true life: I made viral content (and how you can, too!)
After this year’s Enterprise Network Annual Conference, where I spoke about “Building and Operating a Content Marketing Machine,” I was able to see firsthand the power that producing great content can have on a brand. Implementing a piece of the machine myself, I was able to see what “viral” content could do for my own blog, as my online content was published offline for the first time in a new magazine. I’m still rather shocked at all of it to be honest. The content was pretty easy to produce and even more interesting to evaluate why it did so well. So this is my story.
I call it my “easy viral” content strategy and you can make it, too!
While I know creating “viral” content is never easy, this particular piece of content was (okay, I’m probably not giving myself enough credit here). It wasn’t “easy” in every aspect of the process. I mean, I grew to know my audience, produced content that would resonate with them and executed it very well. But if you look at it from these two aspects you might see where the “easy” part comes in:
1.) It wasn’t an original idea/project
2.) It wasn’t the first blog post about this idea/project
I created it over a year ago now and, all in all, it’s produced more traffic and links to my blog than anything else I’ve posted. To this day this post has seen 351,617 page views, 3,863 pins on Pinterest, approximately 84 links, 462 Facebook shares, 134 Facebook “likes” and 21 Tweets (Pinterest is obviously my social network!). Even better, now it’s been published on the new “Make it Yourself” magazine by Better Homes & Gardens!
So why has this silly little t-shirt scarf received so much attention?
When it comes to producing great content, sometimes it’s all in the presentation. This DIY t-shirt scarf is a project that has been executed on several other craft blogs across the world. The main difference between my blog post and theirs was that most of them had really bad photography (which makes teaching someone how to make something online much more difficult). Their images lacked a certain emotional element to them and some just had really bad instructions.
I guess I saw an opportunity in the craft blogging world. I bought a nice camera a while back and have continuously been teaching myself new Photoshop skills. Pinterest became my best friend and the photo below began to spread like crazy.
The strategy of “better photography” worked really well for my blog, but obviously that might not be the ticket for yours. A relevant strategy for a craft blog is not always going to be relevant for your industry. I mean let’s face it, not everyone is going to have the crafty-mommy-bloggers as their “competition” (if you will). But it just means you’ll have to think bigger when it comes to executing your own “easy viral” content and finding similar opportunities in your niche.
How to make your own “easy viral” content
1.) Recycle what you know or what’s already been done – and DO IT BETTER!
Look for opportunities for improvement in your industry – whether that means content itself or products and services offered. With content, often times if you search around enough you’ll find great content ideas that weren’t executed very well. Take that content and add value to it, update it and bring it to life!
How can you add expertise to a subject that your fellow blogger couldn’t? Perhaps you can put a different spin on it. Would that piece of content be better suited as a video or infographic? What if you added your own data to it and give it some gusto?!
“The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal” -Picasso
If you “do it better” and be the industry leader for your products and services, that can bring in plenty of attention (and links)! What is it that no one else is doing or offering in your space? Look deep into your industry for opportunities and try to find some of the pain points that your customers have.
What would make your products and services better? What processes do customers seem to get caught up on? Warby Parker overcame their industry’s pain points with their home try on eyeglasses. This allowed consumers to, not only buy cheap and trendy glasses, but to have the ability to show their friends and get their opinions for 5 days before they returned them. While Warby Parker wasn’t necessarily the first company to do this (that’s up for debate), they incorporated a brilliant social media strategy and was definitely “doing it better” than anybody else in the market. They practically changed their industry!
Try comparing your industry to another industry completely. What business models do they use that you could bring into your own?
2.) Strike EMOTION in your reader!
Anyone can show someone how to do something or show them how a product and service will benefit them, but you’ll have a much easier time selling to them if you make them feel something. Tell a story with your content and bring in those personal touches.
Using great photography or video is a great way to strike emotion in your audience, while effectively conveying your message. Can you imagine if the real estate industry took a basic “virtual tour” video concept and instead walked the viewer through a property the Beet Cake way? Show home buyers what it’s like to live in that property rather than focusing on the number of beds and baths it has. Show real people entertaining friends in the home or relaxing on the patio. Walk viewers through the neighborhood spotlighting the nearby restaurants and parks…
Better yet, dog parks…
3.) Get your content in front of an INFLUENCER!
This isn’t a new concept at all, but in the case of my “easy viral” t-shirt scarf it’s the move that put my blog on the map. I was able to get my content re-published on Craftgawker.com which put me in front of very large audience in my niche. This generated so much traffic in one day I was having a heart attack! One influencer caused me to have a chain reaction of other bloggers finding my content, re-publishing it, sharing and linking to it. In one day my blog traffic changed forever:
When you hear about finding the “influencers in your space” it’s no joke! They make it all happen for you until one day you’re considered an influencer yourself! Find them, stalk them and build relationships with them. Get your own guest post! #ItWorks