Over the last few years viral marketing, leveraging social networks in an effort to drive large amounts of traffic to your web site in a short amount of time, has become one of the hottest marketing tactics. Unfortunately for every 1,000 attempts at viral marketing one may succeed. We have seen some brilliant ideas that were stunningly successful, others that just left us shaking our heads wondering what just happened.

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The biggest weakness in viral marketing is finding a topic that will actually go viral. Sometimes the best ideas go nowhere while some random thing on the net goes absolutely nuts. The second biggest weakness in viral marketing is that you can often leave your potential customers wondering what they are supposed to do after they see your video or event or whatever you did that went viral. So, how do you find a topic that fits you?

Go for a world record

The folks over at Guinness are the go to guys when it comes to world records. They currently track a few thousand world records and are always willing at accept new record attempts. All you need to do is find a record you can break, or invent a new record to attempt and get started.

Gourmet Gift Baskets tied together two very marketable ideas and have just set a new world record as I type this. Their goal is to break the old world record of largest cup of coffee by more than doubling it from 911.5 gallons to 2010 gallons of fresh brewed coffee. That’s more than 32,000 cups of coffee. Additionally, the goal is to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure by selling cups of coffee and opportunities to be photographed with the world’s largest cup of coffee.

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Of course they haven’t done this alone, there are plenty of corporate sponsors helping make this happen. And the event is taking place at Blog World Expo, one of the largest conventions for bloggers, so it is getting plenty of exposure all across the net.

Make it easy for me

So how do you kick off your own viral marketing world record attempt?

  1. find or create a record you can actually break
  2. find corporate sponsors to cover the parts that you can’t cover yourself
  3. tie the attempt in with a charity or event that already has national exposure and a large fan base
  4. promote the attempt early and often using twitter, facebook, blogs, tv (local news), radio (local radio stations), and anything else you can think of
  5. invite local and internet celebrities to participate
  6. finally, get the record

With the right record, event, and charity, you can turn this attempt in to a marketing home run while doing some good at the same time. And you might even be able to get other people to pay you to do it if you market it right.