Last year, I stopped using the phrase “going viral” after reading Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction. The author reveals how concepts and content we associate with “going viral”
don’t typically spread like viruses, passing exclusively from ordinary individual to individual. Instead, they depend on diffuse broadcasts, where one source infects many, many people at once
In marketing and communications, our words are important. They’re
important and should be carefully considered when we’re speaking with
external audiences, but our internal language informs our behavior and
culture and it’s just as important to get that right, too.
Terms like “blast email” or “e-newsletter” don’t capture the full
potential of permission-based email marketing, for example. And thinking
of digital as only social media limits your options.
Similarly, talking about “going viral” as a strategy only sets you up for disappointment.
Hoping to “go viral” means you’re not researching what content your audience wants to consume.
Relying on “viral” distribution means you’re not building a network of supporters and allies online to help you share content.
Trying to “go viral” means you haven’t laid the groundwork of consistently producing content and growing an organic audience.
Investing in content without a real plan for getting it seen means you’re wasting money and resources without any impact.
What good is that $15,000 video if the only people who “see” it are
scrolling past it on Facebook? We can spend five conference calls
debating the exact right words to use in the CEO’s blog post, but does
it matter if we’re the only people reading it at all?
Creating content is easy. Distribution is difficult.