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University of Pennsylvania

Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


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Ever wondered why some things become popular, and other don't? Why some products become hits while others flop? Why some ideas take off while others languish? What are the key ideas behind viral marketing? This course explains how things catch on and helps you apply these ideas to be more effective at marketing your ideas, brands, or products. You'll learn how to make ideas stick, how to increase your influence, how to generate more word of mouth, and how to use the power of social networks to spread information and influence. Drawing on principles from his best-selling book, "Contagious: Why Things Catch On," Professor Jonah Berger illustrates successful strategies for you to use buzz to create virality so that your campaigns become more shareable on social media and elsewhere. By the end of this course, you'll have a better understanding of how to craft contagious content, build stickier messages, and get any product, idea, or behavior to catch on.


  • What Makes Ideas Sticky?
    • In this module, you'll start to learn what makes products, ideas, and behaviors contagious; in other words, why they catch on. You'll explore the science behind why some things become popular while others fail. You'll also discover the key principles, or six SUCCESs” factors that make messages stick. Finally, you'll learn how to make any idea more memorable, whether it’s a pitch to your boss or a lesson you want students to remember.
  • How Social Influence Shapes Behavior
    • In this module, you'll examine how social influence shapes everything people do: from the products we buy and candidates we vote for to the food we like and careers we pursue. You’ll learn how people use others to help them make choices and how companies leverage this power to shape the products and services we use. You'll discover when people are more likely to conform or do the same thing as others, and when they are more likely to diverge or do something different. At the end of this module, you'll understand how to avoid being influenced by others and how to use influence to make yourself more successful.
  • The Power of Word of Mouth
    • This module will teach you about the power of word of mouth. You’ll learn why word of mouth, or person to person communication, is 10 times as effective as traditional advertising. Further, you’ll discover why some products or ideas get talked about more than others. Why some online content goes viral or some things get more buzz. You’ll learn the six key STEPPS that drive people to share, and how by understanding those drivers, you can make anything more contagious.
  • Social Networks
    • In this module, you'll learn what social networks are, and how they shape the spread of information and influence. How the patterns of social ties between people determine what we do, and what catches on. How people we’ve never even met can influence our tastes and preferences. You’ll learn about how strong and weak ties help get people jobs, and whether to concentrate or spread out marketing resources when launching a new product. By the end of this module, you'll not only be able to analyze the success of popular products, ideas, and services, but also apply these insights to make your own stuff more likely to catch on.

Taught by

Jonah Berger


4.2 rating, based on 28 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 5154 ratings

Start your review of Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

  • This class is concise and engaging, similar to a course on LinkedIn Learning. However, there is room for improvement in terms of learner interaction. The discussion board appears to have outdated posts, leaving one to question whether the course staff regularly monitor it. The course can be completed in just a few hours, but the presented material is compelling and memorable.

    Text edited with the support of ChatGPT.
  • It is a course of social psychology. It describes how an idea is spread and why an idea can be viral.
  • Enrico Garcia
    I found this to be extremely helpful. Excellent content. The audio though was weak. Not sure why it is 4 weeks. This can be completed in one sitting. Nonetheless, great use of stories on other famous brands to highight the topic being discussed.
  • This was an easy-to-follow -course with some nice knowledge about viral marketing and what kind of content people share (or don't) . Maybe it was not exactly what I was searching for, but interesting enough to keep me aboard even so.
  • Anonymous
    I learnt a lot I didn't know as a social media Manager. The tips and example were really helpful and they all stuck.

    However, it was disappointing to know I couldn't even take the assessment as a way of revision without paying the fee
  • Profile image for Taisa Veras
    Taisa Veras
    I really enjoyed taking this course. I have a digital marketing background especially in social media and influencer marketing, and this course helped me expand my knowledge about marketing and the psychology behind it. Professor Jonah Berger was succinct and easy to understand and follow. He gives great examples through his course that helps the viewer tie it all together.
  • Anonymous
    nice and interesting course. simple explanations and good examples! very interesting if you work with social media and in the field of PR. Thank you for a great course.
  • Anonymous
    The course was excellent, I really liked the way that it was presented and the examples he used. my only recommendation is to improve the audio, the quality was very low.

  • Haley Haas
    This course was really interesting! I've been able to apply and relate some of the material to my current job and better understand why and how to make things catch on. I'd definitely recommend this course to anybody that wants a closure look at consumer behavior.
  • Vipin Patel
    It was a nice course. I had already read the book so it was a summary for me. Enjoyed this small course and ways to craft the contagious contents.
  • Profile image for Yada Wipatavit
    Yada Wipatavit
    I managed to complete this course within 4 hours (without doing the quizzes). I think overall it is a good course to understand the concept and refresh the theories. However, it might not worth paying for the certificate.
  • Yoís Núñez Araya
    Excelente opción disponibilidad d horario, en mi caso trabajo en ventas y ayudaría mucho para ampliar conocimiento en ventas
  • Anonymous
    Very vague. I've watched a few videos and they still feel like an introduction rather than anything useful, considering its a short course, its just a waste of time.
  • Profile image for Ruben Beltran
    Ruben Beltran
    I like because use the same criterios in the structure of the course , ideas like simple, credible, stories, etc. The only idea of thinking my message in this way, make me re-thinks the way i use to do it until now.
  • Anonymous
    This is the first time I have attended to Pennsylvania classes online and it was a great experience and format. The instructor provided good information and examples.
  • Anonymous
    Um curso que traz novos conhecimentos de um mundo que está em constante evolução, ter esse conhecimento ajudar a compreendo melhor toda essa evolução.
  • Anonymous
    I believe it is a well rounded course where you learn basic tools for making and understanding viral content. I like it, it is short but precise.
  • Anonymous
    I've been surch for this a longe time.

    Now i'm Very exciting to become learn ALL of this

    Let's Go!!!!!!
  • Profile image for Megan Williams Lostroh
    Megan Williams Lostroh

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