Busting The Myth Of ‘Viral’ Strategies

"…and we’ll produce a viral video, too."

I’ve heard this way too often in the last year. I cringe every time. I usually bite my tongue and accept that the person is saying it through ignorance. One time, having a bad day, I spoke up: "Sorry, but I don’t think you can say it’s going to go viral."

The person looked at me like I’d slapped them in the face. Me and my big mouth.

Here’s what I meant: You can produce the perfect video, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to ‘go viral.’

You can’t make a ‘viral video.’

What can you do?

You can take steps to help your video on its way. Optimize the content, market it correctly, use it within a well thought-out strategy. You could even use some ethically-suspect tactics (note: don’t do it) to drive traffic.

All your work still doesn’t guarantee that people will watch it, like it and pass it on to others. That part depends on those people and a bit of luck.

I’ve had this post on my to-do list for a while, but today I found that Mitch Joel has written the perfect post on the exact same subject (and much more eloquently than I ever could).

As Mitch says:

If a Marketer claims that they can make something go viral, be sure to steal their crystal ball on the way out of the meeting.

Rather than re-inventing the wheel by writing the same stuff here, I suggest you head on over to the Canadian Marketing Association’s blog and read Mitch’s post.

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Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.