Why Going Viral is Not a Marketing Strategy

“I’m just going to create this one piece of dope content and it’s going to go viral and I’ll be on front street.”

How many bloggers think this is how it works?  Because those bloggers are wrong.  People post dope/motivational/thought-provoking content every single day and most are never recognized for it beyond one or two retweets, at best.  I like to think that I create quality content 4-5 days a week (I try to go for 5 but some weeks, I just don’t have a Fitness Friday in me).

Don’t get me wrong: plenty of people go viral by mistake.  Well, they plan to go viral and then get lucky.  Most people who plan to go viral never do.

It has taken me nearly 4 years to get 200+ followers on The Reader.  I have had one post go semi-viral and that is because I was retweeted by an executive at Black Enterprise.  Pretty cool day for my stats.  But that was it.

Now, I average a steady flow of 50-100 hits per day, with some days doing 200+ when I get enough retweets and my hashtags hit a trend.  And that is fine with me.  Because, that’s likely 40 people who come to my website every day to see what I’m talking about and get my input on professional development, leadership, millennials, lifestyle, and all other sorts of topics.  Might not gain me thousands of likes but I know that I’m making some people’s lives better on a consistent basis.

I create great content 5 days a week because I know that, one day, I won’t go viral.  I will slowly gain enough readers that I won’t need to.  And, in the event that I get lucky and have Beyoncé retweet me or have Diddy repost one of my Instagram graphics, I will have created enough great content to gain a consistent following.  The problem with one viral photo and no solid strategy to keep the momentum going is that you will lose that momentum very quickly.  For example, my place of employment just had a couple of photos go viral on Instagram and Twitter last week.  They needed someone dedicated to picking up the ball and running with it.  But, not having that led to a missed opportunity.  And, after that wave is gone, it’s gone with no guarantee of returning again.

So stop trying to make a picture go viral.  Just take the picture.  Or write the post.  And make it great.  The rest will take care of itself.  Or it won’t.  But at least you did your best.


Make professional development a priority.


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