How to create viral content (Even if you don’t know how to be controversial)on Nov 29, 2012 - 9:00 AM PST
Zeke Camusio had a client with a problem.
His client sold nails. In a search for more SEO traffic, the client started blogging about nails.
And that’s where the problem started. After all, “who wants to read a blog about nails?” asks Zeke, author of The Internet Marketing Bible and the founder of Digital Aptitude.
So he took a step back.
“We started thinking about, ‘Who’s the target audience?’” says Zeke. “The target audience was all the do-it-yourselfers, people who really like home improvement projects.”
Once he knew that, he knew the kind of content that would appeal to them: DIYers like tutorials about how to build a deck or how to build a fire pit.
“Then you can talk about what nails they need, and you can link to all the product pages,” says Zeke. “But the content has to be appealing. You can’t just write about nails because that’s what you do.”
These are the kinds of strategies Zeke uses to create content that goes viral, like a recent video that got 116,000 views in just one week.
In his Mixergy course, he shows you how he does it. Here are three strategies you’ll learn in the course.
1. You’re Good Enough
Many people think they’re not creative. Some, like Zeke, have been told they aren’t creative.
“I remember this one time I was trying to do some sort of creative project for school,” he says, “and my dad was like, ‘Why are you doing that? You’re not creative. Let your brother do that. You’re good at math, just do math.’”
And Zeke says that when you believe you aren’t creative, you suppress ideas because you’re afraid they’re stupid.
So how do you change your mindset?
Embrace stupid ideas
Creativity is a skill you can learn, says Zeke. And the best way to learn it is to allow yourself to come up with stupid ideas.
“If you feel like every idea you have has to be a great one, you’re not going to create the environment to have great ideas,” he says. “You have to allow yourself to have a lot of bad ideas because sometimes you combine two bad ideas into a good one, or one bad idea leads you into a good one.”
In fact, for every blog post his team publishes, they’ve brainstormed lots of really bad ideas. Zeke confesses that, “They’re so bad, I don’t want people to know about them.”
2. Do Some Digital Espionage
You’ve just come up with a great idea for a video. You just know it’ll get liked, tweeted, and shared like crazy.
But before you set up the lights and camera, do you know if your audience even cares about the topic? Or whether they prefer videos, infographics, or an ebook?
“One of the worst mistakes you can make is just to say, ‘I have this great idea,’ and just launch it,” says Zeke.
So how do you figure out what they like?
Spy on the competition
Do some competitive research.
Zeke says he starts by using sites like Reddit, Google Trends, and Alltop to search for the most popular content in a niche.
“This is really powerful because you’re…using crowdsourcing to understand what people really care about,” he says.
Zeke uses the example of a fishing site. He says you can search for “fishing” on Reddit and see that the most popular result is a video called “Who Says Fishing Isn’t Exciting?”
“Number one, it’s a video,” he says. “Number two, it started with a question, and…it creates suspense. It doesn’t mean that you have to create this exact video…but if you start seeing the same pattern, let’s say you see a lot of videos that start with a question, that’s something you might want to put in your piece of content.”
3. Put Them in the Show
Creating original content is expensive.
Even if you’re a DIYer, you’re still investing countless hours of your time into content creation.
And whether you pay in cash or in blood, sweat, and tears, you don’t know for certain that whatever you’re making will engage your audience.
So how can you minimize your costs and up the odds that your audience will pay attention?
Give your audience a starring role
Co-create content with your audience.
Zeke says when his team creates content, they are either influenced by the customers, or they’re getting help directly from the customers.
When they were creating content for a fly fishing company, for example, they asked the company’s customers to submit photos of their biggest catches.
“Then we made a contest out of it,” he says. “That was really popular because it was the users themselves submitting the content. Then we created a slideshow, and everybody was in that video.”
The fishing company didn’t have to do much work, and it engaged customers by making them a part of the show: “They’re not just watching it, they’re an actor in a movie,” says Zeke.
Get the rest of Zeke’s course here.
Written by April Dykman.