Nothing ever goes viral

The Holy Grail of brand content is for it to ‘go viral’ but how often does this actually happen? Even if your brand content has been relatively successful in terms of shares, did it truly ‘go viral’?

Social media monitoring tool Brandwatch sold for a not-insignificant $450 million a few months back. This made me think of the time CEO Giles Palmer spoke at our inaugural WAVE conference.

He interviewed Steve Rayson from Buzz Sumo in what turned out to be an incredibly powerful session. I watched it again yesterday and the learnings haven’t dated at all.

It’s well worth a watch.

For years, I’ve been to meetings where I’ve been told the objective is to make a campaign ‘go viral’. As Steve points out, it’s incredibly rare for something to ‘go viral’ – even rarer for brand content to do so.

As more articles about a subject appear online, the average shares those articles get decreases. It’s harder than ever to stand out and get shares.

To get the maximum exposure for your content, you need an amplification strategy for every major piece of content.

Around 50% of your effort should be creating the content and the other 50% should be on amplification.

Before you even write a word, you should be thinking about how you are going to amplify that content – and who might amplify it for you.

It isn’t only ‘influencers’ who can do this – your employees can be a powerful asset.

As Steve points out, if your own team isn’t talking about or sharing your content, why should anyone else?

More than that, getting your employees to share it first can create crucial momentum in getting your content out there.

A company with 1000 employees could get a huge amount of shares on their content but so often, they get less than 10.

Steve recommends getting all the amplification out on the same day, ideally using a combination of influencers, employees, paid social, email and press. Go for one big hit – ideally earlier in the week.

You can’t just publish content and expect it to work. ‘Going viral’ takes a lot of work and planning.

Watch this amazing session to get more ideas on how find your audience:

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