Making a Moment: Leveraging the Elusive Edge of Viral Content Marketing
All of us can recall a specific marketing campaign that resonated with us for days after it was viewed. As a result, a specific product or service was likely more familiar the next time that it was encountered. In this day and age, such customer-based recognition is critical if you hope to rise above the flotsam and jetsam often associated with the more generic publicity campaigns. This concept is frequently referred to as viral marketing. In other words, a certain strategy will be able to emotionally captivate the viewer. Let’s take a look at ten methods which can help you create a memorable moment and define your unique brand.
1. Understand the Concept Behind Viral Marketing
Before getting into specifics, it is important to understand what features separate viral content marketing from a run-of-the-mill campaign. Most experts agree that this unique niche produces an emotional response from the viewer. These sentiments can include amazement, curiosity and even uncertainty. Above all, inspirational posts are those which will generate the most interest. The main takeaway point here is that such feelings will ultimately generate intrigue and in turn, the likelihood of engagement is much higher.
2. Never Forget Written Text
We live in a world of flash videos, pop-up advertisements and other eye-catching forms of multimedia. This leads some to believe that the written word has no place within a viral marketing template. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Research has constantly pointed out that the majority of audiences still prefer in-depth articles to supplement any embedded media. The best campaigns include content that is clear, concise and entertaining. This brings us to our next main takeaway point.
3. A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
Although the importance of quality text cannot be overstated, the fact of the matter is that graphical content will immediately grab the attention of the viewer. Examples include:
In order for any of these to go viral, they need to be a bit edgy and approach a familiar topic with a new angle. Humour is always a plus and even presentations that are known for their shock value have been known to produce results. Past examples include the numerous Old Spice commercials starring Terry Crews or a campaign created by LG which was infamous for creating the illusion that the floor of a lift was falling away from unsuspecting riders. Originality and surprise will always breed results.
4. Tell a Story
This method has been used by event coordinators and public speakers for decades. Gaining the attention of your audience is critical and the best way to accomplish this is to tell a story. Of course, we are not referring to a full-length novel or a dissertation. Instead, a short story that can relate back to the product or service (such as the experience of another customer) will help the visitor to identify with the brand. As soon as this sense of personalisation occurs, they are generally much more receptive to what it is that you are promoting.
No, this subheading was not a typo. The term “listicle” is rather new within the world of content marketing and yet, you have likely come across this form of content in the past. Think of a listicle as an article that has been broken down into a bullet point format so that the key ideas can be easily digested. These can also include variants such as a slide show (HubSpot is famous for this approach). Buzzfeed and Cracked are two other examples which have gained prominence. Not only is your audience likely to be entertained, but you will be able to pack more information into a short space while avoiding annoying fluff.
6. Leave Static Viral Content at the Door
The modern online audience is becoming increasingly fickle in terms of what they choose to view. Were you aware that more than 50 per cent of the online community tends to spend 15 seconds or less browsing a webpage before looking elsewhere? Unless your viral content truly shines, it may very well be falling upon deaf ears. This is when the power of interaction comes into play.
Interactive posts are much more likely to generate interest and to keep a visitor on a page until the crux of the content is presented. Whether referring to short questionnaires, point-and-click infographics or even a fun quiz, the simple fact is that this approach will lead to higher rates of engagement.
7. Elicit a Response
The ultimate goal of any type of viral content is to provoke a response from the viewer. This just as true regardless of the type of content that is being presented. Such a response can be classified as being either emotional or intellectual. In a perfect world, you should strive to achieve both. Also, responses do not always have to be positive. Although the warning pictures on a pack of cigarettes are not necessarily pleasant, they undoubtedly evoke a response. Try to base the type of reaction around your product, your mission statement and the audience that you hope to attract.
8. The Downfalls of Clickbait
Before moving on, we should make it a point to emphasise that viral marketing is not associated with clickbait-style content. Clickbait statements and elements that are solely intended to gain inbound hits will alienate your client base and damage your online presence. Black-hat tactics have no place within the modern advertising environment and this strategy will only deflate your efforts in the long run.
9. Take on the Role of the Teacher
“Teachers inspire you, they entertain you, and you end up learning a ton even when you don’t know it”
– Nicholas Sparks
Another great way to go viral is to teach the audience a new trick or skill. Instructables and About.com are two examples of the success that this approach can have. If a visitor begins to associate your content with the ability to solve a problem or make life easier, the chances are high that he or she will be interested in what you have to say.
10. Social Media: Tried and True
This last suggestion should already be obvious. Portals such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great ways to go viral and to reach your audience. However, it is important to diversify even more than ever before. Consider the demographic that you are trying to attract. Incorporating other hubs such as Digg, Reddit or LinkedIn can represent valuable ancillary additions to your current campaign.
Viral marketing should be as interesting and engaging as it is infectious. Always strive to stay one step ahead of the competition by employing these ten suggestions. Of course, success generally does not occur overnight and even ideas that represent a “flash in the pan” will need some fine tuning before they resonate with your audience. Think outside of the box, be daring and above all, seek to adapt to a changing environment.