By Eva Enriquez
Image: Getty Images
Remember the days when one viral video lived on the web (probably of a cat) and everybody had seen it? That, of course, is no longer the case. With so much new media including ever-important apps like Instagram, “going viral” is no longer a pipe dream, but it requires careful strategy. Here are some tips to help navigate PR in a viral world where achieving millions of web video views can be an everyday reality.
1. It takes more than rugged good looks
Everyone has instant access to news and, with new media, everyone has a platform to be a critic. It is important not to force stories or photo opportunities because you think the public might like them. Instead, strive to be authentic with your subject matter and content.
The campaigns shared by Ryan Reynolds and Aviation Gin are a perfect example of authentic PR. Over the course of his career, Reynolds has branded himself with his off-beat humor and unapologetic sarcasm. Instead of trying to make himself seem like the perfect businessman with contrived photoshoots and advertisements, Reynolds used his popular personality to create humorous content for Aviation Gin.
One PR effort went viral as Reynolds publicly released his corporate email address only to reply with a witty out of office message related to his business involvement with Aviation. After the public began receiving the message, Reynolds continued to respond over Twitter. The message was authentic to Reynold’s image and widely successful, prompting him to release even more out of office emails for various occasions and creating tremendous publicity for Aviation Gin.
Image: Aviation Gin
2. Don’t just stand there, say something!
Projects like the “Fiji Water Girl” show that viewers can see through a contrived PR plan that is solely based on becoming a viral post. The campaign was based around a model photobombing celebrities at the 2019 Golden Globes while holding a tray of Fiji Water bottles. When the pictures of the Fiji Water Girl first went viral, they were a sensation. However, the public quickly sensed something was off when the company got caught up in a mess of lawsuits regarding the viral photos. Because the campaign had gone viral, the bad press that followed reached a massive audience as well, and the company’s integrity along with the campaign were compromised.
Image: Getty Images
3. The public might be your best employee
Social media is a major player in the new world of PR, allowing the public to interact with companies in the most direct manner possible. Apple mastered social media use and even infiltrated the infamous “meme culture” with its AirPods campaign. The AirPods garnered a massive presence in the online world of memes, creating one of the biggest internet trends of the year. The memes made fun of the exclusivity or pretentious nature of the AirPods and, in the end, they became one of the most sought-out tech products on the market. By opening up the floor for others to play off of the comedic value of AirPods, the company essentially received free publicity through social media and came across as hip and respectable.
In a viral world, tastes and trends are constantly changing. Remember to think creatively! There is no roadmap to going viral, but these tips will guide you towards the right starting point.