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How to maximize your chance of going viral

7 tips to successfully execute a viral public relations job

· PR tips

With a great idea, an engaging execution, a relevant message – and the 7 tips below – you will definitely up your odds for attaining “viral-ness.”

1. Quantify success from the start.

Agree on what success looks like before you get to work. Will you be measuring views? Likes? Shares? Comments? Will you be looking at sales lift? Figure it out – and be able to explain why your measures are material to the brand's overall marketing mission.

When you are able to articulate these data to clients, they are more likely to approve the more “adventurous” ideas you’ll need to create to get your content noticed.

2. Enlist influencers.

Partner with and feature influencers whose personal brands are compatible with yours, who have an authentic relationship with your target audience, and who bring credibility (as well as implied third-party endorsement) to your brand and product. (The accompanying photo shows hip hop artist, Macklemore, who we enlisted for Frito Lay's Cracker Jack'D brand, a new product targeted to millennials).

Get your influencers involved – not in a one-dimensional way, but as co-creators who are as jazzed about the project as you are. When this happens, it comes through in the vibrancy and authenticity of the work. And, while most of us are sick of the word, authenticy (especially in this environment) is essential.

3. Go against type.

Thanks to technology, there’s a lot of information out there – including information about your brand. The most effective content you can create (in many cases) is often that which serves up your brand “against type.”

That doesn’t mean it’s off brand or not relevant, it simply means that the content world (digital and social) is a place where “fresh” is expected, the unexpected is revered, and where viewer reward is essential. If there is ever the opportunity (and the need) for your brand to take a few well-calculated risks, this is it.

4. Bring “the new” in your content marketing

Delivering content that puts your audience “in the know” – offering them access to something new or introducing them to people who are poised to blow up in culture – is a huge engagement booster. Providing this type of knowledge or access is a way to super-charge the share-ability of your content. When this happens, things start to get really interesting.

5. Leverage your free (owned and borrowed) channels.

Your brand has an audience. Your content partner/influencer has an audience. Leverage these gifts to the max.

Evaluate the platforms available to you, understand the role of each platform in your program, integrate your owned and borrowed programs by understanding who’s posting what and when – and by realizing that your partner’s efforts may be perceived as more authentic (and, as a result, more powerful) if he/she is tasked with “re-posting” as opposed to “shilling” (because, hey, no one likes a shill).

6. Pay to play? It’s okay. ​

As mentioned in an earlier statement, when lightning strikes and you have content that goes truly (and organically) viral, there’s nothing like it. However, even if your program is working well, investing in a minimal level of paid media support across social/digital will provided a healthy boost to your efforts.

With social media platforms (for example, Facebook) making it harder to get the job done organically, you may want to build paid support into your plan or, at the very least, have a plan to inject it based on how your real-time metrics start to shape up.

7. Activate the “media village.”

You can make a real impact here. Put together a small group of people, get around a table on launch day, and start emailing, texting and phoning your long (and already-prepared) list of relevant blogs and publications to generate third-party pick-up. This can really fuel the fire for your content. Once a few of these outlets run with your story – as BuzzFeed and People.com and PerezHilton did with our campaign for Frito Lay – the floodgates will open.

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