Admit it. When you put up a blog or social media post, you try to sex it up with a snappy subject line and terrific image, hoping your post will go viral, reach a gazillion people and quickly increase your audience and more importantly, convert new clients.
Everybody wants attention, more ‘likes,’ more comments, more page views and more business.
But viral is for thrill seekers; there has to be some kind of shock value or it’s not going to achieve its goal.
It’s a short-term fix and it’s not sustainable. You can’t continue to produce at this level, so it really becomes meaningless.
I’m thinking back to a few examples of posts that went viral.
Politics. These days, the headlines are carefully crafted to tease. They tantalize us with come-ons to read about Trump’s latest activity.
We click the link to find we’ve been suckered again; there’s nothing substantive — just another empty headline.
Snake in the toilet. Remember the one a while back about the San Diego woman who flushed the toilet, looked back and found a five-foot boa constrictor emerging from the bowl?
Anyone who’s afraid of snakes remembers this for the sheer horror of being alone in the bathroom with a deadly snake.
Son shoots mother in the back. Remember the post about the Florida gun-rights activist whose four-year old son shot her in the back with a loaded pistol?
Puppy Monkey Baby. Remember the Puppy Monkey Baby ad from Super Bowl 50? Few even recall the product (Mountain Dew) it was promoting, but this amalgamated creature was just plain disturbing.
Yet there were more than 22 million views of the Puppy Monkey Baby commercial on Mountain Dew’s YouTube channel. Most of the user comments were negative and the sentiment was dubious. Mountain Dew likely didn’t care — they were more focused on the shock value of this anomaly.
Going viral isn’t a content strategy
Going viral shouldn’t be something you plan for, nor is it something that’s easily replicated for long-term success.
Most viral content has a very short shelf life. It’s the darling of the Internet for a few days, a week, maybe two, then it’s gone. Today’s audience had painfully short memories and quickly moves on to the next shocking thing.
Instead of viral marketing, focus on quality content
A better approach: Creating long-lasting content strategies that help your audience connect with your products/services.
Focus on creating great content that people will enjoy reading and find helpful. Be smart, engaging, funny, share a story, highlight a new product or person.
If you create useful content that people want to read, you stand a much better chance of building a loyal audience, of being recognized as an industry expert, someone with whom people want to work.