In Search of Viral Content: Is It Worth the Effort?

Online marketing is a crowded arena. Just check out Internet Live Stats to get an idea of the massive amounts of blog posts, websites, tweets, etc. It’s hard to stand out in the crowd, but every once in a while, some gem emerges that catches the attention of the masses and forms part of the collective consciousness. In other words, something goes viral. But how does that happen?

Often, viral content has nothing to do with a business or marketing goal. Think “Star Wars Kid,” “Dramatic Chipmunk” or “David After Dentist.” However, there are also plenty of examples of bona fide marketing campaigns put together by prominent companies that have gone viral.

While it might seem like the ultimate marketing goal to get some of your content to go viral, Forbes suggests there are a number of reasons why you actually shouldn’t put your efforts into trying to go viral.

Low Odds of Going Viral

It should be pretty evident from the data presented by Internet Live Stats that there’s a lot of content out there competing for the attention of world audiences. The probability of striking it rich with viral content is extremely low, meaning that any marketing campaign specifically geared toward going viral is statistically doomed.

Poor Relation to Product or Service

When you think of trendy Super Bowl commercials, or online viral marketing, there’s often little to no connection to the underlying product or service. The marketer may have generated a lot of buzz and entertained a lot of people, but have they furthered the brand message or increased sales? In most cases the answer is, sadly, no.

Unpredictability of What Will Go Viral

If you think the examples of viral videos provided above seem random and unlikely hits, you’re not alone. It’s difficult to determine what will go viral. This means you can waste a lot of time and resources trying to predict what will catch the fleeting interest of a fickle audience.

Your best bet? Rather than shooting for the moon with one-off viral content, focus on a long-term, steady, strategy of generating useful content that will draw a regular audience of potential customers. That’s not to say that you will never generate some viral content, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus.

Your primary focus should be providing high-quality, relevant information that offers value to your audience. If it goes viral, that’s a bonus.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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