Why You Shouldn’t Plan On Going Viral

Consumers will no longer sit around to hear your sales pitch. This behavior is caused by a lack of interest and lack of time. Today’s most engaging media is personalized, because people no longer have the tolerance for impersonal, mass-targeted ads. Content Marketing is the solution to this problem, and a larger percentage of advertising budgets are being spent on it every year. However, this strategy is still relatively new, and there is debate on the right way to measure it.The idea of going viral has an obvious appeal. What can be better than the entire internet talking about your sponsored content? The truth is, it’s just not a smart strategy. You can’t plan for your content to go viral. Think of the most viral content on social media in the past year, and you’ll notice that it was rarely planned by brands. “Damn, Daniel” has garnered millions of views across every social media platform, but it was really just a goofy teenage boy and his friend engaging in an inside joke. Vans had nothing to do with the creation of that video, and nothing to do with it going viral. That video was really just a stroke of luck for Vans. They did get an insane amount of exposure, though. There’s an issue with that kind of exposure, though. “Damn, Daniel” had it’s peak about three weeks ago, and today it’s fallen out of conversation.

It may be wiser for brands to look for engagement over reach when it comes to content marketing. Think about it. Does it matter how many people view your content if they aren’t the right people? Consider taking a niche approach. The majority of bloggers don’t have audience sizes comparable to any mainstream media outlets. However, their audiences are highly specific, and highly engaged. Seek out high quality publishers with dedicated followings, and collaborate with them on content that is tailored to the people who are most likely to buy your product. Instead of going for the “WOW” factor that gives you a tiny chance of your piece going viral, focus on an authentic story or topic that may actually help your target. This gives them a reason to revisit your content. Create a content calendar, and consistently release high-quality content to keep your brand top-of-mind to the people who matter.Earlier this week, Mode Media collaborated with Nielsen on a study targeting consumer behavior after exposure to content marketing. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Consumers were 21% more likely to purchase from brands that they were exposed to by content marketing.
  • On average, 81% of respondents indicated that they enjoyed the branded content; 75% said they were likely to view additional sponsored stories, and 63% would share the content with others.

These kinds of statistics are hard to ignore. The next thing to consider is what type of content marketing to produce. We suggest long-form content through talented bloggers. SEO actually favors long-form content! Why? Think about the way you use Google. When you’re sick and are looking for remedies, or researching a diagnosis, you are likely not going to find your answer in content that is “short and sweet”. In-depth articles are more likely to provide help to web-surfers, and sites will be rewarded for them!The goal of successful content marketing is to step away from “sales-y” pitches, and strive to inform your niche market about your product in a personal, emotional way. Brands need to embrace the authentic voice of the bloggers they choose to collaborate with, because that’s what has made their readers loyal. You need to solve a problem for your readers or give them new information instead grabbing their attention with something extreme in hopes of going viral. In the long-term, the useful information gained from a high-quality story is more memorable.