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I think it’s obvious why everyone’s chasing the idea of going viral these days. It has become their lifelong mission; something content creators and marketers believe will give them a sense of achievement and success.
No matter how abstract the concept of ‘going viral’ may seem, marketers are willing to struggle hard to make it happen. That is the weight given to the idea of going viral in this day and age.
Some individuals and teams get so carried away with it that they end up making controversial or distasteful content in hopes of achieving overnight success.
So, what does it take to go viral? It’s hard to pin down, but you may have to consider some tradeoffs to make it happen, such as giving up your unique identity, investing in way too much time when it comes to brainstorming, etc.
You may have to produce an entirely different piece of content that you’ve never thought of creating before.
You may succeed in getting views, shares, retweets, and likes, but understand this, your fame will most probably be short lived.
The point is, this strategy of focusing on going viral is not sustainable, it may not get you long-term results and you may risk losing your originality if you vehemently try to keep at it.
With this in mind, it may be time to rethink what it means to create a valuable piece of content and prioritize your efforts accordingly.
In this blog post, we’ll try to build the case on why virality shouldn’t be your endgame. Let’s get into it.
You Will Lose Your Voice
Okay, I am speaking metaphorically here. Losing your voice refers to losing your brand identity. When you go chasing down the masses, your content will become more generalized and you might completely miss out on the audience you actually want to target in the first place.
Your target audience has specific ideas, needs, and wants from the content you are trying to push out. If you are not going to deliver on their expectations, you might end up losing their interest.
To create a piece of content that has the potential to go viral, you are following a trend instead of coming up with one. And when you try to replicate something that’s already done one too many times, you risk sacrificing your own ingenuity in the process.
Puts Unnecessary Pressure on Your Shoulders
In an attempt to go viral, sometimes things can go sideways. You are always gunning for views, but you are not sure if you are going to get them or not. The odds of your viral content strategy failing are fairly high and that stresses you out every single minute of the day.
You pressurize yourself into doing something in which you are not remotely interested in to begin with. It’ll be too late when you realize that you have invested all of your energy in a wild goose chase.
Viral Content Won’t Stick Forever
So, you’ve released a viral video or other piece of content, now what? Well, you may have a one hit wonder on your hands, but what’s the next step? Where do you go here?
Viral success is often momentary and short-lived. You’ll have the spotlight on you until the next thing arrives and attracts all the attention.
There are exceptions, of course. But we can’t all be like this viral Kiwi from the early years of YouTube:
Your audience will leave, and soon, you’ll be back to square one. So, don’t fall into the trap of generating huge traffic from viral content, as it is often fleeting.
When you are trying too hard to please your audience, your content may appear as pretentious and hollow. You might end up withdrawing the affections of your audience segments with your content.
There’s also a benefit to the general public’s forgetfulness when it comes to the content they consume.
Imagine creating content that does go viral, for all the wrong reasons (yikes), and it gets so wildly out of control that it becomes the ONLY thing people associate with your company for a while… Luckily, since viral content doesn’t stick forever, people will forget and move on to the next worst thing that comes along.
Bad Marketing Is Bad for Business
Some people tend to stick to the perception of “bad marketing is also a form of marketing”, but at the end of the day, it is simply bad marketing.
Many brands, including big ones, have wrapped themselves into controversies in a bid to go viral. Whether putting out a new ad on YouTube or starting a hashtag on Twitter, these viral strategies can hurt your reputation.
It would have been easier to sweep bad marketing under the carpet 50 years ago, but today, thanks to the internet, mistakes or bad decisions are never completely forgotten, and may resurface unexpectedly. You have one chance, if you blow it, it might come back to haunt you.
Pepsi had to deal with a backlash when it released its “Live for Now” ad campaign in 2017. Subsequently, they removed the video and Brad Jakeman (then President) had to step down from his post.
Think about Quality and Quantity
When you are mainly focused on dropping viral content, you may end up taking too long to make it. Thinking about ideas for what could work, etc. can slow down you content turnover rate. This pushes a lot of other important objectives to the side.
You must think about creating good quality content consistently. If you fall behind on schedule, you’ll start to lose your audience and won’t be able to stay top of mind.
It would be a much wiser decision to focus on scale. Here are some tips to produce video content at scale.
A viral video may generate a sudden influx of traffic, but consistent quality content will establish real connections; allowing you to build a more loyal and authentic fanbase.
Think of famous YouTube content creators such as:
- Casey Neistat – who has transformed the vlogging scene with his novel shooting techniques
- Smosh – who has produced pretty novel sketch comedy
- Rhett and Link – who are constantly producing fresh and unique content on their channel without having to renounce their originality
Your ideal audience for the content you’d like to push has specific likes, expectations, and interests. You have to build your content around those factors to manage your goals and their demands.
You may not be able to succeed in luring a large audience, but the ones you are going to connect with will be there to stay.
Creating content that delivers value and meaning to the audience is a much easier and more tangible goal to achieve compared to aiming for virality.
Also, it serves your business better in the grand scheme of things. Viral videos may not be relevant to you or your business. The strategy may work for a small fraction of companies, but it’s not the most reliable or scalable approach to content creation.
So, shift your focus on creating the best content, be it video, static post, etc., with specific goals and targets. As a result, you will reap the rewards. If you are thinking of creating quality video content but don’t have the resources to do it yourself, then reach out to us. We’d be happy to help.