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Breaking Through the Viral Myth

Jan 18, 2017
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Breaking Through the Viral Myth.png“If I could just have one piece go viral, then all of my marketing and branding problems would go away.” While this statement sounds great, the truth is there are no shortcuts to success. It’s easy to be mesmerized by the many stories online about overnight success or the many pieces of content about how to get your message to go viral. Now, having a piece of content take off, build traction and get shared across the web is absolutely powerful. For me, the issue lies in the assumption that all it takes is just one lucky strike and then you're set. Growing and building your brand online takes persistence, dedication, and a lot of good old-fashioned hard work.

Having a piece of content go viral is exciting and if capitalized on can really boost your brand online. In today's highly competitive online marketplace, many are looking for shortcuts to success. The lure of achieving overnight success is nothing new. Skipping a few of the hard steps and immediately getting what we want sounds great. But talk to or read about anyone who has found success, it never came in an instant.

“There are no quick wins in business. It takes years to become an overnight success.” - Richard Branson

Our culture is all about instant gratification. Want to watch your favorite show? You can, right now. Want to go away this weekend? You can book a trip, right now. Want to get that new tech gadget? You can buy it now and it will show up on your doorstep within hours. This is truly an amazing time to be alive.

The problem with instant gratification is that it doesn’t translate into every area of our lives. Despite the amazing advancements in the consumer market, the laws of nature and growth still apply. Sure there are ways to speed up the process, but in the end, growth takes time. It’s easy to see the success others are having and ignore the years of plowing, planting, watering and growing that lead up to their success. We get blinded by the results instead of moved by the process.

When we are constantly looking at the success others are having and comparing it to our own, we are stunting our growth. Comparison leads to self-doubt. Self-doubt leads to self-destruction. When we compare ourselves to others and see that what we are currently doing isn’t achieving the same results, we lose focus on our end goal and turn inward. We question what’s wrong with us and why we can’t do what they are doing. This type of mindset will never lead to results. It will inevitably lead to compulsively trying “new trends” and quitting before they really work.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” - Steve Jobs

When starting with inbound marketing, setting the right expectations is a must. The most common question I get asked when launching a new project with a client is, “How long will it take to see results?” While the default industry answer is “somewhere between three to six months,” the truth is it could take longer. When I transitioned from a part-time marketer into a full-time entrepreneur, I needed to see results. But I was also aware that I had neglected my own marketing for years. If I was going to succeed, I was going to have to start doing the work. So I made a commitment to blog 3 times a week and create content that would solve problems. Sure a few pieces did well in the short run but I didn’t see real success until a little more than 12 months after I started. If I would have quit after a month or two, I would not be writing this post today.

The reason I was able to keep shipping is that I had realistic expectations. I knew that I needed to put in time and energy if I was going to get results. Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments. (Tweet This) The one reason so many people quit is because they have unrealistic expectations. When they hit a wall or don’t get the results they want in the time they want them, they quit. So many great companies and products have been abandoned just before they “made it” simply because of unrealistic expectations.

“…so remember, great achievements take time, there is no overnight success.” - Leo Tolstoy

While we all may love a great “overnight success story,” the truth is very few, if any, actually exist. So how can we fight the viral myth? By focusing on the actions we can take right now. In order to grow, you must fall in love with the little things. You must master the small things before you can get to the big things. Or as Eric Thomas would say, "You’re trying to do big things and you ain’t mastered the little stuff!

Want to grow your business online? Be committed to these 3 things. Get up. Get to work. Don’t Stop. Sure that’s a little abstract, but it's true. Every day you have to get up, get to work and don’t stop. It will be hard and many days will be frustrating, but those who succeed keep doing it. Having one piece of content go viral is nice. Having a business that is successful long-term is even better.

Building a Business That Connects

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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