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Just Connect: Make Your Message Go Viral

Is it just a pipe dream, or can you actually engineer virality? Master the winning combination that can make your marketing message go viral.
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Every business owner dreams of their message going viral. Think of all those eyeballs! All that buzz! Whether it's a video, an article, or some other piece of content that is intended to promote your brand and vision, you really, really want it to catch on. Like wildfire.

Some people believe that the key to viral success is found in creative navigation of popular social media channels. Some think it's in all in mastering search engine optimization and pay per click efforts. Others swear the secret is in knowing how to broadcast and use pay per view buys on that video behemoth YouTube. But is going viral really something that can be engineered?

But pause and think about it. If it were that easy...why wouldn't everyone already be doing it? We would most likely see a ratio of one in 100 going viral instead of one in one million. So what's the key to the über success of those few brand messages that get more than the average share of attention?

"Not every business needs to go viral to the world and some don't even benefit," says Kevin Daum, author of Video Marketing For Dummies. Daum also says, "If viral is your goal, then you have to start with a wow! concept that actually touches people at their cores."

That's what happened this past week with a little Kickstarter project out of Detroit. It didn't have money or a large backing behind it. In fact, the project owners didn't even post a video on YouTube. Yet they are receiving thousands of emails, posts, and pledges for this little five-minute video. It has already raised more than $51,000! With the number of projects on crowdfunding sites growing by the day and vying for the public's attention and funding, what makes a project like this stand out from the rest?

"People are saying that the video is deeply touching," says EMMY winning producer Shawne Duperon. "And it shares a compelling story on a subject that is critical in nearly everyone's heart: forgiveness."  Who hasn't wronged someone in some way in their life? Everyone has a moment when they either needed to be forgiven or needed to forgive. This video strikes at the heart of the subject and people want to be involved.

Internationally renowned Facebook expert Mari Smith, says this is exactly how a video catches on. "When we see a video that moves us, we feel compelled to share," she says. Smith feels this is one of the main reasons that online social networking has grown like wildfire over the past several years. "Not only is this growth a part of the evolution of human consciousness, the technology allows us to touch the lives and hearts of hundreds of millions of people around the globe... such that we all know we're not alone. There are others out there who share our dreams and visions, too."

Shawne Duperon is a successful business speaker who shares the story of her past as a child abuse survivor; she knew everyone could relate to the topic of forgiveness in everyday life and that you don't have to experience high trauma to benefit from forgiveness. Duperon saw the need for making a movie about real people and their ways of dealing with forgiveness, simply to be happier. And much to Duperon's hope and surprise, she found the perfect formula for a wow! subject and supporters have flocked to the cause. But gaining support for her beloved film project through crowdsourcing was not originally Duperon's idea.

Teresa de Grosbois of the Evolutionary Business Council thought that posting a fundraising effort for Duperon's mission on Kickstarter would be a splendid birthday surprise. The EBC, a group of thought-leaders committed to making a difference in the world, starting fanning out Project: Forgive on Facebook. A few weeks later Duperon produced a short moving video about a man forgiving the drunk driver who killed his wife and kids. Very quickly, it started to catch on. Within days it caught the eye of spiritual leaders Marianne Williamson and Sonia Choquette, which pushed the viral component even farther. Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup series fame then caught wind and endorsed it; both he and Marianne Williamson quoted the project in a Detroit Free Press article which really started the emails flowing. Other spiritual teachers, such as Master Charles Cannon, are now sharing the video. With these endorsements flowing in the project gained International media attention as well. Stories from ABC, NBC, The Detroit Free Press, CBS Radio and TV and radio in Canada have followed and covered the project. Even Weight Watchers icon Florine Mark is spreading word of the project.

Social media expert Shama Kabani works with companies across the globe. She says this is exactly how "going viral" works. "It inspires action and it isn't passive. It engages us in a very profound and personal way and leverages technology to turn a project into a movement," she says. "And, this is just the beginning for Project: Forgive."

Project: Forgive is not done yet. It needs to raise more than $40,000 to meet its goal and get the film off the ground. But even if this goal is not achieved, this team has succeeded in igniting an important conversation of forgiveness for tens of thousands of people.

Do you have a meaningful message and vision behind your brand? Remember that your audience needs an emotional connection to whatever it is that you are selling. To achieve that connection it's critical that you, as the messenger, are passionate about your vision and that you surround yourself with others who feel that passion and are committed to supporting you.  With these key components in place international acclaim may be at your fingertips!

IMAGE: Flickr user Vironevaeh
Last updated: Apr 11, 2012




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