3 Common Mistakes Marketers Make When Trying To Make Their Campaign Go Viral

By Julian Steinforth, Expedition PR

Photo: Markus Spiske

Photo: Markus Spiske

There is not shortage of articles that offer advice on how to create marketing content that can go viral. However, nobody can tell you for sure what mechanism works behind the phenomenon of viral campaigns: content that gets shared and commented on by millions of people worldwide.

The foundation of inbound marketing is simple: companies need to involve their audience in the creation process. David Spitz writes in his recent article for the Harvard Business Review that we need to change our thinking and ask ourselves “Who are the multipliers we are trying to reach with this campaign?” instead of “How can I make my content go viral?” For a B2B marketer aiming for a “viral” campaign could be even ineffective and a waste of marketing budget, since almost every viral content is targeting the mass market. Social media platforms have become the main source of content discovery and a major channel for audience engagement.

We put together three common mistakes marketers should avoid in order to create engaging content:

1. Failing in connecting with your audience: Since viral content spreads widely, marketers often have problems figuring out who their audience is. The relationship ends with the consumption of the article or video. But often acknowledging the people who shared your content through a mention in your follow Friday tweet or a “Like” on Facebook, can generate additional shares.
2. Don’t assume your work is done after publishing: The retention time a tweet or a Facebook post that leads to your article can be seen on your audience’ timeline is very short. But starting to think of your readers as “multipliers” instead of “consumers” should encourage you to put it in front of them several times. Change the story angle, use different words and post the same content through your social media channels repeatedly.
3. Don’t assume people will share your content automatically: Cute cat videos and campaigns of NGOs fighting against cancer or pollution might spread easily, since pretty much everybody thinks cats are cute and are willing to support the good cause. But it is a lot harder for content creators in the tech or software industry to get shares for their great content. Therefore, find a personal angle for your story, involve people and increase their passion for the topic. Make them understand why they should share on social – and it will become a lot easier.

Unfortunately at the end of the day we have to acknowledge that often the only way of finding a viral hit is “trial and error”. So, I encourage you to dare – and share your learnings with fellow marketers.


Photo: Markus Spiske / www.temporausch.com / CC-BY