Viral on TikTok! Our first video got 600k views WTF?

I’ve been creating content online for over 15 years. Hundreds of blog posts, 6 books, hundreds of podcasts, loads of videos, 10,000+ posts on social media and I still struggle to create content that grabs people’s attention. The best I’ve done is a few thousand views on an article or a podcast episode. I’ve also felt with the changes in platforms and a move towards video, I’m being left behind and my skills are not as relevant as they once were.

But this week, in a somewhat hilarious turn of events, that all changed.

My partner Erin and I love cooking – to be more precise she loves cooking and I love it when she cooks. We thought it would be fun to start doing cooking videos so we did one on my TikTok and Instagram account. I’ve got an old TikTok account but I haven’t posted much on there. I have 355 followers. I have over 8,000 on IG but I don’t get that much engagement on there. We did a video making Big Mac Taco things which was a bit of a viral TikTok trend, and the video got 5,000 views on TikTok and 3,000 on IG. I normally get a few hundred views, so we were pretty blown away by this, and encouraged!

As a bit of a joke on the weekend we decided to create a shared Instagram and TikTok account and make another video so @cookwithderin TikTok and Instagram was born. We made a video making an upside down pastry pizza thing and uploaded it. I was actually thinking I should just put it on my TikTok account since I already had 300 followers and our fresh account had 0. But in the end I figured we might do more and it probably made more sense to start a fresh one.

The video is below:


Upside down pepperoni pastry pizza 🍕 – so damn good

♬ original sound – derincooks

We went to sleep not thinking too much about it and in the morning Erin checked and we had 40,000 views! We pissed ourselves laughing blown away that we had so many views. And we had 100 followers on the new account!

Stats after less than 2 days

That was yesterday. By today we’d racked up the following stats:

  • 600,000+ views
  • 32,000+ likes
  • 8,000+ shares
  • 11,000+ favourites
  • 550+ comments.
  • Our new account had gone from zero to over 2,200 followers.

On top of that, we’d been offered our first sponsorship deal (free condiments to cook with).

Never in my life have I had a piece of content get so much traction online, not even close. It blew my mind. I’ve laughed so many times in the last 24 hours my jaw hurts.

As funny and unexpected as it is, I do think it’s pretty cool and I’ve taken a few lessons from it:

  • It’s been a while since I’ve created content that got a lot of traction and it reminded me that it feels good. It’s a good reminder that something like this can be very motivating and a good reason to keep creating.
  • We’ve had some really encouraging comments, so many people saying they loved it and we should do more. It’s a nice reminder of how encouraging that can be so I’ve taken a note to encourage other people more. I know the feeling of creating content over and over and over again and getting no traction, creators need encouragement!
  • I’ve always told myself I suck at video and that attitude probably hasn’t served me that well. Maybe I just needed the right collaborator and the right kind of content idea and timing (Erin is the best). But in any case, I know I can create videos now that does well, so that might help change my attitude a bit.
  • The TikTok algorithm is a game changer. I have 8,600 followers on my Instagram, I normally get a few hundred views on videos, on rare occasions a few thousand. This account had zero followers when we posted the video and the algorithm was smart enough to get this in front of over half a million people – hundreds of thousands of people who liked it. Amazing. At the time of writing the video only has 150 views on Instagram and the Instagram account had more followers than the TikTok account did when we posted it.
  • With content I think a lot of people struggle to take the first step which is to just ship stuff. Try different things, don’t be afraid to hit publish. I produce most of my content assuming it will go relatively unnoticed but I still publish it. Most of the time the content fails, but the attitude to keep going is a good one, and results like this are a great reminder.

Who knows where this will go, it could definitely be a one off viral moment, but we’re keen to create more and see what happens. If you are keen to follow the progress follow @cookwithderin on TikTok, or @cookwithderin on Instagram.

Make sure you’re on my weekly email list to follow on. I also have a very loose idea of how to turn some content like this into a business so jump on here and I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

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