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How to Make Content Go Viral by Morgan Quinn - FinCon '14

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How do you make content go viral? Attention-grabbing headlines and SEO-friendly text are good places to start, but If content is truly going to go viral, you have to have a highly-engaged audience and you have to give them the content they want.

But what do readers want? The first question really should be, "What do I have to offer them?" And it all boils down to your brand purpose.

In this presentation, I provide a brand pillars exercise that will help you define your brand purpose and build your content strategy. I also provide an example of what the brand pillars might look like for Mint.com, where I served as the Managing Editor and Social Media Manager.

This is everything you need to develop a rock-solid content strategy that keeps your readers coming back for more.

Published in: Marketing
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How to Make Content Go Viral by Morgan Quinn - FinCon '14

  1. How To Make Content Go Viral I M E A N R E A L L Y V I R A L FINCON 2014 | NEW ORLEANS MORGAN QUINN | 09.18.2014
  2. So you want your content to go viral?
  3. Nooooooo, this kind of viral.
  4. VIRAL CONTENT Viral content is a phenomenon where content gets a highly-unusual number of page views, shares, comments, and other social media activity. ! At its core, viral marketing is the spread of an idea through content that attracts attention. ! The odds of your content going viral are 0.01%* *a very non-scientific study conducted by a series of google searches done by yours truly
  5. Oh, I get it. Let me consult The Oracle.
  6. 31 million results, huh? I better get comfortable.
  7. A few best practices What the Internet Says About Viral Content (pretty good advice, if I do say so myself)
  8. THE HEADLINE Headlines should be 6-11 words and include a descriptive subtitle ! COMMON EXAMPLES: • Numbers (listicle) • Positives (best, always, most, top) or negatives (worst, ugliest, unhealthiest, never). • Compelling adjectives (sexiest, simplest, most useful, wicked, absolutely hottest). • Personal relevance (you, your business, your boss, your child/spouse, people who). • Emotional trigger (Awe, anger, anxiety, fear, joy, lust, surprise, inspiration, entertaining, educational). • Promise (happier, more productive, win the game, improve health, be better). • Double-whammy (two alluring promises in a single headline). CONTENT The body of the content is useful and provides specific, actionable steps (aka: “news you can use”). !Evokes strong emotion that stirs discussion. !There is a clear call-to-action to share and comment.
  9. Evoking emotions. Makes sense. But which emotion should I go for? FEAR SADNESS DISGUST SURPRISE ANGER JOY TRUST Harvard Business Review study on the emotions that make marketing campaigns go viral. Read Article
  10. VIRAL CONTENT Anger is the fastest spreading emotion on the Internet. ! Positive emotions like joy and awe also move quickly. They are motivating, and like anger, they get your blood pumping. It’s like lighting a fire under someone and inspiring them to take action. ! Emotions like sadness and melancholy are deactivating, meaning readers feel less likely to take action after reading the content. It’s like having the wind taken out of your sails.
  11. I have everything to make my blog post go viral. It’s time for my 15-seconds of fame!
  12. I’m writing, I’m writing, I’m writing…
  13. THE CHECKLIST Are you ready to publish? • Short headline? • Descriptive subhead? • Listicle? • Compelling adjectives / personal relevance / trigger / promise / double whammy? ! • Helpful / emotional / call-to-action?
  14. And we’re live!
  15. I don’t get it, where are my readers?
  16. The truth is… You cannot make your content go viral. You can only control the quality of your content. What happens after you publish is up to the world wide interwebs. ! In order to increase the likelihood of your content going “viral”, you need a highly-engaged audience and you need to give them content they care about.
  17. What does my audience care about?
  18. Great question, but there’s one other question you have to ask first…
  19. What do I have to offer them?
  20. THE ANSWER Your brand mission Your brand mission is the fundamental purpose of why your company exists. It is what your brand does and what it delivers.
  21. THE SCOOP Creating Your Brand Mission Don’t get too hung up on creating your brand mission. Giant corporations dedicate hours and hours of time and piles of money and other resources to this. ! Also, the mission can change as the marketplace and strategy changes. And in this rapidly-changing world, it’s important to stay nimble.
  22. A TIME SAVING EXERCISE Brand Pillars The brand pillars rise from the foundation of your brand. It is what makes your brand memorable and how your readers relate to you. The pillars reinforce your brand. ! For every pillar ask, “How does this pillar reinforce my brand’s purpose?” ! There should be no more than four brand pillars. Keep it simple…you fill in the rest.
  23. BRAND PILLARS FRAMEWORK BRAND PURPOSE Tagline; primary marketing message #1 #2 #3 #4 How does it achieve your brand purpose? ! Types of Content: How does it achieve your brand purpose? Types of Content: How does it achieve your brand purpose? Types of Content: How does it achieve your brand purpose? Types of Content: !! Content Examples: ! Content Examples: ! Content Examples: ! Content Examples: !
  24. Your brand pillars keep you from writing about: !Money And my cat! And technology! And my favorite recipes! And DIY projects! And movies! You get the point.
  25. BRAND PILLARS EXAMPLE Mint.com Here’s an example of what Mint.com’s brand might look like if I were doing this exercise today* *I totally did this today. You guys know I’m not allowed to share top secret internal information.
  26. EXAMPLE FRAMEWORK: Mint.com BRAND PILLARS BRAND PURPOSE Give people the understanding and power to take action with their money and lead better lives. #1 Mint is a Leader in Personal Finance #2 Mint is the go-to resource for users' personal finance needs. #3 Mint is an easy-to-use, innovative personal finance tool. How does it achieve your brand purpose? Through thought leaders hip, users can trust that Mint has the best tools they need to improve their financial lives. ! Types of Content: ! Awards Endorsements Speaking opport!unities & events Partnerships Mint is a Leader in! Personal Finance How does it achieve your brand purpose? Mint has the resources u sers need to live better lives through budgeting, reducing financial stress, and reaching their financial goals. ! Types of Content: ! Timely and topical personal finance content Clear-cut, unbiased info r mation with actionable steps on HOW to manage finances. Inspirational user! success stories. Expert advice. How does it achieve your brand purpose? By organizing their finan c es all in one place and getting a clear picture of their finances, users can start reaching their financial goals. Types of Content: ! Tips How-tos Best practices User quotes Data: $ saved, goals reached Product shots: overspending alerts, ways to save, goal updates Content Examples: ! Content Examples: ! Content Examples: !
  27. Q&A TIME How will brand pillars help me write blog posts? ! Brand will serve as a guideline to keep your content laser-focused and aligned with your mission. ! The content you publish and all your social activity should reflect the brand pillars. If it doesn’t fit into a pillar it doesn’t belong. ! Content must deliver on your brand pillars, not the pursuit of more traffic. ! Sensationalist content and click-bait headlines detract from your brand’s mission and undermine the relationship you have with your readers.
  28. Q&A TIME What do my readers care about? ! Let your data lead you to the answer. !Top read blog posts Subject matter Length: short vs. long Social shares Comments ! Track data on a monthly basis and perform quarterly evaluations to ensure you are meeting benchmarks or to see if you need to make changes to your content strategy. ! Don’t be afraid to make changes: it’s important to first test a hypothesis and then use data to drive change.
  29. WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS What your readers care about What you have to offer MAGIC!
  30. SOME RULES TO WRITE BY Ask before you publish “Is the content so useful that your audience would thank you?” – Ann Handley, Head of Content at MarketingProfs and author of Content Rules. ! Does is evoke so much emotion that the reader can’t help but share it? ! Will reading and sharing the content make the reader seem smart to their peers? ! Does the content have a strong call-to-action asking readers to comment and share? Is it easy for them to do those things?
  31. Congratulations! Let’s be honest, your content probably won’t become an overnight sensation, but you are well on your way to building an incredible brand with a rock-solid content strategy.
  32. Appendix
  33. REFERENCES ! Study showing anger is the most viral emotion: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/your-social-media-emotions-go-viral-anger-spreads-fastest-f4B11186087 ! Anger, awe, and joy as motivators: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-emotion-goes-viral-fastest-180950182/?no-ist ! How to write a great blog post: http://brandswithfansblog.fandommarketing.com/how-to-write-a-great-blog-post/ ! Generate great titles for your blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator: http://tweakyourbiz.com/tools/title-generator/
  34. WHERE YOU CAN FIND Morgan Quinn EMAIL MORGANMARIEQUINN@GMAIL.COM ! LINKEDIN MORGANMARIEQUINN/ ! TWITTER @MORGANMQUINN

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