How to Become a Viral Sensation

So you’ve got this awesome new promotional video and are ready to hit “share” and watch it spread like wildfire across every social channel and hit 1 million views within 24 hours! Sounds amazing, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Sorry to squash your viral dreams. We’ve heard this request before: “I want this campaign to go viral.” We make some pretty magical designs, but this type of viral magic is beyond our control. We CAN, however, give you insight on how to increase viewership. There are four steps to get more views:

Do > Invite > Document > Share


Do something interesting, instead of just saying something interesting. We all know the common phrase “actions speak louder than words.” What are you doing different as a business, organization, city, etc., that makes you stand out from the competition? What are your uniques?


If you want something to go viral or at least attract attention, you need to make sure your audience actually knows it’s happening and invite them to participate. The best viral campaigns are participatory events — think the  ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This fundraising campaign was a game-changer because it encouraged involvement and challenged the participants to share and donate. It let the viewers create the content rather than the ALS association dictating what was distributed. If you’re on social media, you simply couldn’t avoid it. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised $115 million (yes, million) in just eight weeks (yes, eight weeks).


In some cases, documenting might be the easiest piece of this four-step process. Remember to document the event or campaign while it’s happening. It must live beyond a single event and create additional content.


Jonah Peretti, founder of BuzzFeed, suggests that 50 percent of content lies in the creative process, while the other 50 percent lies in the distribution of that content. You gotta put just as much work in spreading it as you do creating it… sounds simple, right? Make sure your campaign is sharable across all relevant channels: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, the list goes on. If you want to reach beyond just your followers, consider paid media, like Facebook ads. A minimal social media ad fee could have a high return on your investment. Plus, you can choose your audience and track your success through their ad reporting tools.

This Do > Invite > Document > Share concept was examined in the book Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This. We can’t take credit, but we CAN share with our clients and help you spin this concept to make it your own. Now go become a viral phenomenon … or at least attempt it.