Viral Writing

We’re all familiar with viral videos, viral images, viral memes; but what about viral writing? It’s the art of producing a blog post, an article, or marketing material that your audience think is too good to not share. This is obviously more difficult to achieve, as many of us only have enough of an attention span to look at an image, or watch the first 30-seconds of a video, before we move on to the next thing our friend insists we just have to see.

Recently the Daily Mail published an article that went Viral, in a bad way. Although, if you’re from the camp that says there’s no such thing as bad publicity, then it was actually good news for the paper. They did succeed in attracting a larger and wider audience than would usually visit their site. The article was titled “’There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful”. Written by an outspoken and confident Samantha Brick, the article went viral on Twitter within hours. The Twitter-storm lasted for days, and Ms Brick was subjected to a barrage of hate.

So why did this article go viral? It is highly controversial, but not in a debate provoking way; people were simply lining up to tell Ms Brick that she was wrong. She was quite clearly thrown under the bus by the Daily Mail in an effort to increase site traffic.

Is your Company ready for Viral Writing?

Every company is capable of producing marketing literature that will make their audience want to share with their friends. Black Milk clothing has come up with a fairly unique way of telling their customers that their order may take longer than usual; so witty was their e-mail that a friend of mine insisted on sharing it on Facebook:

“Thank you so much for shopping at Black Milk Clothing!

The fact that you have done this says a lot about you. First, it says that you are awesome.

You’re practically a unicorn at this point. You sweat holy water and stink of rainbows. Any more awesome and you will be shooting lasers from your eyes. That’s the good news.

The less than good news is that there are a large number of others who share your awesomeness. These peeps have been shopping like hot little bosses and despite our near super human powers at BMHQ, we can only put clothes in envelopes so fast. After a collection launch there is an obscene amount of clothing that needs to go out.

So, there might be a slightly longer than usual wait on your order. Sorry, but we promise that we’ll do our best to get it out to you as soon as possible. And we’ll send you an email when your order is on it’s way.

Cool? :)”

It’s a small touch that eases the pain of having to tell your customers you’re taking longer than expected to complete their order. And if they find it quirky enough to share, then that’s a nice bit of free marketing for you.

The question is; are you ready for the controversial type of viral writing – the kind that could potentially get people grumbling about you or your business. If you are, then you have to be sure you have a contingency plan in place to cover every possible outcome. For the Daily Mail, they simply allowed Samantha Brick to feel the full brunt of the public outcry; she took the fall for their editorial choice.

It’s a controversial method with uncertain results; and remember – if your blog post doesn’t go viral, then you’ll just have an iffy post sitting on your site scaring your regular visitors.