How to create viral content for the youth market

Search Laboratory will be chairing a masterclass at YMS17, all about creating targeted content that will achieve your digital goals. Ian Harris, CEO, shares his insight into the value of viral content for the youth market.

As a digital marketing agency, we build integrated campaigns based on data and evidence, and increase the organic and paid visibility of our clients’ websites. Content marketing is a huge part of organic search campaigns, and when we focus specifically on targeting Millennials and Generation Z, we need to be strategic to ensure our content stands out.

Successful viral content campaigns can help increase the organic visibility of your website, and enhance brand awareness with a huge audience.  Our aim is to engage with a large audience, acquire lots of engagement through social media and third party publications, and build backlinks to an asset on the website.


To target Millennials and Generation Z, you need to identify current trends, hypes, and topics. The youth market has their finger on the pulse of the next big thing, so getting into their mindset is crucial. Use tools, such as Buzzsumo, that analyse currently trending content so you can build out engaging campaigns.  

Once you know your topic, pick the medium that is most shareable and delivers the message in a simple way. Make it bite-sized and appropriate for a lunch time audience and people on buses or tubes. Tailor and/or amend the main piece for different channels (video or memes for social; a press story for national media; and a picture story for sites like Buzzfeed).

The timing of launch is crucial, if you miss your opportunity it will be much more difficult to get engagement. Kick-start the campaign on catalyst sites that will expose your story to a mass audience, such as Mashable or Cnet. Then work your way down to smaller magazines and publications, blogs, and special interest sites. Hand-pick social media influencers, then use paid social media advertising to put your story in front of a tailored social audience. Post-launch, you can follow up and obtain backlinks from the mentions that are generated.


Here’s an example of how Viking, an office supplies company, rode the wave of the hype surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens to create a campaign that showcased one of their products (post-it notes). It gained over 250 pieces of coverage and the Mashable article covering the story became one of the top 10 most shared articles on the web with over 40,000 shares. Since July 2016, 357 new keywords are now ranking in the top two pages of Google in positions #1 - #20. The Viking brand has seen visibility increase for popular terms such as "filing cabinets", which receives 14,800 searches a month, achieving the number one SERP position. This illustrates how tapping into current trends and relating them back to your brand, can create a viral campaign which directly leads to improvement in organic search.

As you can see, there are many business benefits to creating viral content, especially for the youth market. With the right planning and execution, brands can reap the rewards.

You can book your tickets to the Search Laboratory masterclass here.