Can viral content be created? Yes, if the product or service is something people want to tell their friends about. No if the product or service sucks.
If you create something people will like, that offers them value for their money; that makes them laugh, think, or feel; or that saves them time, money or aggravation; people will want to tell their friends about it.
Then you can create a vehicle that will help them do that. When you make it easy for them to send a video, link, email, image, coupon, or report about your product or service to their friends, you’ve created content that can help your product or service go viral.
That is NOT the same as creating a video about something nobody cares about and calling it a viral.
Seth Godin has written a masterful post on viral marketing. In it, he says:
“Viral marketing is an idea that spreads–and an idea that while it is spreading actually helps market your business or cause….Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing. Who cares that 32,000,000 people saw your stupid video? It didn’t market you or your business in a tangible, useful way… Being viral isn’t the hard part. The hard part is making that viral element actually produce something of value, not just entertainment for the client or your boss…..”
Godin, like Hugh Macleod, says you need to build the product as something people will want to tell their friends about. Macleod calls these products and ideas “social objects.”
Here’s Hugh’s definition of social objects:
“The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the reason two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else. Human beings are social animals. We like to socialize. But if think about it, there needs to be a reason for it to happen in the first place. That reason, that “node” in the social network, is what we call the Social Object.”
The bottom line: if your product sucks, no amount of marketing, advertising, or PR is going to turn it viral.
– How to Make a Video Contest Succeed – or Suck
– The Doghouse: A marketing video that’s gone viral and why
– 10 Tips on How to Make Your Video Go Viral
Cartoon by Hugh Macleod