If you are not familiar with her, Grumpy Cat is a—now celebrity—kitty that rose to fame from social media in 2012. Reddit, Instagram, and Facebook soon made Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat, ridiculously famous. Madame Tussauds wax figure famous. Plush doll famous. A cat with a grumpy face. That is all there is. Or at least that is what I thought.
Nine million Facebook followers later, we must admit that there is much more to look at here than a kitty with a permanently grumpy face. Grumpy Cat is a reminder of the unknown mechanisms behind “going viral” on the internet. The dark, mysterious recipe that all of us have taken a shot at: virality. As you will soon learn, aiming for virality is aiming at a fast-moving target.
I stare at this cat every day as a reminder of how unpredictable, elusive, and utterly fascinating online virality can be. I would like to leave you with the thought that you can absolutely aim for virality as long as you would be satisfied if all you ever achieved was outstanding distribution. I do it all the time—and it works.
You can practice your grumpy face a million times, you can make a dog surf, you can explode in laughter like Chewbacca mom, and still not go viral. You can, however, secure incredibly valuable exposure by spending more time on distribution.
Some brands will pay millions for the kind of exposure a few individuals have gathered with absolutely zero investment. The key ...