Content marketing – taking your business from zero to viral

by Promotoon August 21, 2015

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor.  Content marketing copies his wisdom, taking your expert knowledge and sharing it to your needy customers. Since Wikipedia is a *ahem* great source of information and it got me through University, let’s use their definition of content marketing:

Any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers.

Blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, memes and tutorials are all forms of content marketing.  You’re giving your knowledge or opinion about a topic that will hopefully entertain or educate someone. The goal?  They tell a friend about it, who shares it with their colleagues, who are directed to your website which now receives 100 new hits.  You now have visitors who are exposed to your business, with the potential to become your customers because they now respect you for the insights you have provided.  

You haven’t asked for anything, you gave it away for free.  

The power of reciprocity then comes into play. Robert Cialdini has conducted extensive studies on this phenomenon and his book, The Science of Influence is well worth a read.  It simply suggests that if you do something for someone, regardless of your intention, that person will feel ‘they owe you one’.  That’s pretty powerful stuff when you consider your blog post has the potential to change someone’s life (business or personal) and they feel the need to repay you for it.

That’s the idea.  Now what do you need to create?

Write a lot and make it interesting

If you are writing, make it long!  As a minimum, you have to be writing over 1,000 words otherwise don’t bother.  There is 16 times more content written that has fewer than 1,000 words, than content that is written with more than 2000+ words. So why fight over the little fish?  People want to share intellectually challenging content which challenges the status quo and gives a new perspective.  

Use images

When you’re putting your blog together, make sure you put at least one photo in there.  People are visual beings and they tend to share far more when they have something to see. 

Keep it upbeat

Last but not least, put some happiness into your writing. No one likes reading sad stuff and they don’t share it either so don’t waste your time.  The people that share depressing posts are the kind of people we un-follow so you don’t have to see their miserable cr*p anymore. Happy thoughts people!

Making a podcast?

Digg wrote an amazing article titled “Why Audio never goes viral”.  My main take-away from this was that people listen to ‘audio’ when they are doing something else such as driving or running whereas watching a video of a giraffe speaking French – well, you need full and undivided attention for that!  Nevertheless, having a podcast is a sensational way to develop a loyal following.  The amount of times I will tell people to listen to a Tim Ferriss podcast is crazy!

P.S I highly recommend Tim’s podcast.

Anyway, if you’re going to make a podcast, it has to be about something you absolutely love.  Something you could talk about for hours on end, but manage to condense into something that is utterly mind-blowing.

Video it!

Video is something that you need to put some serious effort in to. Regardless of whether it’s you in front of the camera, or an animated video – it all takes time and money.  In saying that, if video creation is done correctly, the results can be huge!  

Have a look at a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk.  He is an internet personality who grew his family wine business from $3m to $50m in only a few years.  He accomplished this feat primarily using video to create Wine Library TV.  He then used an extremely loyal following to rapidly grow his business.  Gary wrote a book titled “Crush It”, where he introduced the concept of ‘sweat equity’.  Sweat equity encourages the idea that all a business needs is to put some blood, sweat and tears into creating great content and they can achieve phenomenal success.

Have a read of Medium’s post here on making videos go viral.  The guys break down the best way to give your video the highest chance of virality.  The strategies are great, but always remember the best way to create a following is by giving your audience something they haven’t seen before, or if they have seen it, do it better. Make them laugh, educate them, pull at the heart strings.  Then keep doing it to keep them coming back.

Rinse and repeat

As much as people like to fantasize about their business going viral, it’s really hard to do.  There are so many people trying to do the same thing as you but if you can follow a strategic, data-backed plan, you’re giving yourself the best chance of going viral.  Make sure you read the article by Noah Kagan here and follow in the footsteps of other successful content.  

If you’ve got any other methods and tricks that you know are successful, post them in the comments for us to read.  If you know anyone trying to take their business to the next-level, share this article and help a brother out!

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