Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Viral begins with an Emotional Impact.

Viral begins with an emotional impact.
We can all frequently find articles published on the web that claim to have found the magic formula to get the content you post to spread virally, receive millions of clicks in just a few seconds, become a trending topic, and have you, the person who published it, become a millionaire overnight or an instant celebrity.

Some others claim not to have achieved such a formula, but instead they do offer you a step-by-step method you must follow if you want your content to become a viral sensation, as if it were a controllable phenomenon.

If it were so simple, and the magic formula existed, life and business of many people with extraordinary intentions and ideas would definitely be better. Fortunately, it’s not that simple.

What do I understand by viral.

First, we must define what is meant by "viral".


"Viral" is defined as the process of self-replication or dissemination of content in a manner analogous to the expansion of a computer virus, through means that can be electronic or not. The viral effect can be positive or negative.


In brief, to be viral your content must be relevant enough to be shared by many people in the shortest time possible. You should also note the very definition of viral doesn’t guarantee its effects are always positive. As a matter of fact, it indicates effects can be either positive or negative.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to experience myself what I understand as "viral". While browsing on the Internet, reading marketing blogs and things like that, I came across two videos that impacted my heart directly.

One struck me deeply because it was about the "Forgiveness Project", based on the real life story of a father who was courageous enough to publicly forgive the drunk driver responsible for the death of his wife and children in an car accident. Would I be able to do the same? Probably not.

The other one was an advertising campaign entitled "A dramatic surprise in a quiet square" and is simply an advertisement, a promotional video for a television network but it was extraordinarily good, at least to my eyes.

The viral thing began with the emotional impact.

In both cases, the common denominator was a strong emotional load. Both videos touched me deeply, they really did. The first made me weep, the second made me laugh till I almost lost my breath.

I was so positively impressed by both that I felt the need to share the content immediately, because it was so good and touching that I couldn’t keep my friends, contacts and relatives from enjoying them. I had to make sure they all had the opportunity to feel what I felt.

Note that I'm not saying at this point that I knew the content was viral or not, or if it was going to become a trending topic or not. At that moment, the only thing that mattered to me was to share it, because it was a content worth to pass it on to other people, not only to share but to recommend it widely.

If I hadn’t felt so deeply, emotionally impacted, I wouldn’t have had that strong desire to share it. A desire that certainly surpassed me.

Viral is not controllable and can’t be guaranteed it will have positive effects.

No one could ever have controlled in any way the emotions I felt that day, because they were simply mine. And those emotions were caused by the quality of the content I saw, and by nothing else. Those emotions came from deep inside. How could anyone get there?

So when people talk about ways, methods, strategies or tips to guarantee the creation of viral campaigns, all I can say or recommend to you is that everything must start with a deep emotional impact, an honest and real one.

If you try to fake it, it’s not gonna happen because the connection is not going to be there. But if you do it really from your heart, on a sensitive way, appealing to emotions rather than reason, very interesting things can happen.

Related post: It’s not called social media for nothing.

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