The Clicky Guide to Going Viral

You created and published an amazing piece of branded content. Everyone who saw it shared it, and soon your website was struggling to cope with the surge of traffic from all of those potential customers dying to buy your product because you created some content that went viral.
Many businesses have dreamed of going viral ever since they were introduced to the phenomenon by Gangnam Style, or the Ice Bucket challenge, or another viral sensation that lasted about a week or two before being all but forgotten.
The thing is, it’s highly unrealistic. It’s very, very, very unlikely to happen. Why? Because there’s no formula or recipe for creating virality. Creating fantastic, engaging, highly shareable content isn’t enough – there’s an immeasurable element of chance involved in taking your post from “successful” to “viral”.

Where does “going viral” come from?

The concept of “going viral” comes, somewhat predictably, from viral infections. One person gets infected, they pass it to several other people, who in turn pass it to several more each. Virality comes when the infection (or content, in the marketing world) reaches a tipping point.
Viral marketing concept
It could be that there was a highly sociable person in the second or third circle of the virus, someone who went out and talked to so many people that the disease could reach further than ever before. It could just be that everyone who got infected kept infecting everyone else. Whatever happened, it’s gone viral.
In marketing terms, virality occurs when a piece of content has been seen by a huge amount of people in a short amount of time. Everyone who’s seen it has shared it, or it was seen early on by a highly influential person who shared it where it could be seen by many more people. But no-one’s pinned down the magic element that takes it from popular, engaging content to a viral success – something that only an exceptionally minuscule percentage of content ever achieves.
There are ways to get your content out there, to get it seen by the right people, to craft it so people want to share it (at Clicky, we’re experts on that), but “going viral” isn’t the goal.

Realistic content marketing goals

The vast majority of things that have gone viral were quickly forgotten about. Huge success stories like Gangnam Style and the Ice Bucket challenge are in the very small minority. Of all of the videos, stories, tweets and posts that have gone viral in the last few years, of all the things you saw and just had to share, how many can you call to memory? What happened to all of these wildly successful posts?
They same thing that happens to all fads. They fade into obscurity and are forgotten.
Successful content strategies aren’t about going viral. A well-developed content strategy will reach people, will engage people, but it will be the right people – the people that are most likely to want to buy from you, rather than the mass market.
A good piece of content won’t fade into obscurity once its time is up – it will be evergreen, continuing to rank in search engines, to draw new traffic to your website, and to engage new potential customers.
Successful content strategies don’t just put out the content and expect the customers to come flooding in, they involve time and effort spent promoting the content, getting it in front of the right people and generating the sort of exposure that will give your brand a good name.
If you’re interested in content marketing that will go the distance, get in touch with our team to find out more about our content marketing specialists.

Written by Hollie Hines

Content & Social Media Specialist

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