I’ve been seeing, what I consider to be, a rather disturbing trend in my RSS feed lately. I’ve been noticing a lot of titles like:
How to Write Articles That Go Viral
3 Easy Steps to a Viral Video
Make Your Next Post Viral!
Even at a recent event with some area PR folks, one of the speaker’s main points was to make your social campaigns “go viral”.
What has been bothering me with this surge in how to go viral articles is that people are going to expect a magic formula to go viral in an instant. Yes, we all want our content to be shared, but not everything is going to be the next Harlem Shake (thank goodness). There is no formula for what gives something that je ne sais quoi needed for magic internet stardom.
There are some things that seem to make content more share-able Hitting on a particular emotional note, making people laugh or cry, jumping onto an already existing meme or trend are popular share boosters. Or cats, a funny cat is always a good strategy (wait, what? No.) You need to start with awesome content before you do anything else, no one is going to want to share your post or video if it is lame, unless they are mocking it. You don’t want to go down as the brand who went viral for all the wrong, unintentional reasons.
You should also make sure that what you are creating is on-brand. While something may be hysterical for the people watching, think of how your content reflects on your brand. Do you really want your brand affiliated with poop?
When creating content – don’t go into it thinking “I’m just going to make a viral video today”. Instead, go into the creation process thinking you are going to create great content that people will want to share. Once you have it made, be sure to not only share it on your own social media sites, but make it easy for others to do so. Are your images pinnable? Do you have social sharing buttons? Have you short and sweet Tweet ready quotes? The easier you make it for people to share, the more likely they will be to do so. You can even enlist sharing as a call to action.
Just remember, You don’t make viral – but you most certainly can make share-able.
Now -stop reading, share this post and then go make something epic!