Join our chat with YouTube and Shinola! We’ll explore leveraging influencers and affiliates for omnichannel success. Register

You’re a viral content creator… now what? [+ landing your first brand partnership]

Going viral is the fun part, but staying relevant and building an audience takes time and planning. With the right strategy, you can establish your personal brand, partner with major companies, and jump from a viral post to a thriving career as a creator.

content creator
Olivia Savage
Olivia Savage
Senior Marketing Strategist, Creator Growth and Engagement
Read time: 9 mins

Imagine you’re working at a bank one day, and the next? You’re whisked away to L.A. by a kombucha company and your life’s changed forever… all because of a viral video. This isn’t a wild fantasy–-it’s the reality of Brittany Broski.

Brittany’s life flipped upside down when her hilarious kombucha reaction video took the internet by storm. 

Brittany Broski

She didn’t just sit back and let the moment pass by. But she also didn’t “beat a dead horse” (her words) and try to recapture that one viral moment. Instead, Brittany shone this newfound spotlight on her creative talents and personality—sharing impressions and snippets of her daily life.

Brittany didn’t just go viral. She built a full-fledged career as a content creator with millions of followers on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. All because she figured out the perfect balance between building an audience, collabing with brands, and staying true to herself.

So, what’s her secret to dodging the dreaded ‘one-hit-wonder’ label? Strategy. A rock-solid game plan, clear values, and smart brand outreach make a BIG difference. And that’s exactly what we’re going to explore together. Turn your viral moment into a sustainable online career with these strategies. 

Index:

Key takeaways from this blog
  1. Going viral is just the beginning—staying relevant is the real challenge. Take feedback from your audience to heart and focus on quality over quantity.
  2. Your authentic voice, style, and creativity help you stand out in a sea of creators vying for the spotlight. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite brands. Tip: Stay professional and respond quickly. 
  4. Learn about negotiation terms like “exclusivity” and which payment models work best for you.
  5. A media kit is an eye-catching resume and portfolio rolled into one to showcase your value to brands. Use impact.com’s customizable template to get started. [Click file, make a copy, and start editing]

The science behind your content going viral

Ever wonder why some content goes viral while other posts barely leave a ripple? No matter what some might say, there’s no mystical secret or magic formula. It’s rooted in our human emotions and instincts.

When content taps into our emotions—joy, surprise, or even anger—we’re captivated. Dr. Jonah Berger highlights this point in his popular book Contagious: Why Things Catch On: “when we care, we share.”

We’re compelled to engage, comment, like, and share something that stirs emotion. This spark sets off a wildfire of interest—spreading rapidly across the digital landscape.

But it’s not just tapping into emotions. Practical value is a game-changer. Ever shared a life hack, tip, or guide? We LOVE things that simplify our lives and can’t wait to pass those benefits onto others. Tips, advice, warnings—if it’s helpful and makes life easier, we’ll share it. 

Social currency plays a major part, too. Berger also explains that people share things that make them look good. We all enjoy seeming more knowledgeable and trendy in front of our peers, right? Sharing these posts boosts our social standing.

Finally, we’re hardwired to love a good narrative. Strong storytelling through your content helps you stay relevant and engage audiences—whether posting about your life or partnering with brands.

Going viral isn’t an exact science. However, it’s not a complete mystery either. Understanding these elements shifts the odds in your favor.


Here are 3 strategies (among many) that have helped others catch the viral wave.

viral content types

Reaction videos: engaging and HIGHLY shareable

You don’t always have to pull your ideas out of thin air. Genuine reaction videos can be super engaging—especially when the creators add their unique spin.

Khaby Lame exploded onto the scene in 2020 by reacting to trending life-hack videos and memes. Without speaking a single word, the Senegalese-Italian influencer now has 162+ million TikTok followers. 

khaby lame reaction videos

In this hilarious TikTok, Khaby reacts to an overzealous headbanging guitar player, offering a neck brace. It works because it’s fast, funny, and shareable. 


Travel videos: inspiring people to get out there

Some creators mix up clips from their travels and adventures—creating viral short-form videos. 

Andrea Ference posts snappy montages of mountaineering trips, sea-kayaking, jungle-exploring, and more—often catching viral attention across different platforms. But she also mixes up her content with thorough how-to guides and product recommendations. This fun (and helpful) content gained her almost half a million Instagram followers. 

travel videos on instagram

In this exhilarating Instagram Reel, Andrea shares her experience climbing Mount Baker. It works because it gives fellow adventurers a peek into an experience they may want to try.


Educational videos: captivating audiences for every niche

Good educational content is far from dry and boring. People love to learn while being entertained—which is where ‘edutainment’ comes into play. 

If you follow Hank Green on TikTok, science education can be hilarious, creepy, and genuinely awe-inspiring. He blends scientific facts with reaction videos to inspire people and combat misinformation online. His snappy short videos regularly pass the million views marker. 

hank green educational videos

In this TikTok, Hank talks about one of the most explosive chemicals out there: Azidoazide azide. It works because it’s interesting and informative—even for those who know nothing about chemistry. 


5 ways to build a viral content strategy that bolsters your personal brand

So, your content just went viral, and now you’re basking in the spotlight. Feels incredible, right? But remember, this is just your starting point. 

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of one-hit wonders for each lasting success. Want to know the real game changer? Staying relevant. That’s where a lot of creators fall flat. 

Before you dive into your next content piece, you need a solid strategy. Here are five savvy ways to build a viral content plan that strengthens your personal brand and keeps the buzz alive:

5 ways to build a viral content strategy

1. Listening to your audience helps you find your way

Pay close attention to how your audience is reacting—especially when experimenting with new topics and styles. What boosts engagement? Equally important: what’s not hitting the mark? What’s just not resonating with them?

Some of the best guidance comes directly from your followers—whether through comments, likes, or shares. 

2. Create quality over quantity if you want to go viral again

It might be tempting to post as much as possible. But, overwhelming followers can easily turn people away. Try mixing up your content to captivate your followers and prevent burnout. Think long-term and focus on quality content above all. 

3. Be authentic and share your own story

Your unique voice and creativity landed you here, right? Now’s the time to carve out your own “brand identity.” 

Ask yourself: Is your content something folks can relate to? Do they feel like you’re someone who just ‘gets’ them? Relatability can be your secret ingredient for building lasting connections with your audience—and going viral again. 

People want to follow creators they trust and relate to. More than a third of consumers say they trust creator reviews more in 2022 compared to 2021. And that number is growing. So, lean into strong storytelling in your posts and reels. You’re not just sharing info. You’re taking people on a journey WITH you—whether you’re reviewing restaurants or sharing fashion tips.

Good storytelling doesn’t just improve your content—it gets people invested for the long haul. 

4. Keep the algorithm in mind when posting content

Don’t underestimate the alg. While working behind the scenes, these systems determine what content gets seen and by whom. 

Got an amazing follow-up post? Great. But, it won’t spread if the algorithm doesn’t pick it up. If you’re aiming for sustainable success online, you’ve got to play the algorithm game. 

So, get to know how these algorithms work: understand the best times to post, what performs well, and how engagement impacts visibility.

5. Stay up on trends and mix up your content

Keeping up with online trends will help you find serious traction. Dive into popular topics, check hashtags on Instagram, and try out TikTok’s latest sounds, filters, and challenges. These trends move fast—one day, it’s in, the next, it’s out. But they’re a fantastic way to go viral again. 

Your analytics and performance metrics are crucial here, helping you avoid wasting time on out-of-date trends and keep your focus where it matters. 


9 expert tips for your first brand partnership

Navigating your first brand offer can quickly feel overwhelming. Here are some key points to keep in mind and negotiate the best deal like a pro:

  1. First up, stay (mostly) calm when that first brand offer lands in your inbox. Your content is taking off! It’s exciting, but remember to keep your cool. 
  2. Be professional in all your communications. Remember, this isn’t just about one deal. It’s about building a reputation for long-term success. After all, data shows that a third of brands value professionalism and responsiveness as top factors when considering deals. 
  3. Speaking of reputation, word spreads fast with other brands and marketers—for better or worse. So, always put your best foot forward.
  4. Thank them and ask for some time to consider the brand deal. There’s no need to rush into anything immediately. 
  5. Do your homework. Research the brand thoroughly before agreeing to anything.
  6. Ask yourself: Does this brand align with my values and audience? Can I genuinely stand behind my endorsement?
  7. Don’t worry about missing out. There’ll be other opportunities down the line.
  8. Before you sign on the dotted line, discuss the scope of work so you can quote the brand correctly. You wouldn’t want to lowball yourself and quote for two posts when the brand expects five.
  9. Finally, losing your audience’s trust isn’t worth any brand deal. It’s okay to say no. If it doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.

Brands want creators to start the collab conversation

Who says you have to wait for brands to take notice? You can also make the first move. Start by reaching out to the brands you already love and use. Heartfelt endorsements will be easier, and your followers will recognize your genuine passion.

Quote from Cristy Garcia on viral content creators

Plus, only 5 percent of brands want to find and recruit partners actively themselves. While many creators reach out to brands over social media DMs, most brands prefer email (52 percent). 

How to contact a brand

how to contact a brand

An excerpt from What brands want: building successful creator partnerships in 2023.

Start by sharing your strengths as a creator—and how you’ll help the brand hit their goals. Check out this in-depth guide for research-backed ways to create compelling email pitches for your favorite brands. 


Must-know terminology for brand deals

Some terms feel like they’re in a different language during negotiations. Speaking the same lingo as the people you’re dealing with can help you get a fair deal. These are some useful terms:

must know terminology for brand deals
  • Exclusivity is how long you can’t promote competing brands on your page. 
  • Usage rights define how brands can repurpose your content (in the future and on their own branded accounts). 
  • Deliverables are what you’re expected to produce for each campaign or partnership.
  • Performance-related compensation lines up your financial interests with the brand’s goals. The better you perform (whether that’s app installs, clicks, or sales), the more you’ll rake in.
  • Flat fee payment means you receive a fixed rate for your work—regardless of the reach or impact of your content.

Attract the right attention with a professional media kit

As a creator, your media kit is vital for opening doors. This isn’t just a document; it’s your pitch, showcase, and résumé all rolled into one. Prove your worth, and display your performance statistics, demographics, and values upfront.

Effective media kits help brands instantly gauge whether you’re the right fit for them—which solves their top problem when finding creators to work with. You can fast-track a solid partnership by starting the conversation with brands and motivating your suitability for their campaign. 

Start with your bio: tell a short, compelling story about your values, strengths, and goals. Showcase your creativity through samples. Plus, add your performance metrics and testimonials. 

Remember, the right media kit can easily win over brands you want to partner with. So, take your time and make it count.

Check out this article to find out more about best media kit practices.

Dos and donts for pitching with a media kit

These creator media kit do’s and don’ts are based on brand feedback from our latest report.

If you want a headstart, try impact.com’s media template and then customize it to match your vibe. Just click File, Make a copy, and start editing right away!


5 ways to up your creator game

Top-tier content is your ticket to being an ideal partner for brands. However, there’s no time to rest on your laurels. It’s crucial that you keep refining your skills—especially if you want to keep up with the zeitgeist. These five steps will help you keep improving: 

5 ways to up your creator game
  1. Never stop learning—after all, platforms, tastes, and trends keep changing. 
  2. Attend workshops, webinars, and industry events to grow your own skills (and your network). 
  3. Collab with other creators. These team-ups are perfect for reaching a fresh audience and adding different content to your portfolio. 
  4. Experiment with new content formats and lean into each platform’s strengths. 
  5. Ask your audience for feedback and give them what they want. 

FAQs

1. How can I keep my content relevant?

Know your audience, stay on top of trends, and don’t shy away from trying different content types. Plus, social media is all about interaction. So engage with your followers! Do this, and you’ll keep your content fresh and relatable.

2. Why is a content strategy important?

Your social media strategy is your best roadmap to success—helping you target and engage audiences. Posting aimlessly and hoping virality comes on its own isn’t a sustainable plan. Particularly, if you want content creation as a long-term career.

3. What should my initial outreach message to brands look like? 

Start with a friendly intro about yourself and why their brand stands out to you. Share a few examples of your work and then wrap up by expressing your excitement about a possible collab. Brands are more likely to work with you if you can motivate your suitability for their campaign.


Launching a lasting career from a viral post

Many people focus on going viral without considering what they’ll do next—or how they’ll foster a lasting career. Staying relevant is the real challenge.

By listening to your audience and seeking out highly compatible brand partnerships, you’ll keep growing—especially with a compelling media kit on your side in every potential brand partner interaction. 

As we’ve seen, a good strategy can transform one viral post into a full-fledged career. Start working on yours today!

impact.com / creator gives creators access to top global brands. Use the marketplace to filter brands in all kinds of verticals and find your perfect match. You can also track your campaigns, negotiate deals, and get the fastest payouts in the industry! Sign up today and get started.

Stay in the know. Get our monthly newsletter right in your inbox.

Congratulations!

You have successfully signed signed up to our newsletter. Keep an eye on your inbox...

Invalid email

impact.com values your privacy.