5 secrets to viral campaign success

I had the tremendous opportunity to speak at #TimmyCon13 this weekend, Timmy Global Health‘s student leadership conference of current and future rockstar health professionals. We discussed viral strategies as they look to raise awareness of health access and health disparities around the world.

We had such a ball, I thought I’d share them with you.

1) Choose your focus point

Ok, maybe that’s not a secret but too many people try to do to many things with their campaign. “We want everyone to know about us, subscribe, donate, LIKE, Follow AND share our stuff”…not going to happen. When you define the ‘goal’, it should be a specific goal and/or part of your work – something like, “make X statistic come to life by doing Y” or “shocking people with experience A so that they take action B”.  Here’s a great example video to get your creative juices flowing…

2) Pick a thought or emotion

Think about the person experiencing your campaign in person, watching other people experiencing it in person and finally, watching people experience your campaign.  Are you using shock, humor, fear, concern, guilt, redemption or something else?  Try this.  Watch the video below and no matter what, pause it at 1:04, NOT A SECOND LATER! Promise!?!? Ok, do it.

Ok – it’s paused right now, right? Good. Quickly analyze yourself. What are you thinking? Feeling?  Are you excited? Anxious? Nervous?  I know I was completely caught up in the concept – wondering if I’d have the courage to push the button, what my wife would say, and more. I was also fearful for those who pushed the button. Do you see how they’ve designed the experience for the person, for those watching in person and for those watching the video later? Ok, finish the video. Fun stuff.

3) Be disruptive

This video speaks for itself. Make people stop and watch.

4) Be creative

You may not have a budget. But the above video didn’t cost much. And neither did this one – but it did the job.

5) Be ready for it to work

Finally – think through exactly what might happen if (read: when) your campaign does go viral.  Is your website ready to not only handle traffic but collect contact info? What would happen if you received 541 emails requesting more information, asking to donate, volunteer or support your cause? Crashing your website is cool…until you realize that’s lost potential.

Have you tried a viral campaign? Have other favorite samples? Let me know in the comments.

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