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Igniting Viral Campaigns – Angela’s Perspective

  • By calcoastwebdesign
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  • 19 Aug 2008

Last year got me fired up. I never did do the Mikkel bobble head “What is Love (baby dont hurt me)” animation or the Matt Cutts vs Dane Cook voice over. Man we could have made him say some funny things!

Anyway, it certainly inspired to say the last. Here’s what the panelists had to share this year…

Chris Winfield of 10E20:

What is Viral Marketing?

  • Viral marketing is the spread of information quickly.
  • It’s “word of mouth” marketing but online and “SUPERCHARGED.”
  • It’s essentially a giant conversation online.

Main Components of Viral Marketin:

  • Blogs and Micro blogs – Many of you have been to Technorati blgo directory for blgo sto subscribe to.
  • Social Networking – These are sites with user created profiles like Facebook & Myspace. For those of you with specific niche interests, there are plenty out there as well like MyArtSpace.com for artists.
  • Online Video – See sites like MetaCafe, Break & YouTube.
  • Forums & Groups -To see rankings and analytics type data for forums, visit big-boards.com where you can sort by posts, number of subscribers and much more!
  • Social News & Bookmarking sites – These allow users to list pages they want to save in a more reliable and free space environment rather than using traditional browser bookmarks. This also allows us to SHARE this information with others! See del.icio.us, Stumple Upon, or Digg as examples.

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF GOOD CONTENT FOR THIS VIRAL MARKETING?

  • Lists
  • How To guides
  • Surveys (and “Top” lists derived from surveys)
  • Really comprehensive strong resources that would encourage a “.gov” link to it.
  • Strong Opinion – be careful this may bring the viral attention you don’t want (Wal…ahem…mart).
  • Best Of Lists (Who doesn’t love Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 1,345 😉
  • Calculators & Tools
  • Interesting Video – If you haven’t already, check out Will It Blend
  • Widgets
  • Quizzes & Badges

Some Viral Tips:

  • Have clear goals and objectives
  • Promote great content
  • Contribute to communities to build relationships
  • Make sites work together – POST & PROMOTE
  • Have good hosting. If your server goes down after visit 100 comes on, your in for some angry folks.

Next up…

Justilien Gaspard of Justilien.com

Quick Note: recommending he buy the double”LL” version fo his name. Just winced at the dreaded Server Not Found.

Branding…Buzz….Attract Journalists!

Create a “Sphere of Influence.” Credibility is important. People support things they can trust.

  • Prepare for a launch and then contact them.
  • Develop relationships before your launch
  • Build teams.
  • Send those people content to help them develop and enrich their blogs and such.
  • Collaborate. You scratch my back. Ill scratch yours. What can you offer?

Who?

  • Cartoonists – they already have an audience you can use too!
  • Blogger

How?

  • Contest
  • Interviews
  • Research
  • Find your Brand advocates and offer discounts or deals – Start offering discounts at checkout for an inbound link.
  • If you need to “get in” with one of these people, simply buy space on their blog so you have a reason to call and strike up a conversation.
  • Ask for advise. When someone offers their advise, they may find ownership in it and therefor promote it!
  • Use your clients to help spread! Use email, invoices, customer service reps for ongoing communications
  • Become a Newsletter Sponsor
  • Sponsor a Forum
  • Sponsor A Community Site
  • Sponsor Industry sites
  • Pay for a blogger
  • Banner Adds

Next Up…

Fionn Downhill:

Fun Stats Time!

  • 78% of people trust recommendations from other consumers
  • 7/10 use internet for news
  • TV is losing 1 MM per year
  • Newspaper circulation is down 10% since 01.
  • 97% of journalists find sources online,
  • 79% of journalists find story ideas online
  • 72% of journalists read blogs

Theres no such thing as a viral budget. It can be done for free with a little research, time and creativity. Get to know your users and simply give them what they want!

Basic Elements of Viral Marketing:

  • Free!!!! Giveaway!!!!
  • Effortless transfer to others
  • Scales easily
  • Exploits common motivations & behaviors
  • Utilizes existing communication networks
  • Takes advantage of other resources (Do not use your own server if it cant support a large number of users. So use YouTube for your video and embed folks!)

Some Viral Strategy Examples:

Scott, you;re gonna love this one. Check it out at SEO Rountable
and SES at http://www.searchenginestrategies.com/sanjose/presentations.html (not online yet) for more presentation information 😉

Basic Techniques:

  • Forward to a friend
  • Bookmark
  • News Alert
  • RSS

If you do not already, you must be adding “Add This” widget to all content you wish to be spread./shared. Just go to http://www.addthis.com tpo get the code for social bookmark sharing!

How to Best Utilize YouTube:

  • Set up a branded channel
  • Simple video – be fun & quirky. Thats all it takes.
  • Tell clients & friends
  • Optimize your channel
  • Links from your website
  • Use flip video camera to capture.
  • Use a source like Tube Mogal to track video distribution, subscription and other analytics. Just upload a video and it distributes to channels for you. And then (no and then) oh yes, and then, it tracks and pulls reports. Now theres something to really Yahoo! about.

Measuring Success:

  • RSS & Newsletter Subscription
  • Bookmarks
  • Comments
  • Inbound Links
  • Blogs & forums
  • Referring Sites
  • Tracking Emails
  • Google Alerts

Next up…

Jennifer Laycock with Search Engine guide:

What do we come up with????? Finally, something about how to actually have a concept to run with!

  1. Know Thy Customer – get involved. See what interests them. If you don’t know, you cant deliver.
  2. Be remarkable! Zappos offers free shipping & returns. They told a story of a young woman who’s mother passed away so she couldn’t return her shoes in time with Zappos policy. She called in to customer support and they told her to just put her shoes on the porch in a bag and they would send the postman to pick them p for her return. The next day when she arrived home, she saw not only a delivery man picking up her shoes, but also a delivery man sending flowers with condolences of her mothers death. This obviously created some positive buzz. All it took was a little kindness. Que music…”just try a little tenderness…” So much fun!
  3. Try, try again. – Every process will help you learn a little more about your audience!!

Brainstorming Process:

Okay, I just emailed Jennifer for her outline for the brainstorming process. I will upload that here once I receive so you can download and fill it out and begin YOUR viral campaign ASAP!

Start brainstorming here with these initial questions I was able to catch….

  1. What do customers LOVE about you?
  2. What do customers NOT LIKE about you?
  3. What is your and your customer’s BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
  4. What sparks ONLINE CONVERSATION?
  5. Can you do outrageous?
  6. Can you do hilarious?
  7. Can you do scary?
  8. Do you have a holiday connection
  9. Can yo make the “mostest” of something? – the biggest, best, etc.
  10. What do you wish people said about you?
  11. How do you feel about creating or embracing controversy?
  12. Do you have an underdog story?
  13. Are you connected to a news story?
  14. What sends people to your site?
  15. What motivates your user? Price? Customer Service?

Now ask yourself, What Are My Capabilities?

  1. Flash Games?
  2. Videos?
  3. Widgets?
  4. Skilled Writer?
  5. Skilled Researcher?
  6. Skilled Humorist?
  7. Email List?
  8. Partner with Non Profit?

Be sure to understand your costs. Know your budget and your “break even point.” Do not make a promise you cant deliver unless you are looking for the bad press.

When you Launch:

  1. Pitch it
  2. Post it to your blog
  3. Submit to media sites
  4. RSS feeder
  5. Use your established relationships

Pitch Checklist before You Pitch Someone to Help You Launch:

  1. Read at least 5 posts on their site
  2. Comment on 1 or 2 of their blogs and bookmark one of them on a social network like stumble upon or Digg.
  3. May sure your pitch has 1 to 2 unique sentences to the “pitchee.”
  4. Have 1 or 2 people read your email before sending.
  5. Contact them via phone or email a few eeks before the pitch.
  6. Keep track of the sites you pitch.

Must DO…

  1. Call pitch person by name
  2. Use the right email (not info@ or support@ – go get their email address)
  3. No mass emails
  4. Be completely transparent (do not tell them who you work for)
  5. Spell check
  6. Familiarize yourself with their readers
  7. Ensure your pitch is relative to their readers
  8. Let them know if you are pitching to multiple workers within their company. Do not waste anyones time.

What the next step?

Print and pass out your brainstorming sheet to all friends, family, employees or anyone willing and then begin gathering thoughts independently!

What are your customers craving? What are they talking about? Where are they talking? What do they respond to? What resources can you tap into for something spectacular? Post your wish list below!

Be the first to respond to this blog with “Lets go viral” and get a free custom Viral Brainstorming Session.

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