PR Daily: How to go viral? No set formula, but some key ingredients

This post is courtesy of PR Daily.
The word “viral” has lately gone, well, viral.

Every day, a tweet, photo, or video goes from having six hits to receiving hundreds of thousands of views or more. Shareable content is a convenient way to get your company’s message or product viewed by audiences all over the world and the power of the share/tweet/pin button should not be taken lightly.

About 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, so not every video breaks through. Make sure your video stands out.

Take, for example, the video recently splattered on our Facebook and Twitter feeds showing a family of four rapping their year-in-review message in a holiday greeting card called “Xmas Jammies.” In a matter of days, the video has been seen by more than 7 million sets of eyes.

So, what did this family do right? What made this three-and-a-half-minute video more engaging than the next? There is no single element to make shareable content attractive to viewers, but there are steps your company can take to ensure your brand gains some level of traction.

Stay relevant

What topics are in the news? Which trends are gaining the most buzz?

Stay on top of the issues and stories people are frequently talking about, and insert your video, photo, or thought appropriately. However, don’t whip something together for the sake of joining the conversation; make sure you add substance and contribute to the theme.

Also, be cautious not to gain exposure for the wrong reasons. Don’t view a sensitive news story as a way to exploit attention for your company.

Humor is crucial

Bazaar Voice found 90 percent of people trust online recommendations from people they know.

For example, how many times do you see a friend post a video on social media with the words, “This is hilarious!”? You would probably open it only because it is your friend and you’re friends for a reason—you share similar interests—and chances are you’ll watch that video or at least be curious about it.

Keep your audience in mind

Whatever idea or product you are promoting, keep in mind who you want to be watching. Think about what they want to see and when they want to see it. What a 59-year-old male mechanic finds interesting isn’t the same thing a 20-year-old female hipster would want to watch.

Home in on what your ideal consumer would find appealing, and let your creative juices flow.

Tugging the heartstrings

WestJet isn’t necessarily the first name that comes to mind when one think of airlines, but after the company uploaded a heartwarming and innovative video, its name became plastered all over the Internet.

The airline had its passengers tell Santa Claus via webcam what they wanted for Christmas and while they were on the flight, WestJet “elves” scattered to purchase the desired gifts and distributed them at baggage claim.

Don’t be afraid to use various holidays as your inspiration and anticipate widely shared experiences—e.g., seasonal festivities, the Super Bowl, a presidential election. WestJet’s video was perfect for the holiday season and a great way to promote a positive identity for the brand.

Offering something to your audience that can be shared or commented on will give you access to brand ambassadors you normally may have not been able to reach otherwise. You’ll be surprised how many people (other than your mom) share your message.

Liz Glazier is an account coordinator at Fineman PR. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency’s blog.


Blog News Releases

Are you a start-up and wondering how to share your news releases without having to go through a journalist? A company blog is the way to go. If you do not have one, it is imperative that you do, and not just for the purpose of publishing new releases but also sharing other vital information with your customers and employees. This does not only apply for small organizations but even larger ones. With this approach, your company can achieve the efficiency and effectiveness it desires by saving both time and resources.

Journalist generally use news releases to attain news and information and will not necessary bring out the story as you would like it told. With a blog post, there is much freedom in portraying the story in the best way possible. Another added advantage is that you can include visuals in the release; this eliminates the use of discs that are normally incorporated into a media kit. It is also easier to embed visuals on blog post than it is on web-based news releases. This will create both visually appealing and engaging content for your targeted audience.

If you would like your work published online or on traditional media, it is not simply enough to send news releases to journalists, it requires a pitch. When doing so, with a blog post you can make the pitch shorter than is normally required and send a link of your blog post. This is also much better than downloading an attachment. It also allows the journalist to gather other information from your website about your service and product. This way they are able to capture the essence of your company.

Online newsrooms circulate news about your company much easier and faster than print media. With your blog however, you have the freedom to share on as many social media sites as you wish by adding a share button at the end of the content. Remember, the news releases are not merely facts and data; they are stories that ought to be shared by stakeholders, customers and employees as well.

Most of all, one can evaluate and provide measurable statistics to how many people viewed the page. It specially helps the PR personnel to give qualitative data to the success of the information shared and work toward increasing traffic not only to future blog post news releases but to the company website as well.

Things to do before the year ends

Christmas is upon us once again, and while you may be tempted to close shop until the new year, there are things you can do to keep ahead of your competition.

The first is show appreciation not just to your internal staff but also to customers. While end of year parties or gatherings with awards and gift cards are important to maintain employee morale, showing gratitude to your clients is equally important. While many establishments are running promotions and offers, as a PR firm you could sent gift cards to those you have served in the past year. That said, you could put a special package together with discounted rates for services that you do not normally provide throughout the year. Do not be left out in the giving Christmas spirit!

You can also talk about charity. Though this comes with the added bonus of media exposure and a saintly reputation, Christmas season is a good time to send out press releases about a charity event that you support. It gets others to care about your charity as well.

Remaining relevant at all times is prime in the PR world. For this reason you can tie your services with something people need during this holiday. It could be advice on how to prepare for the coming year, a summary of the past year, or simply a side to your firm that people did not know about but is relevant to them. Circulate in on social media and let people know your firm is more than running campaigns, sending press releases and organizing events. You could also write a wrap-up article to give your clients and stakeholders a snapshot of the year that was.

Lastly do not forget to thank journalists and bloggers who covered your events this year. You don’t have to go all out with expensive gift or lunches. A handwritten card will make them more receptive to you next year.


Social Media Lingo

In the general sense, we all know what the sky is. however, explaining to a toddler what the sky is in terms they can understand may be particularly hard especially if you are not a scientist. Some have the same problem when it comes to social media; they know a term and it’s applications, but explaining to others the meaning of that particular term may prove difficult.

Here are some social media terms courtesy of Constant Contact  for your understanding.


App Short for Application, this is a program or add-on, usually for Facebook or for a mobile device (i.e., an iPhone or Blackberry). Its purpose is to deepen user interaction and provide greater depth of functionality and engagement.


Similar to an app, a widget is a small block of content that one provider can offer to another, for use on another blog or website. Widgets have a specific purpose such as showing weather forecasts, stock quotes, or news updates and are constantly updated by the creator of the widget, not someone who hosts it on his site.


An online picture that’s associated with your social media accounts. Business people typically use a headshot for personal accounts, while companies and organizations use their logo.


A list of recommended blogs on a person or business’ blog site.


The practice of asking a collection of individuals online for opinions, suggestions, or submissions.


The act of adding code to a website so that a video or photo can be displayed on that site while being hosted by another.


An online photo sharing site owned by Yahoo!, Flickr lets individual users upload photos and short videos to their account and share them in photo groups based on a certain subject.


A geo-location service that allows users to check in at businesses and other locations, earning badges and other virtual rewards along the way. Users can share their check ins with fellow Foursquare friends as well as through their social media networks if they choose.

Google Alert

A service offered by Google that allows users to save specific searches and receive an update whenever a new result appears on the Internet for that particular search, typically delivered by email or RSS.


A service that allows businesses, organizations, and individuals to monitor, manage, and schedule their social media marketing activity.


The act of broadcasting very short messages to an audience, such as on Twitter, where posts are limited to 140 characters each.


Audio programs or recordings that are syndicated online. They can be streamed or downloaded. Many are posted on and downloadable from iTunes.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

A marketing tactic that, when combined with SEO, helps a business or organization attract customers, generate brand awareness, and build trust by increasing its website’s visibility. This is done through the purchase of pay-per-click advertisements and paid inclusion in search engine results.

Social Media Marketing

Building your social network fans, followers, and connections using relevant and interesting content that is shared, allowing you to reach and engage more people and drive more business.


Your Twitter username is referred to as your handle, and is identified with the @ symbol.


Words preceded by a # sign (i.e., #ctctsocial) can be used to tie various tweets together and relate them to a topic


The practice of documenting an event through tweets that are posted while an event is in progress. (See also “live-blogging.”)


The chronological listing of all tweets in a given feed, be it your own, in a list, or another user’s.


A term for events (i.e., meetups) that spring from Twitter connections. Tweetups are typically informal gatherings that let Twitter followers meet in real life, and coordinators often use a hashtag to unite tweets related to the event.


he technical term for a web address (URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator.)


A blog that contains videos instead of text entries.


When a piece of content on the Internet is shared organically, without prodding or encouragement from the business, organization, or person who created it, it is said to have “gone viral.” This means it has been shared on social networks, posted and reposted, tweeted and retweeted multiple times.

Here are a few more hand picked social media terms from Social Media Wikispace

Aggregation is the process of gathering and remixing content from blogs and other websites that provide RSS feeds. The results may be displayed in an aggregator website like Bloglines or Google Reader, or directly on your desktop using software often also called a newsreader.

An archive may refer to topics from an online discussion that has been closed but saved for later reference. On blogs, archives are collections of earlier items usually organised by week or month. You may still be able to comment on archived items.

Back channel communications are private emails or other messages sent by the facilitator or between individuals during public conferencing. They can have a significant effect on the way that public conversations go

Content management systems (CMS) are sometime described as the Swiss Army knives of social media. They are software suites offering the ability to create static web pages, document stores, blog, wikis, and other tools.

Culture: social media only works well in a culture of openness, where people are prepared to share.

Cyberspace has been widely used as a general term for the Internet or World Wide Web. More recently blogosphere has emerged as a term for interconnected blogs.

Feeds are the means by which you can read, view or listen to items from blogs and other RSS-enabled sites without visiting the site, by subscribing and using an aggregator or newsreader. Feeds contain the content of an item and any associated tags without the design or structure of a web page.

Mashups* are the smart mixes that techies do to combine several tools to create a new web services.

Mapping networks enables you see who are the main connecting people.

Permalink is the address (URL) of an item of content, for example a blog post, rather than the address of a web page with lots of different items. You will often find it at the end of a blog post.

platform is the framework or system within which tools work. That platform may be as broad as mobile telephony, or as narrow as a piece of software that has different modules like blogs, forums, and wikis in a suite of tools.

Presence online has (at least) two aspects. One is whether you show up when someone does a search on your name. The second is whether you use tools that show you are available for contact by instant messaging, voice over IP, or other synchronous methods of communication.

Subscribing is the process of adding an RSS feed to your aggregator or newsreader . It’s the online equivalent of signing up for a magazine, but usually free.

Troll: A hurtful but possibly valuable loser who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything you write on your blog.

Whiteboards online are the equivalent of glossy surfaces where you can write with an appropriate marker pen and wipe off later. They are tools that enable you to write or sketch on a web page, and as such are useful in collaboration online.