The Content Marketing Secrets You Can Learn From Bahubali

Everybody knows this unsolved mystery of 2015: Why Katappa Killed Bahubali. It still occupies the mindspace of all those readers who have seen this epic movie Bahubali. In the climax, Katappa, the most loyal soldier of Mahismati kingdom, was seen killing Bahubali, the good heart king of the state.


It shocked audiences in theatres. They had never seen such kind of climax. What can our fellow content marketers/ marketers can learn from this grand epic. Before we discuss it in detail, lets take another example related to this movie. Below is a headline related to this epic movie that appeared on the

“There are grave doubts over Katappa’s involvement in Bahubali’s murder, says P Chidambaram”

Do you know how many times the above piece of (fake) news was shared?
Staggering 4800 times in just 2 days!It means the number of clicks and impressions on the story would be much higher as those who all read the article did not choose to share the story.

Have you ever given a thought why this piece of news or content became viral. What it has that others don’t have. What are the basic ingredients that make a story an epic? Why some films like Bahubali suddenly hits the screen without any marketing and it becomes a rage.

Deciphering this secret is important for startups that don’t have sufficient budget for content promotion. They can do it any way with a little budget as well if they have an intuitive understanding of what can work and what can’t.

This is true for any advertisement, fiction, theatre, movie or news article or video. There are certainly something very common in Mahabharata, Bahubali, 3-Idiots and Ganganam video. All of these are great pieces of viral content. We have tried to understand this phenomenon scientifically. This is one of the biggest riddles of content marketers.

Is it possible to replicate this kind of results with a predictable process? Is there any science behind the psyche that makes your content viral?

Both marketers and scientists have tried to find out the solution to this eternal question: What’s that compelling reason that provokes people to click the share button. It’s a herculean effort for many people anyway. People are by nature lazy and they won’t make any extra effort to increase their headache. So they won’t respond to your‘click to tweet’, won’t subscribe to your email subscription forms or won’t make any kind of ‘extra’ effort that helps pushy marketers.

Marketing expert Seth Godin says, “Ideas that spread, win.” The contrary is also true. Ideas that don’t spread die. But what it is that provokes people to spread the idea.

Newton’s first Law of motion offers some clue about it:

“Everything wants to maintain its state of rest or uniform motion unless it’s acted upon by some external force to change that state.”

Above law of motion is the foundation stone of the classical mechanics. It can help to offer some insight to eternal question.”

First, people would keep doing what they have been doing so far. If they have been reading article continuously, they would keep doing it.

Obviously, they won’t keep reading it for a long time, but they would not do another thing such as sharing, clicking or filling forms for the time they are reading.

Second, people’s inertia can be broken by applying some external force of sufficient quantum. That maens, people can be forced to break their inertia and provoked to share a piece of content. However, the catch is the ‘force’ applied should be of sufficient quantum or in another words: there should be sufficient reason hidden in the content that forces people to take that ‘extra’ action.

The headline or bodycopy or visual sequence should be provocative. They should arouse human emotion such as curiocity, anger, shock, awe, pity and lust. How you can do it.

The University of Pennsylvania researchers Jonah Berger and Katherine A. Milkman did a study and they found that those articles that kindled the feelings of awe and curiosity.

Find a worthy story that can be told

The biggest challenge for marketers, authors and journalists is getting a good story. Ira Glass, host of NPR’s “This American Life,” has said the hardest part of telling a good story is finding one worth telling.

Consume as much articles as you can. Read articles, academic studies, and books about a certain subject. It may help you pick an idea that may appeal you.

This does not mean only new and original stories succeed. Had it been so Mahabharata would not have been successful. Don’t you know that what to expect from Manmohan Desai films who gave umpteen number of hit films on just one concept: lost and found.

Even the movie Bahubali is inspired by Amar Chitra Katha and the character Katappa seems to be influenced by the famous Mahabharata character ‘Bhisma Pitamah’. Both directors Rajamouli weaved and repackaged it in a different way.

Therefore, keep your eyes open, read and think a lot to find out to get inspiration for the next content. Amul billboard ads are great testimony to this fact.

Amul billboard ads produce humorous content on the most talked about event or news. Producing a shareworthy content at a trending topic may be a good strategy.


The blendtec ad campaign called “ Will it blend” generated more than 234, 579,000 views giving the much needed popularity to brand. Our own Favicol ads have been quite creative and they have been liked and talked a lot. Most of these popular content actually took inspiration from their own local culture. However, the appeal was not just local but global.

Choose your area carefully

Not every area or subject has the same propensity to virility. Some areas such as movie, food, fashion, sports and science have more
propensity to get shared than business and technology.

In a study conducted by the Buffer Social, a social media analytics firm, it found, “Topics like food, home, and lifestyle clearly accounted for 85% of the world’s most viral content. Topics like business, tech, and news actually accounted for only 14% of this traffic.”

Those topics which a more human touch has a more chance to get success. The Advanced Marketing Institute has a headline analyzer (coschedule) tool that checks the ‘Emotional’ power of your headline. The posts with higher emotional value, on an average, have been found to be shared more on the social media.


It found that those posts having emotional value score of more than 30-40 have more chance to succeed. Though the tool has a limitation as it fails to judge the pun hidden in the headline. However, it can still provide a good place to start with.

We tried to dig a few headlines on the famous Indian site Most of the headlines got shared between 1000 to 1500. One headline that grabbed our attention was:

15 Foods That Will Boost Your Sex Drive And Make You A Champ In Bed

And undoubtedly it carried a Sunny Leone picture eating strawberries (what else more do you expect!). The post was shared 4000 times. A mediocre write would have ended it: 15 Foods That Will Boost Your Sex Drive. We checked its Emotional Value and the result did not surprise us, it was 33.

Image: Emotional value of headline
Image: Emotional value of headline

Choose the platform carefully

If a post, image or a video became viral on one social platform, it does not mean it will have the similar result on other social platforms. Buffer Social , in its study, found that words like ‘Thing’, ‘Homemade’ and should are shared more on Facebook. Pinterest on the other hand shared more using words ‘chicken’, ‘butter’ and ‘cookies’.

Conclusion: Human appeal wins

The key take away from Katappa’s story is that you should constantly try to learn the art of titillating human emotions in the content marketing. The director Rajamouli ended the movie Bahubali giving an unexpected twist to the whole plot. It increased the curiosity quotient hugely. Just by giving an interesting spin to your headline

Practicing this art constantly will help you manufacture highly shareworthy and viral content more frequently.


Chief Content Strategist

An active journalist and blogger with more than a decade of experience. He has worked with various national and international publications. Sharing behind the curtain news is his passion.

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