As a term, “viral marketing” is something that gets thrown around so much that it’s easy to dismiss it as a mere buzz word. You still can’t ignore, however, that content does go viral, and it’s not only just Mentos and Diet Coke. Companies do intentionally make viral content that, in turn, makes them money. Just consider the subservient chicken.
The lesson, here, for bloggers is that viral content can be deliberately created. But where half of the equation is creative-genius, the other half of it is knowing how to get the content out to the right communities — the communities that can be infected with it.
This clip from the WebProNews video blog is called Getting Your Viral Campaign Going. It features Chris Winfield, the President of 10e20, talking about how you can do just that. According to Chris, viral content success comes from targeting the right audience/communities. Since blogs are about building communities, blogs and viral content should go hand in hand.
Now, whether you’re trying to build your personal brand, are an affiliate blogger, or just like sharing your thoughts with the world wide interwebs, there are benefits to having your content go viral: more traffic. So once you have a target community in mind (i.e. one that’s appropriate for you blog), it comes down to what kind of content to create and how to deliver it for that community.
If you think that the community you want to reach would enjoy documents, you might want to go viral with Scribd. This is like a YouTube for documents such as PDFs and PowerPoints. Uploading your branding docs (i.e. that contain your blog URL somewhere) here is an excellent way to reach such audiences.
Video can increase sales/engagement, but they are also good for generating backlings and new readers. So by cutting potentially viral clips and uploading them to the right places, you can seriously increase the reach of your blog.
Of course, when it comes to uploading your content somewhere, you have to make sure that its tagged properly. This will not only give it more search engine visibility, but help those in your targetted community find it.
Of course, producing potentiall viral content, uploading it to shareable sites (like YouTube and Scribd), and then reaching out to niche specific communities like forums is only part of the equation. Sometime there is also a longtail variable.
That is, your content may take time to get traction — i.e. get noticed by (infect) enough people to be a success. So if your content doesn’t take-off right away, be patient. That doesn’t, however, mean that you should pester communities to pay attention to you all day long. The content itself may just not be viral after all. But dont’ worry: not even the largest agencies have a surefire formula to make content viral. Some thing just work, and other things don’t.
All that you need to concern yourself with, then, is: (1) making content that’s targeted to a relevant community, (2) sharing it in social space, and (3) participating in the right communities in the right way so that people know that you and your content are on the map.