[guest post by Sam Williamson]
Once you’ve identified your target audience and got your content ready, you need to pair the two together and get some eyeballs on your finished product. But don’t just expect people to turn up and start interacting with your content. You’re going to have to get out there and do some serious hustling – create profiles on relevant forums, email bloggers, join relevant online communities and get active on all the popular social media platforms. The most important aspect of the amplification process is to not give up. You might find that your early efforts to spread the word about your content fall flat online, but all it takes is 1 influencer to share it and suddenly your content can spread across the Internet like wildfire.
Just a word of warning; everything you’ve done up until this point has been pretty straightforward. You’ve had complete control over the content, over the audience that you’re targeting and over the amplification process. But ultimately, there is no guarantee that these steps will have resulted in any traffic. However, there is one thing that you can do to give your viral content the best shot at succeeding, and that is to monitor it closely after it’s gone live. Provided that you’ve amplified the content well, you should be getting a fair amount of views on it by now, and maybe even a few comments. But rather than simply reading these comments, interact with them on behalf of your brand. Nothing will kill your content more than a lack of engagement, and comments are one of the most valuable forms of engagement you can generate. So by replying to all of the comments that you can manage, you’ll be keeping the blog post alive for longer. Try to initiate discussion and debate amongst readers and if you’re lucky it’ll attract even more people to engage with your content.
Numbers are great for marketers – they look exciting in a report, especially if you surround them with fancy line graphs and a picture of an arrow (preferably pointing upwards). Maybe include a pie chart for good measure too.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of meaningless numbers. You generated over 1,000 unique visitors to a client’s site – so what?? Did they make any sales? Gain any new email subscribers? I’m not acting like this just to annoy you; I’m acting like this because these are exactly the kinds of questions that your client will ask you. Remember, they probably don’t check their analytics as religiously as we do. They won’t have a clue whether they’ve gone viral or not, unless you manage to generate something meaningful.
Fortunately, if you followed the steps above then you’ll already have included features to get readers not just to skim your content, but to take action. Metrics like the amount of sales generated within a 24hr period, the number of new email signups or even negative metrics like the number of users who dropped off after 5 seconds or less can all be used to assess the success of your viral marketing efforts.
Proper usage of data
So your viral marketing campaign was a success…now what? It can be tempting to frame a picture of your content, put it on your desk and put your feet up for the rest of the day. But to keep the ball rolling it’s vital that you pay close attention to the data that you collected and try to improve upon every aspect. Didn’t get as many email subscribers as you were expecting? Unleash a popup box after 8 seconds rather than 5. Didn’t generate many sales? Include more links to product pages within the content. There are countless ways that you can try to improve your campaign, and although you’ll probably never reach absolute perfection, you’ll notice considerable improvements if you use your data wisely before unrolling your next viral marketing campaign.
** About the author: Sam Williamson writes for Aims Media Glasgow
What tactics do you use to increase your posts’ popularity? Leave us your comments here or on Twitter @flow_reader!