How To Turn Viral Moments Into Hot-Selling Merch

In Creator success, Design tips by Danielle Pederson February 9, 2024

Going viral is one of the best things that can happen to content creators. Not only does it boost your followers and make you internet-famous, but it can also fill your wallet—especially if you know how to turn that moment into awesome merch.

So, if you have content that blew up or got tons of likes and shares, don’t let it slip away! Take that moment, turn it into a killer design, and slap it on merch to sell to your fans.

When done right, viral moments translated into designs can deeply resonate with your audience and ignite excitement for them to purchase. Plus, it’s a cool way for them to show off their fandom to their buddies who love your stuff too.

Ready to turn your viral moment into a merch empire? Check out our tips below and let’s make some merch magic happen! 

1. Strike While It’s Hot:

Timing is key when it comes to cashing in on a viral moment. Don’t hesitate—start brainstorming merch ideas as soon as your video starts blowing up.

If you’re feeling stuck on what to create, consider these things:

  • Was there a line in your content that had everyone laughing or quoting it in the comments? This could be a good line to throw on some merch.
  • Could any freeze frame from your video be turned into a funny meme?
  • What are people chatting about in the comments? Is there a theme that keeps popping up?

By asking these questions, you’ll get a good idea of what kind of merch would really hit home with your fans.

For instance, let’s say your viral moment captured you busting a move with your grandpa, and everyone in the comments couldn’t get enough of his smooth moves. You could turn that into a meme with him rocking digital sunglasses and the caption “I leave no crumbs.” Then, slap that meme on coffee mugs, shirts, notebooks—whatever you think your audience would love.

But remember, don’t spend ages agonizing over the perfect design. The quicker you act, the more impact your merch will have.

2. Keep It On-Brand:

When creating your merch design, it’s important to keep it on-brand and give it the familiar vibes that people already associate with you and your content. So whether it’s a hilarious catchphrase, a jaw-dropping discovery, or a signature move that got everyone hyped, your design should still resonate with your brand. 

Why? Here are a few reasons staying on brand is so important:

Brand Recognition 

Keeping your merch consistent with your brand helps your fans instantly know it’s yours. When they see your merch, they should be like, “Oh yeah, that’s [Your Name]’s stuff!” It makes them more likely to buy it and rep it proudly and allows them to easily bond with other fans of yours when they’re out and about.

Emotional Connection

You’ve built up a real bond with your audience over time, right? Your brand represents all the things they love about you—your humor, your positivity, your unique perspective. So when your merch reflects that, it strengthens the connection even more. 

Making It All Fit

Your merch should feel like it’s part of the bigger picture of you and your content. Whether your fans are watching your videos, scrolling through your socials, or rocking your merch, everything should feel like it’s from the same awesome universe. When it’s all consistent, it creates this super cool experience for your fans that they can’t get enough of.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you stay on brand as you transform your viral moment into a design your fans will instantly recognize as yours:

  • Think about what makes your brand unique and incorporate those vibes into your merch designs. Whether you’re all about humor, positivity, or breaking boundaries, try to add some of that into your viral moment merch design.
  • Keep your design in line with your overall aesthetic. Whether you’re into bold and colorful or chill and minimalist, translate your viral moment into your style.
  • Don’t forget to use your existing brand elements, like logos and colors, if it makes sense, to tie everything together and make your merch instantly recognizable.

3. Get Creative with Products:

Choosing the right products for your merch is key to turning your viral moment into a cash cow! 

Here’s how to pick products that will have your fans lining up to buy:

Know Your Audience

Consider what your fans are into and choose products that match their style. Whether they’re gamers, fitness freaks, or everyday parents, pick merch items that they’ll actually want to buy and use. If you’re not sure which to choose, browse our Core Collections for ideas.

Think Outside the Box

Don’t stick to the basics—get creative with your merch ideas! From socks to pet tees, explore unique products that stand out and make a statement. 

Stay Practical

While being creative is important, make sure your merch is also practical and useful. Choose items that people can use in their daily lives, like water bottles or tote bags, to ensure maximum exposure for your brand. Also, coffee mugs are one of the best sellers and easy gift ideas, so consider adding your viral moment to one!

Test and Learn

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different products and see what resonates with your audience. Gather feedback and use it to refine your merch lineup over time, ensuring that you’re always offering what your fans want.

4. Get Your Fans Involved:

Your fans are the heart and soul of your content, so why not make them an integral part of your merch-making journey? Start by sharing sneak peeks of your designs on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Let them see the creative process unfold in real-time and give them a glimpse behind the scenes.

But don’t stop there—ask for their input and feedback! Run polls or contests to let them vote on their favorite designs, colors, or slogans. Not only does this make your fans feel valued and appreciated, but it also gives them a sense of ownership over the final product. And when your fans feel like they’ve had a hand in creating your merch, they’ll be even more excited to rock it and show it off to the world.

5. Shout It from the Rooftops

Last but not least, once your merch is live, go all out spreading the news! 

Here are some of the best ways to do that: 

Blast it on Social Media

Your social media platforms are your megaphone, so use them to their full potential! Post about your merch on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and any other platforms where your fans hang out. Remind everyone of your viral moment and why you created this merch.

Order Samples

Samples can increase your sales by 300%, so don’t be afraid to order yours! Once you have your samples in hand, you can use them in your content and advertise them without even saying a word about it! Fans that see you wearing or using products that remind them of your viral moment will be intrigued and want to get their hands on them. After all, you’re internet famous, so who doesn’t want to copy you?

Host Giveaways or Contests

Everyone loves free stuff, so why not host a giveaway or contest to drum up excitement for your merch launch? Offer prizes like exclusive merch bundles, signed merch items, or even a virtual hangout with you. Encourage your fans to participate by sharing your merch launch posts, tagging their friends, or creating user-generated content related to your merch. Giveaways and contests are a fun and interactive way to engage your fans and generate buzz around your merch launch.

Create FOMO

Use scarcity and limited-time offers to create a sense of urgency and encourage your fans to act fast. After all, your viral moment will probably only have a short time under the sun, so creating FOMO around your merch is a good plan no matter what.  

Engage with Your Fans

Don’t forget to keep the party going with your fans during your merch launch! Reply to their comments and messages, give them a big thanks for all the love, and make sure they feel like they’re in on the action. Encourage them to show off their new merch on social media, especially because so many people will have seen your viral moment. Building that sense of community and connection with your fans will make your merch launch even more successful!

What’s next?

In the end, turning your viral moments into hot-selling merch is not just about capitalizing on a trend—it’s about building an epic connection with your fans. By getting creative, sticking to your vibe, and making your fans feel like they’re part of the squad, you can take a moment and turn it into a merch sensation.

Remember, timing is key, so don’t sleep on brainstorming those merch ideas while the hype’s still fresh. Keep it real, keep it you, and keep your fans in the loop every step of the way.

Stay tuned for more content that will help add more zeros to your bank account and become the content creator everyone knows about.