Everyone likely remembers “that” link that was sent to them with a “Check This Out!” tagline: whatever YouTube video or article that was sweeping the web http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9oxmRT2YWw. It was probably on the morning shows, text and emailed to millions of friends, and an online search trend to boot. Whatever “it” was, it was viral; the most coveted of social media monikers for anyone who is attempting to get their image, message, or story across to as many viewers as possible. Was it just luck or lightning in a bottle though?
The truth is there are identifiable aspects to what makes something go viral on the web. Categorically, if something is viral, it usually exemplifies a series of traits. Those traits can generally be identified as being funny, amazing, controversial, or just plain helpful. With the amount of noise and nonsense that exists on the web, public viewer-ship and interest generally eliminates quickly that which fails to excite any one of those categories, meaning, if it is truly funny people will look at it and if it is truly helpful people will share it. Furthermore, even if your message has that “amazing” factor, it still needs a little extra edge. Always attempt to get your message to the right audience first. If it is an email blast of a baby laughing to a series of friends, well you’ve found a good audience because you know they’ll watch it and likely share it. The same goes for that helpful tip on how to pay for your child’s college education; make sure you reach your demographic of parents with college-aged children.
So remember, lightning and instant Internet fame can be caught in a bottle. The bottom line is, if you are attempting to get your message across to as many eyes and ears as possible, nothing is more important than making sure your message meets that identifiable criteria and your primary audience receives it first. And whatever that message or advertisement may be, a cute, laughing baby sure doesn’t hurt either.