One of the ironies of the Internet is that when you write things you expect people to read, nobody reads them.
When you write things you’re a little hesitant to share (because they reveal something vulnerable about you), everybody reads them.
The more honest the content, the more it gets shared.
What I find so interesting about advertising and marketing is that big brands, major companies, small startups and everything in-between spend absurds amount of money creating content that isn’t honest.
It’s promotional. It’s an ad. It doesn’t have any of the human qualities that so clearly define every viral video, article, song, podcast, or movie.
Yet, they say in their meetings, “We want to be known as honest. Transparent. Authentic. Yea, yea that’s a good word — authentic. We want our ads to be that.”
They then shell out thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars attempting to make something that appears authentic, only to sit back and scream, “Why isn’t this going viral? Why isn’t press picking this up? Why isn’t anyone sharing this?”
Do you know who the most-viewed influencers on the Internet are?
The people who attract the most attention are the ones who take a small piece of their heart and say, “Here. I’m giving this to you. It is what it is — some of you will like it, some of you won’t. But I’m giving it to you anyway. Because it’s me.”
These are the comedic influencers who make videos in their bedroom that accumulate tens of millions of views.
These are the garage musicians who sing and you can’t help but listen.
These are the writers who remind you what it feels like to be afraid of something.
These are the artists that show you what emotion looks like.
These are the business people whose voice rings with so much conviction, you can’t help but be inspired.
These are the video makers who can take something so complicated and summarize it in just a few shots.
These are the public speakers who say what everyone is thinking but no one wants to admit to.
These are the talk show hosts that make a guest feel so comfortable, they share a story they’ve never shared before in their entire life.
Do you know what all these people have in common?
They were honest.
When you make something that is trying hard to stand out, it blends in to the noise.
But when you make something that reveals some sort of human truth, and is executed in a way where the person on the other side of the screen can feel it, it goes viral.