You know what it’s like, your boss calls you and the rest of the marketing team into his office and announces:

“Right guys, big push this quarter, we’re going to create a viral video – any ideas?”

While his enthusiasm starts to bubble over the rest of you sit in despair because you know that’s not going to work. After all, it’s not you that will make the video viral, that job is reserved for the viewing public.

So, it’s time to take your boss to one side, sit him down and explain what viral marketing is all about.


What is viral marketing?

Viral marketing happens when a video captures the imagination of your audience and they share it like crazy using social media, which boost your brand awareness (and sales).

So, if you want to have a viral hit on your hands you have to produce something that your audience will love and feel compelled to share with their friends…who will want to share it with their friends…who won’t be able to help themselves and will just have to share it with their friends too…and so it goes on.

That’s why you can’t ‘make’ it go viral. Not unless you have several million friends who all owe you a favour.


Qualities of something that goes viral

One of the key elements you’ll need is an emotional connection with your viewer.

Unless you’re that guy with the millions of friends I mentioned earlier, people won’t share something just because you ask them to. It has to resonate with them and make them want to hit the share button. That doesn’t mean it has to be funny or gimmicky, it just needs to evoke an emotional response in some shape or form.

Yes, I agree that’s quite vague, but often the simplest ideas are the best, like these:




To create that emotional response you have to study your audience,  your product and the relationship between them to discover the emotional connection that will kick start the sharing reflex.

Personally my absolute favourite came out of the 2012 Olympics last year. No, it wasn’t Jess Ennis, or Bradley Wiggins storming home in the time trial, it was something way better – the reaction of the BBC commentators when Mo Farrah won Olympic Gold in the 10,000 metres. Watch this:


What’s your favourite viral video of all time?

Leave a comment below and let’s see how many we can list.