If you’re like other motivated entrepreneurs, viral marketing plays an important role in your marketing strategy. Viral marketing, when successful, has the ability to skyrocket awareness and profits.
What Is Viral Marketing?
Viral marketing is content that’s captured the attention of the mainstream consumer. It’s content that people bookmark, forward, post on social networking sites and link to. Viral content has the ability to spread from one corner of the globe to the other. It spreads like a virus and can change a business overnight.
Nine Top Viral Marketing Tactics
First, let’s be clear. Viral marketing is content marketing. However, when you’re creating your content, your goal broadens. You want to offer value to your prospects and customers. However, you also want to go beyond offering basic value. You want the content to be so compelling that it goes viral. There are several types of content that can help you reach your viral marketing goals.
#1 Lists – People love lists. In fact there are many popular books that are nothing more than a long list. For example 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. This book was a big seller and was nothing more than a long, and perhaps humorous, list. Lists are easily downloaded and shared, and they’re often linked to. They make great viral content. Think about your audience and the value they’re seeking. What lists can you provide that might go viral?
#2 Quizzes – Ever notice that just about every magazine has some sort of quiz inside? That’s because people like their content to be interactive. Quizzes offer the opportunity to learn something about yourself or reinforce something you know about yourself. They also allow you to interact. Quizzes, like lists, can be funny, interesting and informative for the user or interesting and informative for you. You can use a quiz to learn more about your prospects and customers.
#3 Tools – Tools are things people can use. One great example of a tool might be an iPod application or a downloadable worksheet. A tool is also something that makes your prospect’s life easier. It offers value.
#4 Video – Video may be the most popular type of viral content. Most often the videos that go viral are funny, but they can also be informative or heart wrenching. Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture is an example of a viral video that is heart breaking and inspirational at the same time. Explore your audience’s needs and preferences and then brainstorm ideas for a video.
#5 Images – Photos and cartoons are common viral images. They can capture an idea, make people laugh, or inspire them to take action.
#6 “How to” content – When it comes to standard content forms, it doesn’t get better than the “How To”. Your “How To” content can be video, audio, or print – whatever your audience responds to.
#7 Funny story (or meaningful/touching story) – Humor tends to be the most popular type of viral content found online. However, a touching story, life lesson, or an inspirational story also spreads quickly. If you have a story to share, craft it well, make it public and then share.
#8 Controversy – Loud opinions about situations always stir up a controversy. Many people will want to weigh in and share their opinion too. Reports are a great way to create viral marketing content that’s controversial. Blog posts work quite well too because they provide people with a format to respond. One way to capitalize on controversy is to create a free report, promote it and discuss it on your blog. This way you’re reaching your audience quickly and the viral report will spread quickly.
#9 Sweepstakes, contests and giveaways – Finally, the last type of content that can easily go viral is a contest or sweepstakes. This is because everyone likes to get something for free and everyone likes to win. The bigger the prize, the more quickly word will spread. For example, if you’re giving away an iPad on your blog, you’ll likely gain a ton of traffic. People will be linking to your blog and there will be quite a commotion. Give away a free report and you’re not going to have as much activity. The key to capitalizing on this type of viral content is to build your opt-in list at the same time.
Creating viral content is the first step to a successful campaign. You’ll also want to integrate it into your overall marketing strategy. Use every tool available to get the word out quickly.