wins as if they were theirs.

So if you're being helpful, don't be shy. Share your milestones:


I'm sure at least 6 out of these 8 examples made you feel something.

(If they didn't you are an AI disguised as a human.)

And that should be your goal next time you share a piece of content:

Make people feel something.


That's it!

If you found this post valuable, I highly recommend you watch the video below.

Here Dickie, Cole and Shaan Puri shared this framework as well as other tactics to engineer virality in detail:

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