Creating Contagious Content, Consistently

Earlier today, I 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 folks, 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 me — and I think 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. 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. 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.

Pre-planning — I use a spreadsheet that tracks the subjects I write about, when the copy is to be posted, and what goal for the company blog I’m supporting with the content — is critical for consistently creating contagious content, I think.  I’m not as consistent on this personal blog as I am with my business blog and the content I post on my company’s website.

But I’m 100% certain that if I didn’t have any kind of a schedule at all, and I only posted new content when I had free time, the blogs would be updated a few times a year — certainly not three times a week! 

The order that works for me 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 at work.  No, I don’t spam editors with press releases.  SEO-optimized press releases are an important source of traffic, and there are a number of excellent low-cost options for posting them online.)
  4. A series of 5-7 “tweets” that will be scheduled for the first 48 hours that the content is available. Hashtags and links are a key part of the each tweet, and so is a retweet strategy.
  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.

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.

About debmcalister

I'm a Dallas-based marketing consultant and writer, who specializes in helping start-up technology companies grow. I write (books, articles, and blogs) about marketing, technology, and social media. This blog is about all of those -- and the funny ways in which they interesect with everyday life. It's also the place where I publish general articles on topics that interest me -- including commentary about the acting and film communities, since I have both a son and grandson who are performers.
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