There's no key or formula for "going viral." A video or blog post that someone works weeks on will languor in relative obscurity while the thing they whipped up in one day will get all the crazy buzz. So yes, it's hard, almost impossible to gauge. However there are certain things that help, certain lessons to learn. Today I thought it would be fun to look at some of the lessons learned from one of those viral sensations, Grumpy Cat.
Be Consistent. Everybody knows what to expect with Grumpy Cat, even when the hilarious and awesome owners are taking pictures of Grumpy at Disneyland. Because its so pervasive, when anybody wants to express frustration and just plain grumpiness, Grumpy Cat is one of the first things they turn to.
Now, I'm probably going to have some trouble with this, because I hope to write in multiple genres. However, I am going to try and be consistent wherever I can: in terms of voice, style, etc. You can also be consistent across your various social media platforms. Even consistent scheduling can help. I follow many, many blogs that I read regularly, but for example, I actively wait for and seek out blog posts on Anne R. Allen's blog because I know there will be a fabulous and helpful post waiting for me every Sunday. I know that every Tuesday and Friday I'm going to get a YouTube video from John and Hank Green.
Be Genuine. Grumpy Cat is huge because everyone can immediately understand and sympathize with that fabulous expression. We know exactly what that face means, and have felt it ourselves. People like it when you get real, past the fluffy niceties and superficial pleasantries. We're not Victorian England anymore. We know we're all imperfect and often hilariously fallible and human and we as a culture would most often rather talk about it than gloss over things and pretend there are no issues. In fact, its this sense of humor that is often exactly what's needed to help deal with the issues and problems, even if its just on an emotional level. So be real. We're all here to connect with each other.
Be Shareable. Part of the reason Grumpy Cat succeeds is because its so simple and easy and convenient to spread it. You can quickly find and post a Grumpy Cat picture on Facebook or Twitter or a Blog or Pinterest or anything. People can easily "read" the image, have a good laugh, and quickly move on. That's what the internet is about these days, and though things like long and in depth are still wonderful things in their own right, they're not as easily shareable. People like bullet points and numbered lists and humor and, especially, images. If it takes more than point and click to spread your news, more often than not, people are going to move on rather than expend the effort.
Hopefully these principles can be applied to all types of book marketing. What other marketing lessons do you think we could take from Grumpy Cat?