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Every Marketer’s Dream: How To Create Viral Content

2013 January 22

Every marketer dreams about creating viral content, something that is so wildly popular that is gets millions of views in a matter of days, the Today show starts asking for interviews, and your suddenly on everybody’s Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest account. Going viral is very, very good for business. 

But notice that I said that every marketer dreams of going viral. Unfortunately, if every little campaign went viral, then no one would care. So as difficult as going viral is, it’s an honor to actually achieve it. The following rules are not the absolute formula for viral content, but they are found in most popular videos, songs, and blogs. Give them a try and see what kind of bizarre cultural sensation you can come up with next.

Viral Rule #1: Get Weird

Viral content is seldom normal. Awkward characters with funny voices, interesting topics, and ridiculous songs are what grab people’s attention. It’s kind of like making a catchy jingle that people can’t get out of their heads, whether they hate it or not. But hey, at least it sticks. Your viral content, whether it’s a video or a Tumblr account, needs to be borderline absurd in order to get notice. You can still discuss normal topics, as you should since the goal of your viral scheme is to sell your products or services, but just approach it from an unusual standpoint. Take the Dollar Shave Club video for example. When you take away the weird acting, the guy in the bear suit, and the giant tape-cutting knife, you just have a commercial about razor blades. Viral content can be about anything, but it’s never told in a simple way.

Viral Rule #2: Get A Great Writer

Viral content is almost always funny. Every now and then we get a tragic documentary that people go crazy about, but for the purposes of marketing viral content, funny writing is going to be your best friend. Invest in a writer that can make you some funny jokes, pull in relevant topics, and create parodies that are sure to have your audience in stitches. Remember, your campaign can be about anything but from a bizarre standpoint. Find a writer that can balance what you’re selling with these viral necessities.

Viral Rule #3: Take A Tip From The Pros

If you want to be viral, you have to think viral. And luckily for you, many people have made it before you and left their videos behind for you to watch, study, and mimic. Google any number of viral videos from “Marcel The Shell” to “Gangnam Style,” Old Spice’s “I’m On A Horse” to Volkswagen’s “The Dog Strikes Back.” Even though not all of these videos have something to sell, they’ve all gone viral because they find interesting ways of approaching ordinary things. Try and incorporate those elements into your viral content so your audience and relate and identify the humor.

Viral Rule #4: Get Sponsored

Having sponsored content can go a long way towards your viral factor. A celebrity endorsement ensures that your video will at least get views from both the dedicated fans and the “love-to-hate” fans. And certainly, all those fans will share with their friends, who will share with their friends, and so on. Brad Pitt recently did a campaign for Chanel No. 5 which in no way fits most of these viral rules. Nonetheless, the video has millions of views and has been talked about on almost every radio show, talk show, blog, and news site. Now, I wouldn’t say that you can throw out just about every rule if you get a celebrity to act in your viral spot, but it can’t hurt.

Viral Rule #5: Strike While The Iron Is Hot

People are absolutely wild about viral content when they first see it and they might even watch a few more times when showing it to friends and co-workers. But eventually, all viral content loses its luster and the moment passes. Therefore, probably the most important thing to remember about viral content is that it’s only good when it’s good. Be prepared to think quickly if major events happen so your content can be relevant and relatable. Also, if you do happen to go viral, be ready for an influx of business and media. After all, you’re doing this for the attention; so don’t be surprised when your phone is ringing at all hours of the night.

The formula for viral content is definitely tucked away somewhere, out of sight from prying eyes and hungry marketers. But the success stories of so many other viral videos have been left for us to watch, again and again. We’ve learned that the best viral content is a little weird, well written, and relevant. While we may never be able to turn every campaign into a viral masterpiece, we can at least make our best attempts for the sake of our clients and consumers.

Pete Wise is the SEO Manager at blue onion whom have been on the cutting edge of ad creation for the better part of two decades. If you need a denver advertising agency to take your service or product offering to the next level, contact blue onion today. We do everything from branding seminars to full advertising campaigns.

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