The Art and Science of Creating Viral Content and Growing a Podcast Audience

Aadil Verma

Hatched by Aadil Verma

Apr 28, 2024

3 min read


The Art and Science of Creating Viral Content and Growing a Podcast Audience


Creating viral content and growing a podcast audience are two goals that many content creators strive for. In this article, we will explore the strategies and insights shared by Zaria Parvez, the social media manager of Duolingo, and Shaan Puri, the host of the podcast "My First Million." Both Parvez and Puri provide valuable perspectives on how to achieve viral success and overcome the challenges of podcast growth. By combining their insights, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the art and science behind creating engaging content and expanding our audience reach.

Choosing the Right Platform: TikTok and Podcasts

One commonality between Duolingo and Shaan Puri's podcast is the choice of platform. Parvez explains that she decided to focus on TikTok due to her familiarity with the app and its immense user base. She saw an opportunity to bring TikTok users back to the Duolingo app by creating entertaining content that resonated with the platform's trends and humor. On the other hand, Puri acknowledges the unique challenges of growing a podcast audience. Unlike platforms like TikTok, podcasts lack the viral and paid growth engines. Instead, podcast growth relies heavily on creating a sticky and engaging experience that compels listeners to share the content with others.

The Balance Between Art and Science in Content Creation

Parvez emphasizes the importance of understanding the science behind TikTok's algorithm and trends. While creativity and artistry play a significant role, having a grasp of what works and what doesn't is crucial for creating viral content. When hiring for her team, Parvez values the ability to interpret trending audio and create captivating captions and visuals over traditional advertising experience. This highlights the need for a balance between art and science in content creation. While originality and authenticity are essential, learning from successful content and adapting it to fit your unique style can be a valuable starting point.

Copying vs. Innovating: Finding Your Unique Spin

Both Parvez and Puri acknowledge the prevalence of copying on social media platforms. Parvez suggests that copying trends and adding your own spin to them is an acceptable and appreciated practice on TikTok. It allows creators to tap into popular audio and engage with existing viral content. However, as content creators gain traction, innovation becomes more important. Parvez mentions that after reaching a certain level of virality, TikTok users crave more storylines and unique content. This calls for a balance between copying what works and developing innovative ideas that resonate with your audience.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Understand the platform's algorithm and trends: Whether it's TikTok or any other social media platform, take the time to study how the algorithm works and what content performs well. By understanding the science behind the platform, you can create content that has a higher chance of going viral.
  • 2. Start by copying and adding your unique spin: When starting out, it's perfectly acceptable to replicate successful content and trends. Use this as an opportunity to learn what resonates with your target audience and how you can add your unique voice to the conversation.
  • 3. Focus on creating a sticky and engaging experience: For podcast creators, the growth may be slow, but it's essential to prioritize creating a compelling and immersive experience for your listeners. Encourage engagement, deepen the bond with your audience, and provide value consistently to cultivate a loyal fan base.


Creating viral content and growing a podcast audience require a combination of art and science. By understanding the dynamics of the platform you choose and incorporating unique ideas and insights, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to find the balance between copying what works and innovating to provide a fresh perspective. With the actionable advice provided, you can take the first steps towards creating viral content and expanding your podcast audience.

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