Isn’t it promising when your latest digital campaign has extensively surpassed the publicity that you are aiming for? Although the term “viral” has totally been overused (and sometimes a little overrated), you cannot change the effect when any of your competitors hit a viral mark, you can’t help but tremble in envy. Why? Simply because viral contents are hitting two birds in one stone: (1) extra publicity with less cost, and (2) a window of opportunity to get more potential clients.
But before we get ahead too much, let’s try to further understand what viral content is all about. Generally speaking, viral content is the term used to describe any content marketing material (mostly through social media networks) that rapidly spread across the Internet because of an enormous attention it gets from the audience.
In a nutshell, viral content is like the new “talk of the town”. Remember those days when the word of mouth is super powerful that it can make an unknown product become a popular brand – a person will pass the information to anyone they know then that person will pass it to another person, and the cycle continues. But in the modern age, people disseminate the information through “sharing” on social media until it becomes like an epidemic, a virus. Thus, earning the term “viral”.
What makes it extra special to have a viral ad? Well, in this era where there is a vast volume of digital campaigns online, it’s kind of a challenge to capture the attention of the majority of social media enthusiasts. No matter which industry you are in, there seems to be a tough competition when it comes to stealing the spotlight from the current trendy meme or video that’s circulating the World Wide Web.
If you do the math, using it as a marketing strategy seems really promising. But, how can a simple content become viral?
First, let’s point out the difference between a viral content and a clickbait content. If you will be technical about it, clickbaits are contents that will make a user want to click on the link of a content because of a catchy title but it doesn’t reflect much on the content. You’ll get the hit (from the user who saw it) but there’s no brand recall. While viral ads, on the other hand, delivers a valuable message from the title to the content that people will actually relate to or liked, which will make them want to share the content (a potential double hit points).
There are many qualities an ad would need to become viral. Of course, it differs from the type of audience you are dealing with. Knowing your target market plays a big role in making a huge hit for your campaigns – you’ll know what they want, how they think, what do they prefer, etc. But there’s one aspect that actually works on all types of audience – emotions.
Emotionally-charged contents have the ability to tingle the interest and penetrate the hearts of any audience, from any age group and from any culture. Because of this, many companies are going for a touchy-feely campaign, hoping to snatch a spot on people’s timelines.
Another audience-dragging contents are those that have longer message. Although people are fond of sharing funny and cutesy memes and articles, many are still eager to share longer, intellectual, and informative contents.
In addition, videos and visual contents are also one of the most popular contents online. Aside from the fact that it is visually enticing, illustrated and moving contents deliver the message more effectively plus it’s more entertaining and informative.
Now, considering all the points mentioned above, would you consider having a viral content is actually good for your business or is it just boosting your publicity? Is your 15-minute fame enough to bring better return of investment?
So, can your business also reach an “epidemic” stage?
Well, we all know that viral contents are short-lived, thus they have a deadline that no one can predict. Aside from that, planning to have a “viral ad” is impossible. Nobody knows what will amuse the audience tomorrow or the day after; the techy generation is one of the most unpredictable market.
So, is it possible to make this spur-of-the-moment success a permanent one?
The answer is a resounding….. IT DEPENDS ON YOU.
When your brand suddenly becomes hot on the web, the lasting effect will depend on how you react to it. How would you go about it?
1. Strike while the iron is hot
It’s already there, might as well make it count. Since people are becoming more interested with you, it’s time to take advantage of it. You can start riding the tide by releasing some of your long-term strategies related to the campaign and start promoting your business more.
For example, a not-so-popular fast food chain went viral for one of their campaigns for their best-selling burger. While the Internet is going wild about their brand, it’s their opportunity to sell some of their unpopular burgers. It will tickle the public’s curiosity and it can consequently increase their sale in the future.
2. Analyse why you went viral and work with it
Let’s admit it; not all viral content became popular because it’s good. Some ads become popular because it’s bad. You may not want to be popular for the wrong reasons but it’s inevitable. If you realize that you are getting popular for being “unliked”, it’s time to consider creating a follow up campaign that can renew your credibility and the refuel the trust of your audience. For a moment, you may not care much if people will hate you once you see the infinite hits on YouTube, but you have to keep in mind that your reputation is more important than any other statistics.
But, it’s still brand recall, right? Probably, yes. Which means that, you have the option to turn things around while you are on the spotlight.
3. Get a clever follow up when needed
Regardless if it’s for a positive or for a negative reason, make sure to make a clever follow up. You cannot hang the interest of your audience; you cannot leave them partly-satisfied. Make sure to create another content of the same taste to keep your audience on the hook.
If it’s a bad publicity, start creating contents that may revive your image. And if it’s a good publicity, you’ve got to keep it going.
4. Start consistency
Since you already had the head start, although unexpectedly, it’s time to start focusing on producing useful contents. Your new campaigns does not necessarily have to be in line with the content that goes viral, but you can also start conceptualising contents that will be really useful. To be able to win in content marketing, you have to consistently create materials that will be useful (and entertaining) to your audience.
5. Don’t aim to be viral again
Ok. The fame is addicting, we get it. But once you go viral, you shouldn’t focus on creating contents that will hit the same popularity mark. Continue producing authentic and helpful contents that reflects the quality of your brands and services. Don’t force it to be the best too, especially in the creation process. Squeezing your creative juices just to create a “one-of-a-kind” content may make you dry.
Honestly, you need a big chunk of luck to be an instant hit. There may be various tips and techniques in creating a “potential viral content” but it all boils down to the sliding mood of the online audience. There can’t be a solid basis as to how you can be viral online, and it’s not a good idea to keep hoping for that to happen.
To keep your business sturdy and on the rise, always remember to focus on your brand’s credo in providing the quality of products and services that your consumers deserve. Just let your creativity flow, stick to your purpose, and the rest will follow.