How to Create Contagious Content

by | Nov 15, 2011 | Best Practices, Blog, Blog Archive, Multi-Channel Marketing | 0 comments

Earlier today, Distributed Marketing Blog Editor Deb McAlister-Holland joined  MyPRGenie for a session on the tips and techniques that marketers can use to help content “go viral” – even without a video. It was a huge success, attended by a wide range of PR people, marketers and bloggers who want to be heard and draw traffic without spending a lot.

Usually, the phrase going viral brings to mind videos that score millions of hits overnight.  But the word “viral” just means content that is so contagious that it gets shared far beyond its original audience.  Any kind of content can go viral, and you don’t need millions of viewers to dramatically affect your company.

“For most marketers, quality is more important than quantity.  If my content is attracting the right visitors to my blog and website, I consider the campaign a success,” McAlister-Holland told the audience.  “Who’s the right kind of visitor?  That will vary for every marketer who executes a campaign.  One of the main tips you can use to improve marketing outcomes is to plan your campaigns to deliver information that will attract the right audience for your company.”

Another tip that resonated with the audience is to create at least five things for each piece of content you create – and to create them in a specific order.  McAlister-Holland said, “I write five things for every piece of content, whether it’s a blog post, a white paper, or a presentation for a trade show, and I write them in a specific order.” 

The order she uses is:

  1. A short, catchy headline.  This is the “bait” that attracts my audience, and it’s done first because it’s the most important part.  “I usually use the headline as a key part of email subject lines and calls to action.”
  2. The content itself, starting with an outline that includes my target audience, the key take-away points, and what part of my overall sales and marketing plan I’m supporting with the content.
  3. The press release.  (“Yes, I use a press release for every single piece of content I produce,” McAlister-Holland says. “SEO-optimized online press releases are important in driving traffic to a website or blog, as well as for creating a thought leadership position for executives and companies.”)
  4. A series of 5-7 “tweets” that will be scheduled. Hashtags and links are a key part of the each tweet.
  5. An abstract to use on sites like StumbleUpon to help drive traffic back to the content.  The abstract includes a clear statement of who will be interested in the content, why it’s relevant, and why it’s interesting.

She says that pre-planning is essential to the process of consistently creating contagious content. “I use a spreadsheet that tracks the subjects I write about, when the copy is to be posted, and what objective for the company blog I’m supporting with the content, as well as the promotional tools I plan to use to let my audience know about the content.  

“If I posted new content when I have time, instead of building the time for new content into my schedule, I’m not sure when it would get written,” she adds.  “But I’m sure that it wouldn’t get done  three times a week!”

Key take-aways from the session included:

  • The secret to getting 3,582 clicks from a single tweet sent to 268 followers.  (Hashtags and timing.)
  • The half-life of a link on social media, and how to extend it. (Hours, not days – and extending it is a matter of re-posting and re-purposing.)
  • The best time and day for different kinds of multi-channel marketing. (B2C and B2B marketing “optimum times”, and suggestions for testing the best times for your audience.)
  • Consistent promotion, and a marathon mindset, build long-term success.  (Planning & preparation tips allow you to capitalize when content goes viral.)

If you missed the webinar, you can download the presentation by clicking here.  It’s a PowerPoint presentation with additional data included in the notes page view. You can listen to the complete webinar by clicking here. (Note: This is MyPRGenie’s Google+ page — click on the videos tab to view the recorded webinar and listen to the audio.)