‘I need you to make me a viral video’ – the 3Rs

It is a common request from clients wanting to embrace the whole online thing. There’s a fantastic chance that your MD, CEO, CFO, [Insert additional 2/3 letter combination] has been receiving increasing pressure, from peers/competitors, to throw some money at the production of a viral video.

The problem with buzzwords is that they set unrealistic expectations. It is impossible to “make a viral video”. It is however possible to produce a remarkable video and seed it to a relevant online network, in order to produce results that are beneficial to both the brand and the business. It is very important that all communication efforts support business objectives.

This is the thinking behind the 3R’s — an ideology that Melissa Attree (@melattree), Dan Nash (bangersandnash.com, @bangersandnash) and I have developed, not to be yet another buzz-concept, but rather a checklist for the creation of online content.

The recent “mountain biker meets buck video“, which has been discussed ad nauseam, online, offline, at water-coolers, and even at retirement villages globally is a perfect example of this.


Capturing an animal of any nature steam-rolling a cyclist is remarkable, and by no means possible to recreate, but is an ideal analogy for agencies and clients, alike, when assessing the content that you have packaged. Ask yourself the following questions before you upload your content to YouTube, Vimeo or your video sharing platform of choice:

  • Is it remarkable?
  • Will online influencers, bloggers and those with a large social media following be compelled to share it?
  • Is it too heavily branded? It is important to find the balance between watermarking and bastardising your content with logos.

Relevant online network
Seed your content to the right people and you will increase your chances of it being seen, exponentially. Bloggers, for example, thrive on opportunities to be the first to post unique content online, because this improves their traffic, which in turn complements their monetisation efforts.

It is important to make a decision regarding how the content will be seeded. Will you provide it as an exclusive or will you opt for a more general, digital PR approach, whereby you personally reach out to a group of influencers who identify with the content and are willing to post or share it.

Digital PR is not about sending generic press releases to bloggers, asking them to send you a link to their post once it is live, nor is it following up with secondary mails titled: “Have you received my mail yet?”

If you can confidently answer the questions regarding remarkability and have successfully seeded the content to the relevant network of online influencers, you will experience positive results for your brand. Setting business objectives from the start of the campaign will determine what success looks like to you or your client.

Of course you can’t expect 10 000 000 views, but if 1 000 people view the content about your latest car brand and 100 of those are convinced to purchase said new vehicle, your ROI is measurable and justified.



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