What is the purpose of your story? A basic question, but one that should rest at the foundation of every piece of content created for consumer consumption. A question whose answer is very very important when looking at how to spread your story purpose. The digital age and creation of multiple forms of technology has changed the way people create content and the way people consume story. Creators were limited to how they could push their story (print, radio, television/movies). Digital changed the game. There are many ways to deliver story and trying to find the right one is not easy. Viral marketing campaigns are one form that work well with the digital platform.
Essentially, viral marketing is a form of content delivery designed to be spread across digital platforms by consumers. You film a video that is posted to YouTube; create a website for one of the characters in your story; or hold conversations with your audience using Twitter or other social media feeds. As people visit your created content, hopefully, they begin to talk about the campaign and spread your material through social media. Viral movement of your story is a fine line to walk. You need a good story or hook, a social point of interaction and you need to make that connection with an audience that is willing to spread/share your content outwards. By the very nature of the digital medium, viral campaigns can spread like wildfire, or end up dead in the water.
Think of a pond that you cast a rock into; you do the work of throwing the rock, your consumers then create the ripples that spread outwards taking your story throughout the pond. One example of a current viral campaign is the 2k Games Advent campaign.
A curious website popped up about Advent City and building a bright future. As you read through and interact with the site, you begin to learn all is not right in the city. Gamers started to talk about the website and the hidden messages within the Advent page. They then reposted in many social media streams trying to figure out what 2k is planning. Searching for the Advent site and 2k brings up memes, forum postings, articles and quite a bit of content, all user created, thus driving those ripples far and wide. Many continue to turn in (aka the coveted repeat visitor) as the site is counting down to… something (it has not yet been revealed what that something is at the writing of this article). This growing audience is marketing the 2k message with each forum post, crazy meme and retweet. There are many examples of this type of project. So, do you want to create some ripples?
(You can find more great cross media images by Gary Hayes on his site.)
Credits: AdventFuture Images courtesy of 2K Games.