It’s no longer a central point of our brand, and we thought it was now time to say it officially:

We no longer care about viral marketing. And so do you.

what? Viral marketing campaigns are great!

Listen, if your content goes viral, it’s wonderful. We are happy for you. (Honestly, not sarcastically.)

We have already created viral content for our customers. Some marketers first heard about our agency because of our viral work, and honestly, we loved trying to create viral content. This gave our customers a boost, and at the time, we sincerely believed that it was the best way to help them achieve their marketing goals.

Our plan was to create numerous studies and surveys over time and get coverage on national and industry-specific publications over a period of several months, knowing that this was not going to be a one-size-fits-all strategy.

You’ve probably noticed a parallel trend in influencer marketing. At first, people rushed to hire the biggest names with the most followers, but then micro-influencers became fashionable, as they actually reached people’s target audiences in a more meaningful way.

If you spend all your time wondering if something will go viral, you’re probably losing sight of your goals in the first place. You also prepare to be disappointed again and again.

Well, if viral marketing techniques don’t matter, what matters?

Usually, when something goes viral, you create pretty fantastic quality links. And that’s great. You will certainly see an improvement in the short term.

But Google’s algorithm can probably already identify if you have a viral hit and haven’t created anything notable or perceived value (few shares, links, views, etc.) for years. It is safe to assume that the algorithm will also continue to become more sophisticated.

Instead of focusing on the fact that every thing you create is a huge success, focus on creating value for your audience.

This principle was further emphasized when John Mueller recently stated that in terms of Google, the volume of links does not matter at all. In fact, Google’s algorithm cares about quality and relevant links.

At the end of the day, what I am talking about here is a change in mentality. Don’t do things to go viral. Do not exclude a strategy because it does not promise virality.

Instead, build your marketing strategy around goals such as:

  • conscience. How do I ensure that my brand is continuously mentioned by respected publications? (Instead, how can I get a ton of links as quickly as possible?)
  • authority. How do I build the authority of my company? (Rather, how do I get my name in front of each person?)
  • value. How can I help my target audience manage the issues they face? (Rather than, what will go viral, even if it doesn’t appeal to my target client/client?)
  • affinity. What will sincerely bring joy to our target audience? (Instead, what’s going to go viral and go out quickly?)

At BlackcatSEO, the way we approached these goals is to move from focusing on viral campaigns to focusing on “rank-worthy” content (or content that delivers value to your audience by best responding to the search intent) and “linkable content” (content of interest that demonstrates your authority and earns recognition in target posts).

These two types of goal-specific content work together to grow your brand.

So, when you’re considering your own strategy, do what elevates your brand as an authority and connects you to your audience.

And if at some point you go viral, that’s the icing on the cake.

The new principles of a successful marketing strategy

The focus on viral marketing efforts has highlighted the importance of brand awareness, or simply making your company name known to enhance your efforts at the top of the funnel.

This was important at a time when link acquisition methods were still black hats and spam, and people didn’t like the digital RP side of things as much.

But now almost every marketer knows the importance of brand awareness, and we need to strive to go further.

The fact is that consciousness is great, but authority and affinity are better. Viral marketing usually doesn’t contribute much on the authority side of things. While this can help increase your domain authority in the short term, which gives you a boost, it’s not sustainable growth that’s only possible if you engage in ongoing content marketing strategies.