Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Virality Is A Trap

A beautiful woman is standing on the street wearing a large mirrored box for a skirt. She then holds a megaphone in front of her mouth and says, “You have the chance to touch my ‘box’ for free.”

The mirrored box had a gap at the front for easy access.

Within minutes she was surrounded by a crowd.

She had gone ‘viral’.

Which is the goal for most business owners.

But reach is almost always the wrong path.

Parade a bunch of Playmates through the street and people will stop. But your stunt won’t leave a lasting impression.

Give your articles an urgent title and people will click on it. But your work won’t be read.

Shorten your pieces and add photos to make them easy to swallow. But your content won’t be valued.

Because eventually someone comes along who makes even dumber work.

Better clickbait. Shorter sentences. Prettier photos. Easier content.

And that person will steal your audience. Forcing you to go dumber or play a different game.

A game where you don’t measure the size of your fanclub, but their level of engagement. 

That’s a game worth playing. Even if the payoff is slower.

Because despite the numbers, virality is nothing but a distraction. Noise. 

Just look at Evian’s Roller Babies video. It earned the Guinness World Record for most viral video ad of all time.

And in the same year of the ad, Evian’s sales dropped by 25%.

Views don’t translate into revenue. So money spent on going viral is money wasted.

Plus popularity increases the odds for negative reactions. 

Mountain Dew’s Puppy Monkey Baby got worldwide attention, but most of it bad. So bad that Mountain Dew withdrew the ad.

The bottom line?

Dumbed down content doesn’t earn you trust. And trust is exactly what you need to build a loyal audience. 

So instead of creating a buzz, create work that will be missed if it’s gone. Hint: nobody talks about women in mirrored skirts or roller babies.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach