The Art and Science of Creating Viral Content: Insights from Duolingo and MrBeast

Aadil Verma

Aadil Verma

May 06, 20244 min read

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The Art and Science of Creating Viral Content: Insights from Duolingo and MrBeast

Introduction:

In the world of social media, creating viral content has become a holy grail for brands and creators. It is the key to capturing the attention of millions and building a dedicated following. In this article, we will delve into the strategies and insights shared by Zaria Parvez, the Social Media Manager of Duolingo, and the renowned YouTuber MrBeast. By combining their experiences and unique perspectives, we will uncover the commonalities and actionable advice that can help you create viral content.

Choosing the Right Platform:

One crucial decision that content creators face is selecting the platform where they will invest their time and effort. Parvez reveals that her choice to focus on TikTok was influenced by her familiarity with the platform and its immense popularity. Having grown up using TikTok during her college years and being an active user during the pandemic, she understood its workings and what resonated with the audience. Moreover, the fact that TikTok boasted 1 billion users in September 2021 further validated her decision. She realized that by tapping into TikTok's massive user base, she could bring more people back to the Duolingo app.

The Balance Between Art and Science:

When it comes to creating entertaining content, Parvez emphasizes the importance of both art and science. While having a creative mindset and the ability to craft engaging concepts is crucial, understanding the science behind the TikTok algorithm is equally essential. Parvez reveals that when hiring for her team, she prioritizes candidates who can find trending audio, create compelling captions, and incorporate captivating visuals. This approach highlights the need for a balance between artistic expression and an understanding of the platform's mechanics to maximize reach and engagement.

Copying vs. Innovating:

The question of whether to copy what works or strive for authenticity is a common dilemma for content creators. Parvez suggests that starting with imitation can be an effective strategy on TikTok. The platform thrives on trends and the replication of popular content. By giving credit to the original creators and adding their unique spin, creators can ride the wave of virality. However, Parvez cautions that this approach has its limitations. Once a creator has established their presence and gained a deeper understanding of the platform, they should focus on developing their own storylines and creating innovative content that resonates with their audience.

Storytelling and Building Lore:

Parvez compares Duolingo's TikTok presence to a sitcom, with each video serving as an episode. She highlights the importance of developing storylines and building lore around the brand. By introducing recurring characters like "legal Steve" and "emo girl Lily," Duolingo creates a narrative that engages and entertains viewers. This approach not only keeps the audience hooked but also allows the content to transcend TikTok and exist as standalone short-form video content.

Understanding the Audience's Motivations:

Parvez acknowledges that people do not come to social media platforms to learn a language or engage with a specific app. Instead, they seek entertainment and captivating content. To cater to this mindset, Parvez and her team focus on understanding the desires and preferences of their audience. They actively listen to comments and feedback, treating the comment section as a social brief. By incorporating the audience's requests and delivering what they want, content creators can build a loyal following.

Repurposing Content Across Platforms:

MrBeast, a prominent YouTuber, shares his approach to creating videos that captivate viewers. He highlights the importance of crafting a log line—a concise one-liner that summarizes the entire video. This log line serves as a roadmap, ensuring that the content stays true to its original idea, even when unexpected events occur during filming. While this advice is specific to non-fiction videos, its core principle of maintaining focus and direction can be applied to various content creation endeavors.

Additionally, MrBeast offers a formula for writing a log line, consisting of the problem, intention, obstacle, and solution. This formula helps content creators structure their ideas and maintain a coherent narrative throughout their videos.

Conclusion:

Creating viral content requires a delicate balance between art and science, innovation and imitation. By understanding the platform, analyzing audience motivations, and embracing storytelling techniques, content creators can increase their chances of creating content that resonates with millions. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to implement:

  • 1. Familiarize yourself with the platform: Invest time in understanding the mechanics and trends of the platform you choose to focus on. This will help you create content that aligns with the preferences of the audience.
  • 2. Embrace storytelling and build lore: Develop recurring characters and storylines that captivate viewers. This approach will keep your audience engaged and create a memorable brand presence.
  • 3. Listen to your audience: Pay attention to comments and feedback, treating them as valuable insights. Incorporate the desires and preferences of your audience into your content to build a loyal following.

Remember, creating viral content is a continuous learning process. By combining the insights and strategies shared by industry experts like Zaria Parvez and MrBeast, you can refine your approach and increase your chances of creating content that resonates with millions.

Resource:

  1. "Zaria Parvez: How Duolingo Scaled to 8M TikTok Followers & How to Create Viral Content | E1105 - YouTube", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnORCh1HiGE (Glasp)
  2. "How I Make MrBeast's Videos - YouTube", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlYWZRf_IKM (Glasp)

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