Why Going Viral Should Not Be A Goal

Focus on these things instead

Photo by olieman.eth on Unsplash

Virality appears to be the Holy Grail for content creators and digital marketing experts alike. Just type in ‘How to go viral’ and the number of results that specific search query returns is staggering. I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of promoting virality or excess visibility, because it invariably comes at a cost. That cost is usually the quality of your work and the long-term sustainability of the same.

Instead, here are a few other things you can look at as a creator. These goals are not only practical but will also keep you in a steady state of contentment.

The Power of Connection

Page views alone do not equal connection.

What is a connection and why does it matter? As a creator, a connection is any kind of action that a reader takes on your website. If you’re a coach like me, for instance, it can be counted as the number of people who sign up for a newsletter. Perhaps they then sign up for a coaching call, buy a product that I recommend or purchase one of my e-books.

If you’re a blogger (and not a coach like me), a conversion is anything that counts as being useful to both you and the reader. The reader learns something from your content, leaves a comment, shares your content with other people, follows you on your preferred social media channel or signs up for your newsletter.

Now, if my focus were purely page views, I’d run the risk of ignoring the more crucial element: connections.

Finding Your True Audience

Your true audience will find you anyway, irrespective of your page views.

Even though I’ve been blogging for over a decade, my newsletter subscribers don’t cross into the 1k mark. But do you know the absolute truth despite all these ‘shortcomings? Every single one of my target audience- be they readers, clients, subscribers or my community- are the kind who will stick around and stay with me and my content.

Go where your audience is active. Talk to them, listen to their challenges, offer solutions to their problems and most important of all, let them know how they can reach you if they have more questions.

Make Creation Your Goal

Stay in the space of consistent content creation. Of late, I’ve actually found a certain set of engaged readers on Medium, where I try and write often.

There is no monetary goal with Medium, to be honest. I use it to flex my writing muscles and the best part is that I can write a 2-minute to 6-minute article in under 30 minutes.

The good news is that Medium has readers, especially in my niche. So finding readers isn’t as challenging as writing into the search engine void. The better news? The more you write, the more people tend to notice.

Identifying Your Value as a Creator

Virality is not a measure of your growth, the value you provide through your content or your success as a creator.

It took me a long time to truly embrace this philosophy, but it’s what I believe from the bottom of my heart now. That’s why I don’t mind when people stop reading my content or unsubscribe from my newsletter or cease interacting with me on other channels.

We each have a limited span of attention and as we grow on our journey as writers and bloggers, we learn a lesson. People who come into our sphere of influence do so at different stages.

Some of them will find what they need and then gently dis-engage. Others will stick around for a much longer part of the journey. Yet others will never know more about us except as a passing reference through our work online, read it and move on.

As a content creator, you’ll realise that while virality can be briefly gratifying, they aren’t the reason you started creating. Look deep into your heart and you’ll find the truth for yourself.

Virality is like a blip on the graph; legacy content is like a steady stream. Focus on the latter.

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Shailaja V

Shailaja V

Digital minimalist. Writer. Bibliophile. Coach: I teach creators how to grow an organic audience without the overwhelm. More about me: www.shailajav.com