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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Going Viral in a Good Way

We've all seen the video that is lifted from obscurity to make the prime time morning show circuit. What is it that brings the masses and how can you, as an author, profit from this market? The process is really simple however the execution is what becomes difficult.

Here are the "Simple" Steps:

1. You create a video.
2. You post said video on YouTube, or GodTube  TalkFusion (or similar site).
3. You let your friends know.
4. They let their friends know.
5. The friend of a friend let's his friend know.
6. Number 5 happens to the infinite power.
7. Said video goes viral.
8. You are invited to the morning news show circuits.
9. You sign a 6-figure book deal

Now for the not so simple execution of the fictional account above:

1. You create a video with the hope of going viral.
2. You follow steps 1 through 3 above.
3. You look at said video months later to find only 10 people or less have watched it.

So, what went wrong?

The idea of a viral video to those who market is to get sales. Let's face it, the videos that go viral have no sales in mind. They are quirky, fun or just plain silly. There isn't a marketing genius out there who has not analyzed and studied these videos in the hopes that imitation will yield the same results. And, some have come very close.

There is a bottom line and "secret" sauce here, the videos that go viral don't mention the product. They entertain, delight, embarrass or wow the viewer. In other words they illicit a response. Recently while attending a family celebration at a friend's home she had to share her latest YouTube find a video of a dog that appeared to be speaking to it's owner. I watched her reaction as she watched it and she kept stealing sideways glances at me to be sure I was watching as well... she was just as amazed each time she viewed the video as the first time. Therefore, add engaging to the list above.

Let's break this down, the video must be:
1. Entertaining
2. Delightful
3. Wow it's audience
4. Engage

Sounds like Marketing 101.

Notice the video in question did NOT mention a product. It was purely entertainment. Perhaps my friend a dog lover, with a dog that often chews the legs of her furniture secretly (yes, I'm assuming here) hopes that someday her own pet will behave in like-wise fashion. Or, better yet, that someday she'll own a dog like that. I'm not sure. What I do know is the million plus viewers of the video equally enjoyed the dog's antics.

An engaging video allows the watcher to dream, aspire to an ideal, or secret inclination. It is the perceived value. For those who market directly the hope is to illicit a response from the buyer. The value may be to get thinner, think smarter or in the case of authors, convince a buyer to purchase their book!

That's it, simple.

Create a video that allows those who watch it to see the perceived benefits of your product and there you have it, a million-dollar idea in the making. Easy? Not really. However it is worth a try!

If you have a great video that shares your product idea please post it here! Who knows we might help you go viral.


  1. What you're saying is true; I've had many of my videos go viral because they were entertaining. Two weeks ago, 2 more of my videos went viral because they were Easter-related. As long as the audience has a way to get back to your website, a fun, entertaining video is what people want. However, I would add "informative" if you want people to buy from you in the future. I try to be entertaining and informative at the same time, and it seems to work.

  2. Good point, if it is informative it would give you credibility to be the go-to person or to see what else you have that is worth purchasing or reading. And the video should point back to your website to give a "reason" for being, again if your intent is financial gain, or to sell a book or product. Great additions, Susan!

  3. You have a very informative site!! Don't really have any plans to write a book anytime soon but if I decide to, this is my first stop!