Most marketing channels can be broken down into two categories:
- Outbound marketing – where you proactively embark outward into the world to grab people by the hand, and lead them back to your product. These are typically things like advertising. With ads, you’re placing miniature exposures in other places where people are.
- Inbound marketing – when you create a lead magnet for those people to come to you by their own volition without interrupting their experiences elsewhere.
Thus far we’ve explored several various forms of outbound channels that be used to fuel your viral engine.
Now, let’s get a little more creative and see what the other side has to offer.
Content Marketing: Inbound Awesomeness
Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing that focuses on creating and sharing materials for a targeted audience online. This generated content can include anything from videos to blogs, social media posts, graphics, podcasts, etc.
The key is that the content does not explicitly promote your brand, but implicitly arouses interest in your product.
When potential users are exposed to your content, they make a conscious choice to check it out. That’s because your content – which you have crafted so well – adds to or augments what they are already experiencing and consuming online. (This initial exposure may be the result of anything from backlinking to organic search or online viral word of mouth.)
Then, little by little, you begin nibbling at those potential users.
Eventually, through exposing them to enough of your content, you can craft a narrative in their minds that results in them becoming a user of your product.
The best part? They think this has happened through their own volition. Because it has.
In that way, content marketing is kind of like the movie Inception, only without Leonardo DiCaprio trying to rob you blind and murder your dreams.
Content Marketing and Virality
If you want your content marketing efforts to help spread your product virally, the first and most obvious strategy would be to mirror the efforts of media sites whose content spreads like wildfire. Especially those benefiting from online viral word of mouth marketing. (Think BuzzFeed or Uproxx.)
Proactively eliciting high-arousal emotions in readers and then prompting them to share with others who have similar interests is a winning strategy.
Beyond that, viral transaction marketing is another solid content marketing strategy – but not in the way it’s normally used.
You know those inline “click to tweet” widgets you see so often? For example:
Adding a “click to tweet” feature to your best quotes can help drive more viral traffic. – Click to Tweet.
Those prompt viral transaction marketing.
I’m not asking you to share how awesome Viral Hero is, I’m giving you an opportunity to share a piece of wisdom you just stumbled across. This allows you to elevate your own status and be seen as smart and insightful by your peers. (So tweet that shit. *nudge* *nudge* It’s in your best interest.)
Don’t Lose Sight of Your Product
Those are just two examples of ways you can make your content marketing efforts more effective using viral concepts. Additionally, if you work hard to optimize your content for organic search, and you promote it via a few native content ad engines that make it appear as if other sites are promoting your content by their own volition (e.g. Outbrain), you can blend a few of these channels together pretty effectively.
However, no matter if you’re employing a blog, videos, or podcasts as your chosen form of content marketing, don’t forget that at the end of the day the entire goal is to get new leads. And do so in a cost-effective fashion.
Don’t lose the ability to convert leads from your content because you’re solely focusing on spreading your content.
In other words, don’t just create stuff to create it, and then get off when people start sharing it. There’s already enough crap like that on the Internet already. And it usually has something to do with the Kardashians.
Instead, focus on spreading your product to convert more leads through high-quality, relevant content.
Your viral engine should be really humming now! That’s what some premium grade inbound and outbound marketing will get you. But we’re far from done yet.
Up next, we’re going to use a little alchemy to magically transform your wasted email notifications into viral gold.
Which is Better for Virality: Conversions or Acquisitions?
Think conversion and acquisition are the same thing? You’d be wrong. One is far better suited to feeding your viral engine. Want to know which? It’s time you join me in our next chapter.
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