#HallelujahChallenge: The 30-Hour Vigil We Will Be Talking About All Year.

CATEGORY: Communication | Social Media | Strategy | Technology

Nigerians have recently found a new answer to the question “What do you really use your data for?”

As at 12:49 am on June 12, 2017, a staggering 50,000 people were hooked up to Nathaniel Bassey’s #HallelujahChallenge – a 1-hour long, nightly Instagram Live praise session billed to run from June 1 to June 30, 2017. It’s gotten everyone’s attention. By the night of June 10th, the live stream pulled in 31,000 people from around the world. From celebrities to regular people alike, Mr. Bassey’s campaign – if one can call it that – is doing the largest numbers in the land.

Some are calling it a growth hack of epic proportions (Twitter, eh?).
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While that term aptly describes the phenomenon, you get the feeling that the growth hack was inadvertent on Mr. Bassey’s part. But, at the risk of oversimplifying what, to many, is a hallowed experience, this is content marketing at its absolute best. Fill a channel with delicious content aimed at a particular TA and watch them – and their friends – swarm towards it, like sharks towards the scent of blood.

So why did #HallelujahChallenge blow?


Name recognition and craft

Copyright nathanielbassey.net
Copyright nathanielbassey.net

Chances are, if you’ve attended a contemporary Nigerian church service for at least 3 consecutive Sundays, at least one of the worship songs you have sung along to would have been written by him. He is almost unmatched in his genre and he is basically a household name in many parts. So, we have the first element down to that: name recognition.

Secondly, there’s the accessibility factor.

You can create compelling content and still fail at getting sufficient eyeballs if it’s tucked away in a complicated channel that makes accessibility a struggle. The Hallelujah Challenge is happening on Instagram – where literally 140k fans are eager to connect with him.

Religion is opium on crack for Nigerians

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Religion is one of Nigeria’s strongest passion points. Connecting to internet users on the back of such a strong passion point is bound to blow. House on the Rock Church’s “The Experience” Concert blows every year, and #HOTRService tops the Twitter trends charts almost every Sunday.


But by far the most important piece that ties everything together is the quality of content he is creating. It is compelling enough that many, many people are staying up at night to lap it up and participate – instead of watching Netflix or porn. This phenomenon began in May when he organized the #OneHourTongueChallenge – a midnight, 1-hour praying in tongues exercise for 30 days. The #HalleluyahChallenge is riding on the success of that campaign and overcutting it by a long stretch. Obviously, not everyone can (or wants to) pray in tongues, but almost everyone can participate in a music powered session.

It has been hailed as an Instagram revival, and maybe it is exactly that. Plus it has successfully trumped the numbers of most church online service views with little effort, less service apparatus, and almost no financial implication, save for data.

So once again, less is more. But from the point of view of a content marketer, it is content marketing gold. And, with the way the campaign is snowballing, the number of people who join in may swell much yet.

Top marks for predicting exactly when (not if) subscription numbers will hit 200k (Facebook has already passed the 100k mark).


Header image credit: YNaija