How to Create a Viral Marketing Campaign

by Roz Swartz Williams; Updated September 26, 2017
Women with laptop talking on phone

Going viral means your online marketing campaign must increase awareness in an unprecedented way, creating a significant reach that broadcasts your message and attracts new buyers and followers. Realistically, only a few campaigns get to viral status, because so many leave out key steps and waste money on strategies that don’t pan out.

Plan for Success

Decide from the start that your campaign is going to exceed its goals - even if you're working with a tight budget. Entering an ambitious project with a defeatist attitude is sure to minimize your success and the energy you will invest. Also, consider the recipients of your message. The campaign should not simply tout your product or service. Instead, figure out what will most entertain your prospects, solve a problem for them, spike their interest or grab their attention enough to want to share your content with others.

Choose Your Concept and Media

Once you’ve decided what will entertain, solve, spike, or grab, develop a unique concept. You can produce a video, an email series, a webinar or a combination of media. Go for quality – ensure that it’s professionally done and easy to share. For example, make sure your video can be seen clearly on various screen sizes. Work long-tail keywords, the search engine phrases your prospects use, into your content so it will more likely be found. Also, include a strong call to action so that your message gets shared and prospects are compelled buy what you’re selling.

Pre-Launch Your Campaign

Save time and money by using existing resources to lay groundwork before you launch your campaign. Start talking it up on your social networks, via email and word of mouth. Generate strategic alliances among friends and colleagues to help you get the word out. Scope out popular bloggers and engage them by making valuable comments on their blogs and sharing their content. When you launch, they may then be willing to help you. Pre-launching creates a strong start to your campaign and doesn't cost anything.

Launch Your Campaign

Launch your campaign using as many free and low-cost options as you can. Capitalize on free social networking venues – but don't rely on social networks alone. Remember the power of email marketing and word-of-mouth advertising. You may also consider a few paid options such as pay-per-click advertising -- but control your spending. Make sure your broadcast isn't a sales pitch. That will turn recipients off. They will more likely respond and share your message if it is of benefit to them.

Measure Your Success

Assessment is key throughout the process of developing and launching a campaign. Measure how well the campaign is working and discern the trouble spots so you can make adjustments next time. Keep track of how often your content is shared and your links are clicked. Collect metrics on page visits and length of stay of each page. Conduct a thorough evaluation after the campaign has ended. This will provide great feedback for planning your next successful launch.

About the Author

Roz Swartz Williams is a feature writer for NVHG.org, with more than 20 years' experience in copywriting and design for private industry, defense contractors, non-profits and online education. In her spare time, she is a self-published novelist and mixed media jewelry artisan.

Photo Credits

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