History has taught us that some of the most successful, well-known businesses are those that manage to achieve the elusive target of going viral. But how exactly do they do it?
Well, the one sure-fire way of ruining your chances is by trying to force it to happen – viral acts are, by nature, relaxed, creative and usually entertaining. There’s no formula for success, but here’s a few things you can do to help.
What can your product do?
On the internet, very few people will actually passionately care about your product. What they’re much more likely to care about is what your product can do to help them – so think about that, empathise with your customers and put that across in your video/viral campaign.
It’s no secret that things usually explode across the internet because they’re funny, so aim for that (some great companies have done this by exaggerating the problem their product solves to a ridiculous degree). Whatever you do though, remember what your core message is and stick to it; everyone likes a story.
Make it short and sweet
If nothing’s happened in the first 15 seconds of your video, you’ve gone wrong and lost a lot of your audience in the process. The thing to remember about online marketing is that, unlike a television ad, it requires participation on the part of the audience – and no-one’s going to click the ‘share’ button if they turned the video off half way through.
As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule and if you really think you’ve hit gold which requires a bit more setup then don’t immediately write it off – there’s been some great viral videos which have lasted upwards of five minutes.
Think about what your audience will expect – then don’t do it
The key to success is quite often the element of surprise. Get creative and see what happens – but remember that unexpected and ridiculous are two entirely different things.
If you’re struggling, then there’s no harm getting some help – ask friends, family or a local theatre group for their input, and don’t be afraid to spend a little to get a professional in.
Play the odds
The fact is that none of us can really know what’s going to take off and what isn’t – so play the odds and keep releasing content until something works. I’d be willing to bet that a huge proportion of viral videos were just accidents which went far further than the creator imagined, so don’t be disheartened when your first idea doesn’t work.
Rob writes for online marketing agency Vision Media.