The Kony video famously generated 70 million views last week. It left many marketers thinking of the “viral video” as a silver bullet. If a viral video could raise so much awareness of an Ugandan warlord, then maybe a viral video could raise awareness of a brand’s single minded proposition.
Marketers often add viral videos to marketing plans as if “viral” is as predictable as the circulation in a coupon drop or the number of samples in a sampling event. What marketers forget is that no one can create a viral video. We can only create quality content that may or may not go viral.
Kevin Allocca from YouTube recently shared that every minute, 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. An infinitesimally small number of those videos “go viral”. While he notes some of the tactics that can lead to viral videos (such as the role of “tastemakers”, which was a big factor in the Kony video), we never know in advance what video will catch on. For every “double rainbow” or “ultimate dog tease” that spread like wildfire, there are countless videos that don’t.
On Friday, I gave a talk on the topic of “Content Worth Sharing: What Marketers Can Learn From Cartoons” at an online conference put on by MarketingProfs (for those of you who didn’t make it, I posted my talk and notes). My main message was that continuity trumps virality. Rather than chase the elusive viral video, commit to ongoing content to grow your audience over time.
One of the greatest viral marketing success stories is Orabrush. They make a tongue scraper to fight bad breadth. It’s not the most exciting product category, but their YouTube channel has been viewed 46 million times. They credit their success, not to a single viral video, but to an ongoing commitment to quality content, such as the weekly webisode series, “Diary of a Dirty Tongue”.
Their main advice: “everyone is on a rampage to figure out how to make their viral video. To gain a loyal following, create a steady stream of content; it’s not enough to be a one-hit wonder”.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)