As many PR pros can attest to, an abundance of organizations out there want “to go viral.” Nowadays when we think of going viral, we often think of videos spreading like wild-fire online, garnering hundreds of thousands if not millions of views. It’s exciting! Who wouldn’t want that?
The problem is going viral in most instances is not what organizations need even if it could be attained, and let’s face it most products and services simply don’t lend themselves to going viral any ways. But that’s not the point. The point is heavy, short-lived attention is no substitute for long-term, deliberate PR and marketing that is focused on building relationships.
The desire for a viral video or story in my estimation is equivalent to the I-want-to-be-on-Oprah syndrome.
Like viral videos, many people also believe high-profile media attention leads to success or will benefit them greatly in some way. Why? Because they’ve seen it happen.
However, the vast majority of products and services sold and funds raised across the planet are not as a result of viral videos and prime-time media appearances. Rather success came from bringing something desired to the marketplace and marketing it slowly, steadily and smartly. I mean think about it? How many of your favorite possessions or causes became that because of a viral video or 60 Minutes spot? Most likely none.
What’s more plausible is the maker of your favorite beverage reached you through well-thought out product development and marketing, and in the end they added value to your life and kept it up.
I repeat…they added value to your life and kept it up. Kind of like a best friend, right? Well, this is probably how your best friend became your best friend. You met, found out you had stuff in common, spent time together, added value to each others’ lives and ultimately grew a great friendship. Great PR and marketing follows the same path, a path focused on the long-term that is fueled by patience, not rocket propellant.
Sure, a well-made video on YouTube may get you a lot of attention quickly, but if your aim is to grow a lasting business or nonprofit, you need to invest your time and effort into a slow, steady, and methodical communication approach, not in short-term, high-thrill tactics.
Or in other words, be the tortoise.