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couchHow do we make viral content?

How much does a viral video cost?

Can you focus on doing viral stuff with our brand?

We in public relations and marketing hear these questions a lot from people these days.

And here at HMA, where honesty is always the best policy, our answer is always the same when these requests are made: You – nor we – can make a viral anything. At least not in the strictest sense of the word.

By definition, content goes viral by being popular – by attracting people beyond just one’s target audience or demographics. Given this, there really is no such thing as “viral videos,” “viral stories,” or “viral photos.” There is such a thing, however, as content GOING viral.

And when it comes to going viral – authenticity matters.

A great example: Yesterday’s par 3 contest at the Masters.

For those unfamiliar, this contest is held annually the Wednesday before the first round of the Masters. It combines current competitors, past champions and honorary invitees by Augusta National. But instead of professional caddies and formality, this contest allows players’ friends, wives and especially children to join them on the course as caddies and assistants. It is perhaps the cutest photo opp during the entire PGA Tour.

This year, for the first time since becoming a father, the down-on-his-PGA-luck Tiger Woods not only played, but brought his kids. And in a moment that I would like to think was spontaneous, but know was staged, he had one of his kids putt a hole. Lots of players do this, even though it does disqualify the player from the fluffy contest.

At first, it looked like this would be THE viral moment from the day.

But then, the karma gods stepped in and two amazing, non-staged things happened:

  • PGA legend Jack Nicklaus, who is now 75years-old, got a hole in one!
  • Kevin Streelman, a decent player but by no means a PGA star, won the par 3 contest in a playoff, thanks to the help from a very special caddie – Ethan Couch.

Couch, 13, lives with an inoperable brain tumor. Thanks to Make-A-Wish, he was granted the chance to attend the 2015 Masters. Inspired by his story, Streelman contacted Couch directly to not only let him know about the Masters, but to ask him to be his par 3 contest caddy.

So, while Woods’ photo opp got some clicks, it was Nicklaus and Streelman who captured clicker hearts – a far more impressive feat in the viral world.

Quality always beats quantity.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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