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August 10, 2015

Viral Marketing: 5 Tips to Maximize Reach & Impact

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

Every marketer aims to create a smashingly viral success with every campaign launch. We all want our content to reach each targeted demographic and persona. But how do we get maximum exposure for the campaigns that we launch? And what does it really mean to “go viral?”

The term viral is derived from biology. The idea is that content becomes so massively shared that it, in a sense, spreads like a virus across the web. Designing a marketing campaign that emulates this model is no easy task; there isn’t a rinse and repeat formula. In fact, this information is nearly impossible to predict. On the bright side, however, many viral marketing campaigns share similar attributes and touch points that assist in contributing to their massive online success.

Here are 5 tips to help boost your marketing campaign to “viral” status:

#1: A Clear and Concise Message

While it is true that some campaigns go viral purely by accident (or is it?), most efforts are carefully and thoughtfully planned out to ensure that the content invokes a response from viewers. Any materials that are produced should be meticulously planned with the campaign’s central message at its heart. The last thing your campaign needs is for the message to be misconstrued or lost on the audience. Bearing this in mind, you should always follow the next step too:

#2: Keep It Simple

The fact is, the more complicated your campaign reads, the greater the chances it will be ignored by the very folks you hope to woo. You must keep in mind that as attention spans continually drop due to sensory overload, people must be captured by your content within the first few seconds. If you fail to do this, your content will fail as well.

A great example of content that could be highly beneficial for your efforts would be a simple infographic or a short, yet captivating video. Once the audience has been reeled in, more in-depth information can be explored when they come directly to your site.

#3: Make it Visually Compelling

This could arguably be the most important aspect of a campaign going viral. Images are a massive component to any successful piece of content, let alone an entire campaign. Images have taken over the web, and video content is poised to do the same.

In almost every instance of things going viral, each has been visually appealing and compelling. Even if the majority of your message is text-based, irresistible images and videos are a must. But do be sure that the imagery being produced correlates with your brand and the message you wish to portray.

The whole purpose of a marketing campaign is to drive brand awareness and conversions, so be certain not to convolute this vital aspect. This type of mistake could compromise all of your previous efforts and stop your potential successes short. Images are vital and can make or break your entire campaign.

#4: Invoke Emotionality

No matter how inspiring or fascinating the information connected to your campaign may be, it is simply not enough. The fact is that every campaign that has ever gone viral has touched people in one way or another. Sometimes the content might be humorous, it could be sentimental, or even surprising. Whatever the case may be, emotions play a massive role in a piece of content’s level of share-ability.

For content to reach viral status it must grab the viewer on an emotional level; it has to tug at the heart strings. Play off of hopes, fears, dreams, and so forth and your campaign stands a much greater chance of being shared.

#5: Know Your Audience

It is hugely important to know who your audience is and what they truly desire if you want your campaign to make an impact. As you ponder the emotional aspects to tap into, also consider what triggers resonate with your demographic.

What does your audience seek to gain from you? Are they looking to be entertained, informed, or both? What kind of relevant information does your audience value most? If you can identify the attributes that impact these folks in the most dramatic way, your campaign will have the ability to reach those eyeballs you’re after in a much more effective fashion.

For a campaign to reach the pinnacle of viral prestige, it requires in-depth planning, determination, and an intimate understanding of what aspects of human nature must be tapped into.

Sure, your first attempt may not go viral, but persistence is key. Evaluate the results of your campaign to determine what features worked, which did not, and adjust the sails from there.

Research campaigns that have reached the level of success that you wish to attain and take notes on what really hit audiences the most. By learning how these campaigns went viral, and what audiences say about the associated materials, you too can develop a campaign that takes the world by storm.

What is your favorite viral campaign in recent memory? How did the content in the campaign affect you emotionally or add value to your life?


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Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

4 Responses to “Viral Marketing: 5 Tips to Maximize Reach & Impact

    avatar Nev Rodda says:

    Nice post Tina. Tumblr is a cool way to test the contents viral capability. Its the biggest micro blogging site in the world now. 😀

    avatar john says:

    Thanks for the awesome post. xD

    Nice article and tips for viral marketing.

    Thank you for posting this very useful post. I have an E-commerce store, I will apply these technique for it

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