Contrary to Popular Belief, Going Viral Rarely Happens for Free

Don’t believe it if someone tells you a marketing idea can easily go viral. And even more so, forget about it going viral for free. The truth is there is almost always an investment involved to make something go viral.

It goes beyond what you spend to create the content, no matter if it’s video, images or writing. There are advertising costs that go along with making something go viral. And before you say, “But what about …”? It’s true, there are instances where content goes viral with little investment, but it’s very rare.

Besides, more likely than not, the things that everyone thinks just happened are actually a product of large budgets and aggressive marketing and advertising. There are some tips, however, that can help your project go viral.

  • Engage their emotions! Don’t expect your white paper or case study to go viral. Not likely. Go for the emotional level whether it’s sad, happy, zany, cerebral, controversial or simply weird.
  • People want entertainment, so entertain them! But don’t miss the point. Make sure your marketing message comes across. You must have substance of some sort to tie to your brand.
  • Make it impactful! You must get their attention in order to engage them. Experiment with photos and images. Ask people for their input. The image is nearly as important as the message itself.
  • Your headline must scream the answer to why your audience should engage and clearly say what’s in it for them? Try a few variations, and again, ask for input from friends.

If you have created something worth going viral, it should be worth investing in. Do some promotions on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. There’s a platform to accommodate your brainchild, so get it out there. And social media makes it even easier to get viral activity going. If one user likes, share or retweets your message, all of that user’s connections will see it too – and you pay nothing.

With a bit of luck and determination, this will create a kind of snowball effect, which will gain even more momentum if you get the industry thought leaders on board. Most are usually happy to help if you ask them the right way. Don’t start emailing them to save time. Simply pick up the phone and ask. Share with them what you’re planning and hope to achieve. You may be surprised how many leadership luminaries like to participate in projects like this.