Viruses are known for being killed off, or dying of their own volition. They hit a saturation point after which they just feed on anything – even each other- until their demise. It’s a situation that is mirrored in viral marketing. So how can you make sure your message sticks when the medium dies off?

First of all, you need to understand that your plan will not survive its encounter with reality. You can plan for something but everything could change as soon as your content is published.

With that in mind, start planning ahead of time so that as you progress you can let influencers know about the final result before it happens.

Keep your message super simple.

What is the absolute core of the message? When the plan starts going wrong, the core must be what guides you. Once any changes stick to the core message, you are still on track.

Associate what your content says with ideas your audience already has. Another way to say that is – trend jack! If your audience already have a fondness for cats, make a funny cat video. If they love lists of resources, make yours the longest. If they love How To guides, make yours the most in-depth.

Always align what your message is with what they like to receive.

Talk plain English!

“In the superseding report on fiscal quarter 3 we… “Did I lose you yet?

Look, business people are human beings too – and they hate jargon as much as you do. Just speak in plain language. Unless you’re part of Top Gun – then you can be forgiven a few Whiskey Bravo Delta’s.

Create analogies whenever you can, so that your audience can associate your message with something bigger, like an ideal.


Give you audience something unexpected – a last minute twist in the story or shock video moment. Those that scare or entertain the most are usually the ones that evoke strong enough emotional responses to influence social sharing.

Everyone loves a mystery. We love to figure things out: find out what makes them tick. By adding a little mystery to your story you can cultivate interest in the outcome.

What happened to the dog that saved the little boy but disappeared the next day? Why did Van Halen hate blue M&Ms?

Use concrete facts. Never tell your audience that your diet pill makes them lose weight. Tell them it will help them drop 2lb in 7 days.

This is a copywriter’s brief guide to “viral copy”.

How Viral Survives
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