3 PR and marketing alternatives to ‘going viral’

The next time your boss or client wants you to make a video about shoelaces or an image of insurance package to rack up online views, try these strategies instead.

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In 2011, Oprah ended her reign as queen of daytime talk shows. I barely had time to breathe a sigh of relief and think, “Maybe clients will want to diversify their media goals now” before affordable digital cameras made enabled the masses to create videos with the sole purpose of going viral.

The more brand managers saw these speedily produced videos gaining views, the more they wanted to replicate that success.

“Can you get us on Oprah?” was replaced by “Can you make sure our corporate ad video gets at least five million views? We want to go viral!” (If you doubt the stress from working in PR, imagine trying to force a pair of shoelaces go viral.)

Some PR pros argue that virality is passive—a virus spreads or infects by its own means, but content that people choose to pass on is an active choice.

Whether or not you agree with that belief, there are better ways to earn extensive media reach. Here are three strategies:

1. “Porous-platform storytelling.”

This phrase created by Remark to emphasize the value of structuring social media campaigns so that each medium does what it does best.

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