Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

This is something of a public service announcement. I can't tell you how many times I've heard clients/companies say "we'd like you to make a viral video for us." As Greg Verdino would say, "I think I just threw up in my mouth a little."

People, people. It just doesn't work that way. You can't will something to be viral, any more than you can tell an author to go write a bestseller, a director to direct a blockbuster, or an 8 year-old to be a major-league ballplayer.

Virality (if there is such a term) lies in results. It means that if you've created something worthy of passing along and comment, it will be more likely to reach epic heights on YouTube or whatever other way you're choosing to measure it.

For companies looking to create the next viral video sensation, David Meerman Scott recommends creating 10-20 videos in the hopes that maybe one of them will work. If you look at the how many videos actually reach viral status, he's probably right - if not even a little conservative.

I hate to tell you, but you're probably not going to have a viral sensation on your hands. The best you can do is to create content that matters to your customers and prospects and give them the ability to share that content around.

Oh, and the image above? It's taken from the January 1973 issue of National Lampoon magazine. The original caption was "If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog."

Related posts:
"A Mind-Blowing New Advertising Model"
If You're Going to Do Viral, Do It Right
Research + Entertainment = Wildly Successful Campaign
Psst! Want the Secret to Viral Marketing?

Update (7/16 at 2:45 p.m.):
This video was released by the guys at JibJab just 6 hours ago, and currently has bout 2,200 views on YouTube. I think it has qualities that will make it go viral - it's universally funny, it's topical, and you can pass it along. Let's track the numbers and see how they do over the course of the next week.

Update (7/23 at 5:10 p.m.):
It's now a week since the release of the video, and I'll let you be the judge of the results. It stands at over 517,000 views. That's already more than their video from the 2004 election, This Land.