I’m a fan of managing expectations. I’d much rather under-promise and over-deliver. I also don’t believe in doing something just to say you did it, just to add another metric that means nothing to some final report.
Since I’m talking about new media at SHOT, I thought I would throw out this quote on the meaning of “viral” when folks think about online efforts.
That’s why if a client says, “we want to create a viral video,” my first question will usually be, “what do you mean by viral?” If it turns out that their goal is to create compelling content that people in their targeted audience will WANT to send to their friends and family, then we’re off in the right direction. But if they really mean, “we want to create a video that will become immensely popular and spread like wildfire and everyone will see it,” we’ve got some ’splaining to do.
Because nobody can really predict whether or not a given piece of video or writing will take off like crazy, and there are a lot of people trying to make it happen. It’s a question of timing, content and opportunity that’s inherently chaotic, and hundreds or thousands of viral attempts fail for every one that gets seen by enough people to hit the bigtime — say, to get promoted to the top of YouTube or picked up on tv. It’s so remote a possibility that it may not even be worth aiming for, other than for fun.
But, good content CAN spread widely to targeted audiences through viral channels, regardless of whether or not it breaks out to a larger/mass audience.
This is much like what I said yesterday about the potential of Ruger’s video efforts. I would never expect them to go viral in the way most people think of viral. But, it would be worth it for them to re-think their efforts so that their current and most dedicated customers could pass around content they find informative and interesting. And it would be good if they actually produced material on site and posted it timely. But that’s another issue.