Tips on Going Viral for Artists

What does it take to go viral on the internet? We all hear stories about the instant success, money and fame that is achieved online when something goes viral. There are TONS of marketing companies out there working the statistics to manufacture viral content. If you are interested in that, searching Pinterest is a good way to go. I’m going to share something different because it’s based on my experience with viral happenings and what I have learned from it. Depending on the context, something going viral (or not going viral), can be emotional. It’s good to be prepared by having some idea what to expect. This is part 2 in a series about social media for artists and content creators.

What does going viral look like?

The term viral can been looked at from the world of marketing and science. Depending on the context the images are good or bad. Whatever your reaction is to the situation the thing we can count on is that many people are having the same feelings about it.

The Egyptian Revolution on Twitter

Spread of vaccinia virus through a cell monolayer

MOST HARMFULL VIRUS OF Windows 7 Virus Attack.


The type of content most likely to go viral

I look at the content on the internet and I think there are a couple ways to look at it. One way is to look at what is most popular on the internet. To get an idea of what is popular you can look at websites that display the number of views on videos and articles etc. You can look at popularity overall or you can look at a specific time frame.  Videos are extremely popular right now on the internet. I used YouTube as an example today so demonstrate the most popular video content in two ways (VIEWS vs RATING) and by time (YEAR vs DAY).

Most VIEWS on YouTube ‘Art’ video this YEAR

The most VIEWS on an ‘Art’ video TODAY

Highest RATED ‘art’ video this YEAR

Mani Raiha Gray and the ancient art of calling (Karanga)

Highest RATED ‘art’ video TODAY

Art Trade Speed Paint!!!

3 Tips for how to create content that will go viral

There are three basic tips that I have if you want to create content that will go viral on the internet and I have a few of my own experience to share with you as examples. If you can get one of these three you have a good chance of going viral. If you get all 3 of them at the same time… you are going viral!

Be the first

When there is something new and exciting happening many people will be looking to learn more about it. When I iPad first came out I had one to play with. I uploaded a video of myself trying out a drawing program. I got about 25,000 views in day! It was quickly replaced by more professional videos. I turned off the comments and ratings because people were disappointed that my video did give them the type of information they were looking for.

Be the best

I did a post about creating custom frames on my blog. It’s got nice images and the post has interesting information. To my surprise this post gets a decent amount of views and it’s GROWING over time. I think it is because it is one of the better images out there on the web and it shows up high in search results. Unlike the fast and short results that come from being ‘first’, this post gets a somewhat increase in flow of visitors because they like the content and share it. It went from 4 views in the first year to almost 3,000 in the 5th year. But you can see that the biggest jump happened between 2013 and 2014.


Be the only one

I’m lucky because I have a unique name. If you google ‘Mitra Cline’ the first page is all results that are actually relevant. In face you can flip through about 5 pages of google search results and you will still only see stuff about me. Not many people google my name – but when they do, I’m easy to find. This is the general concept behind, ‘be the only one’.

Even though the search volume is really low, the chances are those people are the most interesting in what I do as an artist. So even though I might have success with being first, being best, it’s in being the only that I have my best chance at making a sale.

Go viral! Be first, be best, and be the only one!