About the Guest Transcript

Aashish Chopra

Isn't almost every brand/product/service or for that matter almost every human being too, looking to go viral? I think they are. The idea of going viral is just too alluring and rightly so, it does give a sudden spike to the follower-ship. But, how to make such content? Is there a process to it? There definitely is and this episode is all about discussing the science behind creating viral content one after the other. Don't miss it if you also wish to go viral.
Aashish Chopra is an award winning Viral Content Marketer. His videos and content has received millions of views within minutes of releasing the videos and he has been doing it consistently for years now. He is worth all the time, don't miss it!


Shubham(00:01) -
Kuch esa banao yaar ki viral ho jaaye. Next post viral karna hain. I don't have a budget to get a celebrity on board. But you know, for going viral you don't need that these days. How many people generally share your posts? Is your content share worthy? Content marketing seekhna padega yaar. Now, these are conversations that I regularly have with people regarding my podcasts, every brand and whatsoever category, they might be from selling toilet papers to probably airplanes, seasons to go viral these days, because that's the game right? But it's not easy. And given the noise in the market, it's a gigantic task. We have Ashish Chopra with us, the famous award winning viral video marketer to discuss the A to Z of fast, cheap and viral content, which is also his top the charts best selling book.

Shubham(01:01) -
Namaste I am shubham Agarwal, and you're listening to SOS secrets of storytellers, a podcast where I interview authors and writers from the world of business, literature and many more. Don't miss out the last section where we get to know secrets from the storyteller themselves. Hi, Ashish, welcome to secrets as storytellers How are you?.

Aashish(01:17) -
Hi, Shubham. Happy to be here. And yeah, let's get started. I loved your introduction.

Shubham(01:26) -
Thank you. Thank you so much. Pleasure to have you. So Ashish, I want to clarify some doubts. First. You know, we know that you've been a big proponent of shareworthy videos to make them go viral. But we see negative content or you know, contrary tree stuff getting well quickly, while genuine content takes a lot of time or probably doesn't go viral as much. Is there a truth to this? Do you agree with this?

Aashish(01:50) -
See, viral is a very abused word everywhere in the industry, in marketing in content, because everybody needs a viral and they need to buy tomorrow, right? Yeah, no thing is viral is an outcome. It's not in our hands. So when we see stuff going viral, it could be Gangnam Style, or the guy who jumped from a another parachute thing, right? So anything can go viral, right? But the thing is, to me, when you are creating content, and you're a business or you're in marketing, and you need to create content, which goes viral, since it's an outcome, what do we focus on that thing, get that result to me the operating word for viral and whenever you think of the word viral, right, whenever you see a one next viral video, any viral content, any meme, any image, any blog post, which everybody you know, is going crazy about? Yeah, the operative word for that is shareworthy. Agar koi cheez, if it's worthy of sharing anything, right, for example, you know, anything, which is, you know, negative crazy, good or bad, You know, which goes viral? You want to share it? Because you want to be the coolest one. The first one to share your what's happening, Right. But when it comes to a brand, when it comes to content, you creating a marketing, negativity is dangerous. And negativity is expensive, because ek negative cheez ko thik karke karke, you are spending a lot of resources. Right. So, you know, to me, when the first video went viral, I did not know the ABC of viral I thought viral matlab, your blessings of a guru and your stars are aligned, and you can get 15 seconds of you know, virality. But because the first one went viral, I got obsessed about it. Why did it work? Right? What's that method behind the madness? Yeah, right. Because if we, if we can't replicate that, if there is no process behind it, that, you know, hum sirf tukke maar rahe hain, tukke maarne is not success. Tukke maarna is not a strategy. Hope is not a strategy. And that got me obsessed. That's what the book is about. It's about a process which we can scale up process, which we can apply and everybody sees their own version of ideas, looking through the filter of that process. Right. So to me, the operating boot from viruses shareworthy if your content gets crazy amount of shares, then you know, it starts going viral. And if you stop about negative stuff, and positive stuff, whatever keeps going viral all the time. Yeah, at the heart of it is shareability of all about it, it may appeal to the you know, negative side positive side but at the heart of it is shareability right? And when it comes to content, you or your team or brand or content creator, you if you're creating an influencer then negativity controversy is expensive to deal with. Right? Right. To me if your content is not an attempt to make the world a better place than you were just doing for the money for the you know, wrong causes. Yeah, shallow fame which is so short.

Shubham(04:39) -
I love how you say hope is not a strategy. Lovely

Aashish(04:45) -
Tukke maarna is not marketing.

Shubham(04:47) -
It cannot be that gives a lot of hope. Right. And you know, like you said that guy who jumped from the parachute while paragliding or whatever, and he was in fact featured in roadies this season you know, yeah. And just because of that one video. Now, does that mean anything in this world under the sun? has the potential to go viral? Or does it apply to a specific few things?

Aashish(05:11) -
See, I believe, see, things can keep going viral all the time dancing uncle goes viral, this guy went viral, you know, but thing is, can be replicated as part of a process. Right? Right. So for example, if you're consistently creating, you know, great content, right, and the content is getting, attracting a lot of shares, then that's the kind of game you want to be in, right? Suppose, you know, for example, agar aapke life mei koi tukka lag gaya, you went viral, you were dancing on the street, and you know, so I personally hated this whole one hit wonder mentality. Because if you if you try to try to capitalize and you know, extract the juice from one hit, then you can only go so far. Correct? Right? ideas, too. Can we build on that? Because it's in a building on that, you know, the sun shined, and uske baad Andheri raat. So for example, you know, stuff like people, or content, which goes viral, acceptable dancing, and Colonia for this guy who went on roadies, I'm like, can you build this up? Right, can you? How can you build it up to stay relevant in your space? Right, right. I'm dancing uncle, for example. You know, I feel very, very sad. And sorry for these accidental virals. Because, like, they get this massive payment. 15 seconds. Everybody's talking about that. But teen din ke baad, janta is latched on to something else. Correct? Right? How can we build on that that's been my obsession? How can we build that your content, you know, like, start getting shares every time? And not just a one hit wonder?

Shubham(06:48) -
Right. Makes sense. So she's attention span. And that's a very these days. Is it subjective? Or is it just like seven or eight seconds, regardless of whatever is playing on the screen?

Aashish(06:59) -
Attention span, like, you know, it's all user behaviour? If you look around, right, but how exactly are we as users consuming content? Right, we are bombarded with so much stuff, so much information all the time. Yeah, right. I should take trips in the metro to see how people are consuming content. And you know, Metro, mei aadha ghanta sabhke paas free hain, everybody has a phone out, and they're watching videos, or playing games. And I used to sneak up behind people to see how exactly are they, you know, like, how are they consuming the content, right? marketing their creativity content. And that's when I realized as I snapped behind this uncle ji, I will not tell you what he was looking at. And then I realized that, you know, there could be a two crore celebrity video or a video made in 10,000 5000 rupees, both of them go up with a swipe of the thumb. It's all every everyone is competing for the come from swiping up, you know, I went to Facebook's office last to last year and the MD of Facebook at that time said the biggest challenge for Facebook is harnessing human attention. I'm like, that's exactly what I've been thinking about. And obsessing about, because because jab tak aapke paas meaningful attention nahi hain, how can you deliver in any any conversation, any communication, right? And the attention span has been dropping again and again, because we are bombarded all the time. The user for example, it could be nine seconds, eight seconds, are number mei kuch nahi rakha hain, the thing is, if within the first three to six seconds, your content could be anything it could be a blog post was you know with a headline or a video, or a you know, a photo or a meme. If in first three to six seconds, we are not able to meaningfully engage with them. Yeah, right. It's like if we can't hold their hand and take them on a journey. Yeah, stop them in their newsfeeds in their chaos, then the person is gone forever. Right. So attention span to me is three to six seconds, teen se che (3 to 6) seconds are the most crucial for any content.

Shubham(08:52) -
And is it the first three to six seconds? Or is it every six seconds?

Aashish(08:57) -
Thing is. I used to believe it's for three seconds all the time keep pilot in such a second magalia but the challenge comes once you have figured out the 436 seconds, right? for three to six seconds you figure it out, you've meaningfully engaged with them you held their hand but end mei hume share chahiye, agar end mei share nahi ho raha hain toh kya kare is 3 se 6 second ki engagement ka. Right if you're able to attract the right kind of audience to our content, so we need Sharon yet we need to keep them engaged with the content. So then I realized that every three to six seconds on our videos or content should be able to engage the Yeah, because you know if you show something and you engage with them, and then you know because generally if you see videos, behind the scenes, the graph really nosedives pretty much for all the videos. Right? Because there was a great first three to six seconds it was a great thumbnail, maybe it's a great headline, and half the time it's shitty clickbait content. Right, right. Took keeping them relevantly engaged every few seconds was very, and that became part of a process that how can we keep them engaged? Because ergonomic honeyberry right for them, if you're telling a fiction story that there is somebody, something happened, and may became the tone, right, you know, classic formula for affection. Novels made three to six seconds per game is very challenging. That's why I just chopped the idea of fiction and complete focus completely on nonfiction. The nonfiction ideas are driven entirely by value by research by bullet points, right? So watch me every three, three to six seconds, we could maintain the engagement. Right? So pretty much 99 percent videos, which I've done over the last six years, have been in non fiction space. Non-fiction matlab documentary nahi bola. That's not the nonfiction I am like usme koi hero nahi hain koi kahani nahi hain, storytelling hain but story nahi hain.

Shubham(10:55) -
I get it, ya.

Aashish(10:57) -
When you read the book, you'll see a lot of examples, you know, right. In the book, you'll see a lot of examples. What exactly does that mean? You know, how do we because if you have to do fiction, we have to have become a director like, you know, Steven Spielberg or Sanjay Leela Bhansali. To think emotions dialog. Let's leave that to Mumbai. Right? Right. Because, like, I'm not a collector, right? I don't have that experience. But I do have experience in researching.

Shubham(11:20) -

Aashish(11:22) -
I do have experience in figuring out Yes, and yeah. Right. And I do give a shit about my users, my audiences, if you if you're a startup, if you're working in a company in marketing or as a content creator or influencer, right, can you give a shit about adding value to your audiences.

Shubham(11:36) -

Aashish(11:37) -
Yeah. So you're the person who knows your audience is the best. And if you then you start applying the process, you come up with a lot of ideas, which are nonfiction, which completely aligned with three to six second attention span, so we keep them engaged. Right, right.

Shubham(11:53) -
So Ashish, like you said, you know, the first time you went viral, or every time you go viral, you look back, you take a step back, and you look at why did it happen? So what is the science behind it?

Aashish(12:04) -
No, that was the first video, now there is a process

Shubham(12:07) -
So I am curious about that process now, which gives some hope to every marketer that Yes, I can. If I do this, this is this

Aashish(12:16) -
Thing is like, to me, the whole part of writing the book, or putting the process down, was to validate does it work or not? Right? Right, because it's very easy to give tips curated from the internet, or brain farting, or my philosophies about viral content. And like, if something has not been part of my true experience, then I can't I shouldn't be bullshitting my way to telling what's why I'm saying focus shareworthy not on viral because the viable outcome you see, right now, in the first couple of videos, I used to think, you know, why did this go and that's when a lot of experiments started when the process was in place. And you know, I started working on the book, then every video was to validate that process, Gary Ciccone. He got to me, it's me here Do me a favor to me, right. And validating, like, for example, it took me three years to get the book down, because Wow, validating not just every question every student, every CEO, you know, I give talks and you know, answering their questions, but validating each and every part of the process. Right, right. Because creativity is very subjective. It may have been a pain for system horrible things, and they can we democratize it. Right? Right, because everybody is born creative, we just need to nurture that creativity. process to me is very simple. It's about, you know, like, this person worked at Forbes, he reached out to me that, you know, you say share worthy content, what is share worthy content? Now, again, share worthy content could be very different from you and me. Right? Yeah. Right. Your share worthy content could be different from all over the country. Correct? Right. My mom, for example, likes all my videos. So how do we do it? Right, so how do we come up with shareworthy ideas? Because think, if you're laying railway tracks, and going from Delhi to Bombay, now a lot of curry with a degree color direction, not Calcutta. Right. So the direction of your content, the direction of your idea and concept is so important. And that is by far like I hate when people talk about format Instagram posts or their video but not the format. So yeah, Danny, writer, so the direction of an idea is super important. So what exactly is worthy of sharing? That's what the book is about. That's what the process is about. What is worthy of sharing. So for example, how do we pick topics there are like five different categories? Yeah, and every categories you know, validated by millions of views and you know shares image lobby token Mr. Ray, this is this shit works. Right? Right. So how do you pick a topic? An important then aka topic area? How do you produce it in low budgets because choti screen clearly apko high production value a high storytelling Cheeto high storytelling Casio right? Three to six seconds Casablanca how do we start conversations bigger oven, aka content around bots or engagement or comments are a shares already? See you will only go viral or people will create a budget to travel further when the platforms allow you to do that. Yeah, right Facebook, LinkedIn could arrange out any content, which starts attracting a lot of engagement. Every platform starts loving it, because they want to keep users longer on their platform. Other Arqiva say people can spend longer on their platform, they make money, correct? Yeah, yeah. Right. No need to make sure that our content drives a lot of engagement. And the book is the process about, you know, what is worthy of sharing? How do you focus on storytelling? How do you move fast? And, you know, apply the three to six second rule? How do you make four tiny screens? And how do you start conversations? Again, all this is rooted in user behavior. And experiments tend to see cats are identical, right? Because I was at an airport a couple of years back. And I was hunting for a book for content marketing, right. I was like, you know, there was so much stuff happening in India, there's so much stuff, you know, me and my team would do. And I was so shocked that there was not even a single book from India about marketing and content marketing and videos I make, you know, we've been aping the west for a long time. I'm like India. Right? Hey. So that's, you know, I wrote the book. I forget what you read.

Shubham(16:23) -
Yeah. Very interestingly, Ashish. And I don't know how this happens. I'm now this has happened too many times. So we have released 23 episodes, on the podcast. And every one of my episodes, every one of my episode, it's all dedicated to others, every one of them has said, we could never find content, we could never find, you know, the wisdom or we could never find things which were in Indian context. And you're very right. I've gone through an MBA and right I know, we study all those Western philosophies, Western structures, for everything in India, and it doesn't work that way. Right. So great that you know, once again, that you know, you could share the Indianness.

Aashish(17:07) -
Like, India has so much potential in internet marketing internet India has so much potential and content marketing, we have millions of users right, like in India, every number can go down, economy can go down, stock market can go down, but internet user base keeps increasing every month by month, right? Esa growth kaha milega,world mei kaha milega? Being in India, we understand the nuances of India.Correct, right. We grew up in this to understand an audience like I was at this event, and people said, Oh, this AI and voice is coming up. You know, Google is, you know, championing this voice thing correctly. Eight language the English language is correct, right. In English, right. Because India May, for example, words, the Metropolitan language. Hindi. Yeah. Right. Correct. So the biggest power of India is, you know, when you move beyond 200 kilometers from the city, that's where the massive growth is happening.

Shubham(18:14) -
Right. So, Ashish, what is the biggest mistake? You've seen brands, or content marketers make these days?

Aashish(18:21) -
You know, biggest mistake, which, like, mistake model, which from my perspective, yeah, nobody to say who's making mistake and who's doing it, right. But it's a pet peeve of mine, when they keep creating ads and masquerading that as content. ad is not content. Okay? Because, you know, they keep tooting their own horn. Right? Because there is so much ad blindness, there was so much ad fatigue. Yeah, yeah. Hey, this overt mistrust around are built over, like decades, right? Yeah. So, you know, like, a lot of brands, marketeers keep doing keep, you know, thinking this whole thing from an ad perspective. Also, great ideas, great content, you know, it's born when you give a shit about your users and not just please your boss, right? People keep working to please the bottom not please. The user user is the one who's paying your salary eventually. Correct. If you just stopped using your product and services, you're fired. Yeah. Because there is no money left. So user focus is very important, but because the way we you know, the whole industry of marketers brands are TV ads, and they have their crazy agency the crazy they get orgasms about having the right one on TV and TV they call Arabic. Correct. In India, people spend eight hours a week right on their mobile devices for hours on TV. Two hours on print up, do the map right at the experiment condiment doting online experiment. And when you can validate that you can run TV ads from the validate ideas Great, absolutely, yeah. But again up PV turnover is a big brand, top solve a kidney experiment COVID. Right. I'm going to start off. Why do you think startups can come compete with big brands today? Because startup is not the size of the company. Correct. Sets mindset. Yeah, it's not over funding. It's the attitude, hum art logo TMF still will compete with you and will beat you at your game. And that can only happen when your storytelling is kick ass when you know you obsess your obsessiveness, about user experience focusing on the user. And vice versa. You know, everything is made in the interest of the users aka product isn't the interest of the user, the content isn't the interest. We're not tooting our horn. Correct. And this duty of the hand is something which, you know, this is more of all the time. Like, I get mail from a bank at three o'clock. Key. Which of the services do you like the most? I mean, my weight currently has a bank. Debit Card.

Shubham(20:59) -
Yeah, right. Make sense? It's crazy. So our video is going to stay here for some time, or do you by any chance see a new trend emerging as well? Are we going away from it?

Aashish(21:12) -
See. Let's look at the past. Why did video become a big deal right now? Because suddenly, you know, data was cheap. Broadband was cheaper geo came and that changed the whole game? Yeah, phones bought got cheaper, right? So video suddenly exploded because they started playing without buffering. Yeah. Right. So I feel like you don't like videos are not going How can they go with that's a massive, biggest phenomenon we've seen in marketing or in content. Right, right. So the thing is, I see a little bit different peaks, like regional content is already you know, going crazy, right? is experimenting with video. That will be very interesting, because regional content, regional videos has its own audiences. And that's also in the millions. That's the beauty of India.

Shubham(21:58) -
Yeah. The mass customization.

Aashish(22:02) -
You can mean call to the Create Bengali content. Correct. So I would say, no regional content and videos and experimental videos, like videos, MCI videos, May, of course, Echo videos is not YouTube. Yeah. Every social platform is a video platform. Correct? Right. How do you experiment in video plats, you know, on different platforms in their native formats? How do you experiment with carousal? video and Instagram? How do you experiment with live videos on Facebook? How can you experiment with regional content? How can you experiment with you know, Twitter and video? How can experiment with 15 second video six second video? Yeah. Tons of we haven't. We're not done with experimentation. This game is too exciting.

Shubham(22:42) -
Right. Great. Wonderful. So actually, this brings us to the last section of the podcast. Yep. Now this is something which is common across all the episodes. Since we call the show secrets of storytellers. I want to ask you one secret about the book, or about yourself valuable writing the book, which you've probably not share it until this day.

Aashish(23:03) -
You know, there's no secret but there was a big struggle in getting the book together because I was not able to write. Okay, right. Because things make a video different videos. No, two minute, three minute. No, we make creating videos was like, you know, it's not like creating, making legon three and a half hours. It takes six months to make, right? So every video is like, what one week? 10 days maximum, sometimes three to four days. Correct. But because of the long project, I was like shitting bricks. Nice. So I applied a lot of hacks to actually get the book done. Uh huh. And how do you put a book together? Right. So I took all my talks and sessions, which I had done. I wrote to them send me the videos of all the sessions. And I collected all the videos, okay, and gave it to a friend of mine My job board and asked me, okay, just transcribed the whole show. Because it's easy to edit. And then you have like, you know, I went to go inspirational finish the book. I just wrote like, three paragraphs.

Shubham(24:04) -
No works

Aashish(24:06) -
I'm not a writer, but I had to write right, got it. I wanted to write about to put this whole thing together and of course, validated valid. It has to be actionable. Because gyan ka LinKdin pe roz keertan hota hai.

Shubham(24:22) -

Aashish(24:23) -
It has to be actionable. Yeah. So that's pretty much it. But if you ask me a little secret, like, I started my journey working with Excel Excel, like a travel company, and at that time, I'd applied for this role of debt manager. And Excel was not part of my life and journey. This won't have happened this journey, but the videos and books and 370 million views because the culture there is amazing. But when I'd applied for the job there, they're actually rejected me. Okay, which was crazy. And when and after two days They saw the video the first video which had made Yeah, organically because someone shared with them on their WhatsApp. And suddenly it was called the next day and you know, a new role was created for which I'm like Vice President at that time it was manager. But execution is what matters, you know, when I look back, right? Because opportunity is like upcoming better, right? So I know people ask me, you know, how do we hire the right people? How do we hire the right team members? Unlike resumes, nothing CV is nothing, you know, if you can demonstrate something, right, nothing I know, I put so much value in people who prefer to execute, then just talk about ideas. Right. Right. Go to execute cross attack. Correct.

Shubham(25:44) -
True, true. This great. I mean, this is a great example. Because we hear a lot of people big people saying, you know, I went to Facebook and I got rejected, and then I created Facebook, something like that. But this is wonderful.

Aashish(25:58) -
Yeah, so it's been Yeah, it's been an amazing journey. Great. Thanks

Shubham(26:01) -
Thanks a lot, Ashish, for this discussion. I hope you enjoyed it. We loved it. And I'm sure everyone who's gonna listen is gonna love it because there's so much viral content in this. But thank you so much. I had a great time. And thank you so much. Thank you. Pleasure. And thank you to all the listeners. This is shivan signing off until the next secret and the next storyteller. Bye bye.

Science Behind Viral Marketing with Aashish Chopra


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