Chasing Viral, and How to Catch It

It’s what you secretly want. You know it, I know it, your agency knows it, and your executives ask for it once a month. The elusive viral content. You just know there is a secret sauce to creating it, you just can’t put your finger on it. Stop wasting your time trying, you can’t. But you can plan better and put yourself in a better position to make it happen.

Plan for Remarkable — Bark at the MoonTruck on Rails

There are things you can do that will increase your chances of creating viral content.

  1. Create and do things that your customers cannot do on their own.Everyone can imagine a crazy idea but not everyone can marshall the resources it takes to pull one off. Consider what resources, money and voice you can lend to an idea that few others can make a reality, then do it.
  2. Do things relevant to your business, but unexpected. If my companydecided to race a car across a two rail track that lifted 20 feet off the ground and had some amazing banks, it would be cool, but we’d look weird doing it. If Ford did it while in other messaging talking about the stability of their driving experience, it would be amazing. (Takers anyone? C’mon. I’d love to see this)
  3. Look for openings in the social conversation. This is a bit more tricky and requires a team looking for opening in the social conversation that might map to items 1 and 2 listed above. It also means you have the germ of an idea that you’re ready to execute on and a really good agency.
  4. Create an emotion. At this years super bowl “Sadvertising” was in full swing. Companies hit us with sad stories that made us think. It can be any emotion but it needs to be strong. It needs to come in at a “gut” level. This is not for the faint of heart. It requires planning determination and knowing what your target audience will react to and how it will relate to your message.

I’m not saying that if you did one or all of the above you’d have a runaway social media hit on your hands, a viral tsunami. But I can predict that if you don’t take positive steps to put yourself in the path of success it will almost always pass you by.

There’s one more bonus step. You need to create content on a constant basis. Only then will you be prepared to take advantage of the 4 items listed above.

Where do you look for viral inspirations?

Authors note: I work for Verizon. Opinions are my own.

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