September 27, 2010

How to Make Something Go Viral

This is probably one of the most popular questions I receive from my clients.
"How can we make something go viral?"

Well, you can't. You can't make something become insanely successful. That's why Hollywood makes so many bad movie every year. Because it's really hard to guess what the masses are going to love.

But the odds are it's not going to be some cheesy promotional video about your product...unless you're Old Spice. So, all you can do is go one of these two routes, and hope for the best.

#1. Be hilarious.
For something to become viral, it needs to have mass appeal. Not sophisticated humor. Not impress your buddy with how clever we are. Think physical comedy. Think someone falling down. Think 3 Stooges. Think "surprise".

#2. Be captivating.
Ok Go's music videos all go viral. And none are really funny. They're simply extremely elaborate. You can't take your eyes of them.

Your product isn't that compelling. Your market isn't that broad. So, you have to do a 1-off of your traditional market messaging to have any chance of going viral. And like Old Spice, brand it well so that your benefits come across while being either hilariously funny or genuinely captivating.