What makes white
papers go viral?
Applying Jonah Berger’s new research to white papers.
White paper writer and content marketing
specialist at Nemesis Advertising
Learn more at white-paper-writer.com/blog.html
What is virality?
● In the context of marketing, virality is the
propensity of a particular piece of media to
Why is virality important?
● If your white paper goes viral, that means it’s
getting shared and therefore seen by more
● That translates to more leads and more sales,
How do we find out what goes
● Do research - Jonah Berger, marketing
professor at UPenn, analyzed 7000 articles to
try to figure out why some went viral, and some
What did Jonah Berger find?
● Positive media goes viral - On average, the
more positive the article, the more likely it is to
go viral. Stories with a sad or negative view
were less likely to go viral.
● Emotional articles goes viral - Articles
appealing to a reader’s emotions are more
likely to go viral than those that don’t.
What did they find?
● It’s all about shock value - Novel and
unsettling ideas are much more likely to go viral.
● Include a dose of inspiration - Uplifting media
tends to have a high level of virality.
Do these findings apply to white
● In our own cursory research, YES.
● We took 78 white papers chosen from Fortune
500 companies from whitepapers.org, and
measured their virality based on mentions on
Linkedin, Twitter, and Blogs.
What did we find?
● White papers that followed two or more of the above
mentioned rules were 28% more likely to have more
than 20 mentions than those that followed one or
● Shock value was the most important. White papers
that had unusual topics were 33% more likely to go viral
than those that didn’t
● We plan to do a more thorough study with
more white papers and controlling for more
variables. We’ll probably release results
sometime in Q2 2014
Ready to learn more?
Want the results from our more thorough study? - email Sean@NemesisAds.com
This presentation is based on a blog post - http://white-paper-writer.com/viral.html
Hire a white paper writer - at http://www.white-paper-writer.com/
Read more articles like this - at http://white-paper-writer.com/blog.html
Read other white papers to get ideas - at http://www.whitepapers.org/
Read Jonah Berger’s book about virality : http://www.amazon.com/Contagious-ThingsCatch-Jonah-Berger/dp/1451686579/ref=la_B00ABMREEM_1_1?
Created by Sean Moss for Nemesis White Papers