How to Make Content Go Viral – Land on the Mars

photo courtesy http://www.nasa.gov

photo courtesy http://www.nasa.gov

With all due respect to the author, this article on How To Make Content go Viral  answers the question with one example of a large company that does a good job using viral marketing in a fairly common way. Linkedin was able to raise awareness by sending out information to current users about their ranking on the network. In truth this is a “feel good tactic” that most social networks use from time to time.

The second example (couldn’t you think of anything else?) simply tells of a news worthy event (by definition information that should go viral) the landing of the Mars Rover and how Mars candy was caught off guard by the sudden interest in Mars candy. Umm…that happens all the time, when a news event brings to mind a brand, searches for the brand go up.

What most brands really want to know is how to create content that spontaneously goes viral with little to no investment on their part. Cheap Marketing. A Low Cost Publicity Stunt. Something For Nothing.

But…usually, sorry to say: You Get What You Pay For.

We all have heard stories of the surprise hits – from low budget movies that become blockbusters to bloggers who get book deals to Twitter accounts that end up on screen. Those are the outliers and as is usual, as little exploration of the backstory usually reveals lots of hard work, some seriously good connections and a little bit of luck.

The real story of how things go viral in the second decade of the 21st century is truly a story of calculated planning, good PR strategy and judicious use of budget. The spaghetti approach to churning out fun and whimsical content and waiting for someone to notice has its drawbacks –most importantly – the other 3.66 billion other web pages out there, each with multiple pieces of their own content! Kinda tough to get noticed.

The better approach for most brands is to create a mini wave in your own pond. It’s not free, but it’s more likely to get noticed by exactly the consumers you want to see it.  Creating good, solid and fun content is the first step, of course. But from there it’s all money and expertise. Reaching out to a limited number of brand advocates with strong social connections in an exciting and personal way and compensating them for their efforts can drive the exact traffic you want to your content and ultimately to your brand.

And that’s really what you want anyway, right?

headshot newMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing. Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin

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Success and Fun with User Generated Content

UGC is such a techy sounding term for asking fans to send in what makes them love your brand. (UGC) User Generated Content, at its core is people sharing their personal stories.

Mashable’s story today on UGC, concentrated on fashion brands, with a CPG, feel good campaign thrown in as well, but some of the real opportunities are for food brands, though, most every B2C brand can benefit.

User generated content, is tapping into the vast number of users of your product and letting them share how they use it. Trust me, they’ll think of ways you never even considered!

Here’s an example of a program we ran on Pinterest for Avocados from Mexico to generate recipe ideas. I would have thought of avocado chiffon pie?

 

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And consider The Pillsbury back-off – probably the first large scale example of UGC

pillsbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key to a successful UGC campaign in the social world is 360 integration. Create your campaign. Be creative and integrate as many of your social sites into the program as possible. Have a sharing option on Instagram; enter through Facebook; encourage photos and video on Twitter.

User generated Content stretches your marketing budget, drives organic traffic to your website and engages your fans. Yes, there are a number of legal hurdles, easy to address once you know the ropes. And coming up with a creative idea in a noise filled social media space can be challenging, but reaching out to fans is an easy way to accomplish two goals at once – engagement and content – UGC-E?

 

headshot newMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Digital and Partner Digital Strategy with 4GreenPs. She loves to create  content and read content that other people create.

Caught Creating Branded Content

I wasn’t surprised to read today about the real need for content creation. According  to Outsource Success: Brands Re-Up Content Marketing  the vast majority – almost 80% of brands are rapidly shifting into branded content.

Since content, especially well crafted and on target can be used across multiple channels and properties, the need is clear. In a “conversation” versus a “one to many” world, more and more content needs to be created in the specific way that allows it to be used on multiple levels in many different ways.

The content creation “time-suck” increasingly obvious to even the most newly created social media team, seems destined to drive outsourcing to teams of content creators well versed in multiple ways to create and use content. It’s a unique way of thinking.

When we create content, we, perhaps after all of these years, think globally and write globally. How can we translate this into a Facebook post? How does this headline work on Twitter? Is the SEO strong? What parts would work well on Pinterest? Is there a graphic element I can include How do readers use this type of content? How will they share it?

The explosion in content has whipsawed we web writers from crafting long thoughtful pieces of self expression to cramming key words into a framework of a thought back to carefully selected word-smithing for selected audiences. It’s been a heady ride.

In times like these, I thank my parents for ensuring that I was both a voracious and eclectic reader. Voice, tone and experience  drive engagement – connect with the intended audience on their level and in the way they want to use your content and engagement explodes. So, reading People, Gourmet, Kiwi and National Geographic Kids, along with Malcolm Gladwell and Hemingway and Austin with a dollop of  CNET, WSJ and Yoga Journal thrown in, may make my more literary minded friends laugh, but make my job easier!

 Maryanne Conlin, CEO of RedRopesDigital likes browsing the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble.