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Creating Contagious Content
Psychology of Going Viral Online
The inner fire is the
most important thing
mankind possesses.
Edith Sodergran
This is the story of how my friend, Keith Anderson. Keith was greatly helped when a
piece of content I wrote went viral on...
Keith has a wife, Julie, and two daughters. In this picture, they are enjoying a
holiday break one year before a traumatic...
One year later, Keith would be diagnosed with pancreatitis, which is severe
inflammation of the pancreas. It is very painf...
My friend would undergo four surgeries. He was hooked up to a dialysis machine.
Keith was put into drug-induced coma for o...
I thought of his family. I needed to do something. I asked Julie how they were
doing financially. She said, “Ok.” But, I k...
I wrote a blog article asking the community to help out Keith’s family.
I posted the article on the day before Thanksgiving, which is also known as
Travel Day in America. People are traveling to...
We raised one-thousand dollars. I had asked for 1,500 originally.
$1,000
I expected less on Thanksgiving Day. People were with family.
$2,000
Black Friday. People would be shopping?
$3,000
Cyber Monday. Online Deals? People
still shopping?
$5,000
In the end, we kept raising money….
$25,000
The Importance of
Contagious Content
Brian Sullivan.
@BrianKSullivan
@bigdesign
Hi, my name is
#viral
Design Strategy & Execution
Run 3 start of the art UX testing facilities at a major software firm.
Founded Dallas UX Group
Over 1,100 people in the group. We meet monthly.
I founded Big Design Conference in 2008.
September 4-6, 2014
Industry Speaker
User Guides
Cover Articles
500+ Blog Posts
#1 Slides from SxSW 2013
The coolest thing I have ever written was about Keith Anderson.
What Makes
Content Contagious?
I wanted to know why this piece of content went viral. So, I read
Contagious and Made to Stick.
Contagious by Jonah Berger helped me to understand the
reasons for the content going viral.
Sharable information
to make us feel good
to those in our circle.
Social currency was a personal value
(sense of belonging and helping out).
Sights, sounds and
stimuli that reminds
us to share.
Rebecca Black’s “Friday”
Voted worst song of all time.
69 Million Views on You Tube
The natural trigger was to go there each Friday.
Trigger may have been the family picture
(sent on day before Thanksgiving).
When we care, we
share. Arousal leads
people to take action.
730 million views on You Tube
Charlie Bit My Finger
Emotions are Contagious
Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion
Seven Most Viral Emotions
1. Awe
2. Anger
3. Anxiety
4. Fear
5. Joy
6. Lust
7. Surprise
Do Not Create a Call to Action
Create a Call to Passion
Emotions were fear, anxiety, and surprise.
When donating, love, serenity, and optimism.
Content is built to
show and grow in a
public way.
Men grew moustaches in November to show
support for cancer research at a site.
Mou-Vember
1. Mortgage payment in November.
2. Christmas presents in December.
Two Concrete Goals
Behavioral Residue:
Social deposits of our
own personality.
Behavioral residue for the public came in many
different forms. More public, more viral.
Approver
Commenter
Reporter
Broadcaster
Believer
Fan
News people can use
or something with a
concrete value.
People Helping People
Shucking Corn Easily
Ken Craig, 86 years old, created a video with
over 10 million views. He does not have email.
1. Mortgage payment in November.
2. Christmas presents in December.
Two Concrete Goals
While there was no practical value, we certainly
had concrete values people understood.
Everyone loves a good
story. You love to hear,
tell, and share stories.
The Story of The Trojan Horse
The Story of Jared Fogle
The Story of Mean Joe Greene
The Story of Keith’s Family
Stories are more
trustworthy than ads.
Just the Story, Ma’am!
Stories are 22 times more memorable than facts.
Stories are more
trustworthy than facts.
The story talked about Keith’s situation, but it
also talked about his wife and daughters.
Lightening Strikes
Twice, Sometimes
#1 Slides from SxSW 2013
Spoke on Sunday
Daylight Saving Day
On Slideshare Home Page
30,000 Views
131,000 Views
226,000 Views
Lightening Strikes a
Third Time, Too
Molly Holzschlag
"If Tim Berners-Lee is
the father of the Web,
than Molly Holzschlag
is its fairy godmother."•
She Ended the Browser Wars
Molly Founded W3C
Molly Has Liver Cancer
Raised $67,000, So Far
Original goal was $10,000. It went viral. I told
the group that we would hit $75,000 eventually.
Some Final Thoughts
Create a Call to Passion
The inner fire is the
most important thing
mankind possesses.
Edith Sodergran
Create Contagious Content
Make a Difference, Be Different!!!
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
Contagious Content: Going Viral Online
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Contagious Content: Going Viral Online

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You can create contagious content, if you understand what make things go viral online. In this presentation, I will share three stories I wrote that went viral online. I will share some secrets I learned along the way, too.

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  • My name is Brian Sullivan. I got interested in Leonardo Da Vinci about 10 years ago.
  • My name is Brian Sullivan. I got interested in Leonardo Da Vinci about 10 years ago.
  • My name is Brian Sullivan. I got interested in Leonardo Da Vinci about 10 years ago.
  • My friends and I started the Big Design Conference in 2009.
  • My name is Brian Sullivan. I got interested in Leonardo Da Vinci about 10 years ago.
  • My name is Brian Sullivan. I got interested in Leonardo Da Vinci about 10 years ago.
  • Transcript of "Contagious Content: Going Viral Online"

    1. 1. Creating Contagious Content Psychology of Going Viral Online
    2. 2. The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses. Edith Sodergran
    3. 3. This is the story of how my friend, Keith Anderson. Keith was greatly helped when a piece of content I wrote went viral online.
    4. 4. Keith has a wife, Julie, and two daughters. In this picture, they are enjoying a holiday break one year before a traumatic event affected all their lives.
    5. 5. One year later, Keith would be diagnosed with pancreatitis, which is severe inflammation of the pancreas. It is very painful, like having a heart attack.
    6. 6. My friend would undergo four surgeries. He was hooked up to a dialysis machine. Keith was put into drug-induced coma for over a month. He gained 100 pounds of water weight. He lungs were filling up with water (at one point).
    7. 7. I thought of his family. I needed to do something. I asked Julie how they were doing financially. She said, “Ok.” But, I knew better. So, I did something about it.
    8. 8. I wrote a blog article asking the community to help out Keith’s family.
    9. 9. I posted the article on the day before Thanksgiving, which is also known as Travel Day in America. People are traveling to see family. I expected a tepid response.
    10. 10. We raised one-thousand dollars. I had asked for 1,500 originally. $1,000
    11. 11. I expected less on Thanksgiving Day. People were with family.
    12. 12. $2,000
    13. 13. Black Friday. People would be shopping?
    14. 14. $3,000
    15. 15. Cyber Monday. Online Deals? People still shopping?
    16. 16. $5,000
    17. 17. In the end, we kept raising money….
    18. 18. $25,000
    19. 19. The Importance of Contagious Content
    20. 20. Brian Sullivan. @BrianKSullivan @bigdesign Hi, my name is #viral
    21. 21. Design Strategy & Execution Run 3 start of the art UX testing facilities at a major software firm.
    22. 22. Founded Dallas UX Group Over 1,100 people in the group. We meet monthly.
    23. 23. I founded Big Design Conference in 2008. September 4-6, 2014
    24. 24. Industry Speaker
    25. 25. User Guides
    26. 26. Cover Articles
    27. 27. 500+ Blog Posts
    28. 28. #1 Slides from SxSW 2013
    29. 29. The coolest thing I have ever written was about Keith Anderson.
    30. 30. What Makes Content Contagious?
    31. 31. I wanted to know why this piece of content went viral. So, I read Contagious and Made to Stick.
    32. 32. Contagious by Jonah Berger helped me to understand the reasons for the content going viral.
    33. 33. Sharable information to make us feel good to those in our circle.
    34. 34. Social currency was a personal value (sense of belonging and helping out).
    35. 35. Sights, sounds and stimuli that reminds us to share.
    36. 36. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” Voted worst song of all time.
    37. 37. 69 Million Views on You Tube
    38. 38. The natural trigger was to go there each Friday.
    39. 39. Trigger may have been the family picture (sent on day before Thanksgiving).
    40. 40. When we care, we share. Arousal leads people to take action.
    41. 41. 730 million views on You Tube Charlie Bit My Finger
    42. 42. Emotions are Contagious
    43. 43. Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion
    44. 44. Seven Most Viral Emotions 1. Awe 2. Anger 3. Anxiety 4. Fear 5. Joy 6. Lust 7. Surprise
    45. 45. Do Not Create a Call to Action
    46. 46. Create a Call to Passion
    47. 47. Emotions were fear, anxiety, and surprise. When donating, love, serenity, and optimism.
    48. 48. Content is built to show and grow in a public way.
    49. 49. Men grew moustaches in November to show support for cancer research at a site. Mou-Vember
    50. 50. 1. Mortgage payment in November. 2. Christmas presents in December. Two Concrete Goals
    51. 51. Behavioral Residue: Social deposits of our own personality.
    52. 52. Behavioral residue for the public came in many different forms. More public, more viral.
    53. 53. Approver
    54. 54. Commenter
    55. 55. Reporter
    56. 56. Broadcaster
    57. 57. Believer
    58. 58. Fan
    59. 59. News people can use or something with a concrete value.
    60. 60. People Helping People
    61. 61. Shucking Corn Easily Ken Craig, 86 years old, created a video with over 10 million views. He does not have email.
    62. 62. 1. Mortgage payment in November. 2. Christmas presents in December. Two Concrete Goals
    63. 63. While there was no practical value, we certainly had concrete values people understood.
    64. 64. Everyone loves a good story. You love to hear, tell, and share stories.
    65. 65. The Story of The Trojan Horse
    66. 66. The Story of Jared Fogle
    67. 67. The Story of Mean Joe Greene
    68. 68. The Story of Keith’s Family
    69. 69. Stories are more trustworthy than ads.
    70. 70. Just the Story, Ma’am! Stories are 22 times more memorable than facts.
    71. 71. Stories are more trustworthy than facts.
    72. 72. The story talked about Keith’s situation, but it also talked about his wife and daughters.
    73. 73. Lightening Strikes Twice, Sometimes
    74. 74. #1 Slides from SxSW 2013
    75. 75. Spoke on Sunday
    76. 76. Daylight Saving Day
    77. 77. On Slideshare Home Page
    78. 78. 30,000 Views
    79. 79. 131,000 Views
    80. 80. 226,000 Views
    81. 81. Lightening Strikes a Third Time, Too
    82. 82. Molly Holzschlag
    83. 83. "If Tim Berners-Lee is the father of the Web, than Molly Holzschlag is its fairy godmother."•
    84. 84. She Ended the Browser Wars
    85. 85. Molly Founded W3C
    86. 86. Molly Has Liver Cancer
    87. 87. Raised $67,000, So Far Original goal was $10,000. It went viral. I told the group that we would hit $75,000 eventually.
    88. 88. Some Final Thoughts
    89. 89. Create a Call to Passion
    90. 90. The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses. Edith Sodergran
    91. 91. Create Contagious Content Make a Difference, Be Different!!!
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