Recipe for Virality


Everyone wants create something that goes viral. It’s the new American Dream. While Internet users strive for millions of clicks and instant fame, it doesn’t always turn out that way. But when it does, it may come as a surprise as to how certain videos go viral and others do not.

For instance, who would have guessed that a young boy would become an Internet sensation just by acting crazy after getting hit in the head with a basketball? The boy, now dubbed “Crack Kid” by the the World Wide Web, has inspired many spin-off Vines after his was posted a week ago. (To see what in the world we’re talking about, check this out.)

Making viral videos is sort of like baking cookies. You need quality ingredients, a repeatable recipe and a tad bit of skill, all of which should eventually result in the best darn cookies you’ve ever tasted.

Want to get started on your own viral video? Here’s our recipe for success:

1. Mix together a sprinkle of Short and a dash of Simple.

Long, complex videos typically do not go viral. Why? The modern human being has an attention span shorter than 8 seconds, and scientists say this average is decreasing every year. If  you don’t grab someone’s attention quickly with a simple idea, you can bet your video will never see viral status. Platforms like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat are great for viral content because of their fast-paced nature.

2. Add in one part Randomness and one part Timeliness.

It’s a fact: some videos go viral due to perfect timing. (Anyone remember the massive explosion of “Let it Go” parodies and lip-syncs after the movie Frozen was released?) If you create a video based on something that is currently popular or trending, you have higher chances of getting your own work seen by millions of people searching for that specific term or topic.

Additionally, randomness could be the key to your viral success. Think of the last viral video you saw. Was it scripted? Was the outcome an expected event? Probably not. Random antics usually fare the best when trying for viral status.

3. Fold in a heaping tablespoon of Emotion

Playing on people’s emotions is what ultimately gets them to share content with others. Typically, the content is either cute, shocking, comedic or useful. These variations stimulate the urge to pass on whatever it the content may be (article, video, photo) to friends and family. Is your content share-worthy? If not, take another look at it before releasing it.

4. Bake on high in a Social oven 

Make sure to upload your content on a platform with wide audiences that allows easy sharing. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Instagram and other social networks are perfect, since they automatically include a share button or an option to send an email with a link to the content.  Also, sites like Upworthy, BuzzFeed, Digg and Reddit thrive on viral content, so contributing your video to these sites may be a smart move on your part.


Have you had success in the viral video department? Have any extra tips to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments. 


Why the Tourism Industry Needs a Solid Web Presence

Think about it: how important is the website and social pages of a destination you want to visit? No matter if it’s a theme park, airline, tourist attraction or hotel, their social media pages and website must be:

  1. compelling enough to pique the interest of travelers,
  2. informational enough to tell them what they need to know and
  3. engaging enough to draw travelers away from their competition.

If you work in the tourism industry, does your website and social media pages literally scream the above goals or does it fall flat on its face? Read more about the importance of a strong presence in the digital universe in today’s SlideShare.


5 Ways to Kickstart a Strong Online Brand Strategy

No matter what industry you are in, a strong brand strategy is a must.  The goal seems simple enough: get your slogan, logo or spokesperson (or animal) ingrained in your audience’s mind so that they have a higher chance of turning to your product when they need it. With online platforms, unleashing your brand strategy to the world makes it even more obtainable.

I’m new to brand strategy, you may be thinking. I have an idea of how to reach my audience in traditional ways but don’t even know where to start online. 

You’re not alone. Many businesses aren’t sure how to effectively craft their brand into a strong entity and carry over that message to the World Wide Web. That’s why we’ve come up with several steps for success to get your brand headed in the right direction.

Here are 5 ways to inspire the launch of your brand’s online strategy:

Step One: Outline what your brand is and is not

Courtesy Shutterstock

Courtesy Shutterstock

Before you can broadcast your message out to the masses, you need to decide what makes up your company’s brand. What do you sell? How is it different than other products? How will you present your product to your target audience? Hammer down the specifics on your brand strategy before you start signing up for social networking sites and make sure your message is clear, accessible and easy to relate to.

Step Two: Come up with a “mascot”

Courtesy Facebook

Courtesy Facebook

Brands benefit from spokespeople or characters. Take Progressive, for example. Progressive’s eccentric and quick-witted character, Flo, is a fun and personable character that plays on the emotions of customers. Many people trust the Progressive brand because of the company’s commercials and human-like presence on social media. Your customers want to interact with a personable online presence not an entity. Humanizing your brand is key to obtaining and keeping customers.

Step Three: Determine which social platforms are the best for your message

Courtesy Old Spice

Courtesy Old Spice

Now that you have your brand’s message and content figured out, you need a platform on which to communicate with your customers. A great example to look to is Old Spice. The deodorant company’s quirky and hilarious brand message lends itself to many social media sites, but they tailor most of their content for a small handful of platforms. The brand particularly excels at releasing quality video content on YouTube and witty one- or two- liners on Twitter. (They’ve even been known to get into hysterical spats with Taco Bell once in a while.) Don’t get caught up in the infinite social media sites and think you need to have a presence on all of them. Chose two or three to start with and build your presence on those sites.

Step Four: Maintain brand image across all platforms

Courtesy Disney

Courtesy Disney

There’s nothing more frustrating to a customer than a non-consistent message or image. What does the company actually stand for?  Who are they, really?  If they’re not consistent with their image, are they consistent with what they offer? These questions are reasons why it is so crucial to maintain a company’s brand across all platforms: website, social media, and content creation. Disney is a great example of a corporation that sticks to the same voice and brand image across the digital universe.

Step Five: Don’t be afraid to break the mold

Courtesy Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Courtesy Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Launched in 2004, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty overturned the standard beauty industry message by showing women they are beautiful no matter what. Dove wasn’t afraid to broadcast a message that might be offensive to some, including fellow beauty industry leaders. Ultimately, however, the brand is widely accepted and the campaign has been recognized as one of the most effective company campaigns in the last decade. What is your message? Do you represent a product or idea that has the power to change the way people think or feel? Don’t hold back. Represent your brand’s message in a thought-provoking light by using social media to your advantage.