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Content Strategy

Give your content the boost of Word of Mouth

by Tom Salvat | 12 October, 2016

 Brands of all kinds, both major companies and small online businesses, spend incredible amounts of money on advertising. Your company wants to promote its products, services, initiatives, or ideas, getting their message out to as many people as possible.

But what if you could multiply your advertising reach by 1000%, without spending a penny more on marketing than you already are? That is absolutely possible, just by making your content more shareable.

And by shareable, we don't just mean online. We mean by word of mouth, as well. In fact, no matter how connected and plugged in we all are these days, plain old word of mouth is still one of the most powerful tools a marketer needs to learn to harness.

Behold the Power of Word of Mouth

What percentage of sharing would you say is online compared to word of mouth? When we walk down the street and see so many people walking while playing with their mobile devices, you may think that half of more of sharing is done online, on Facebook or Twitter, or one of the other major social networking platforms.

But that just isn't the case. Studies show that only 7% of sharing is online. The rest is old fashioned word of mouth, us telling our neighbours, relatives, friends, drinking buddies, work or school mates, or even total strangers about something we thought was cool.

What does that mean for making your content more shareable? Sure, you can (and absolutely should) have share links on your website to make it easy to share your content online. But if you expect that to make your content go viral, you still have a long way to work.

If your content is shareable via word of mouth, you will get ten times the effect from your marketing efforts, since studies show word of mouth is at least ten times more effective than classic advertising.

But here's the problem: How do you get your content to spread via word of mouth?

In order to answer that question, making your content more shareable, and more likely to go viral, we need to think about why people talk about things with others, why they share. If we know that, we'll be well on our way to using the power of word of mouth to boost our marketing efforts, getting our brand more visibility that a million roadside billboards.

Why People Share

If you see an infographic online, or a video or blog post, how do you decide to share that information or not? If we know the answer to that, we can know how a piece of content can be more shareable and more likely to go viral.

We like to think of ourselves as helpful people. We like to think that we share things purely for the benefit of others, and it is true that we often do share things with others because we want to help them. But that isn't the most powerful driving force involved.

To put it simply, we share things because we want to make ourselves look good.

Think about this: If someone tells you a secret, a real juicy piece of gossip, and makes you swear not to tell anyone else, what will you do? If you are like most people, the first chance you'll get, you'll tell someone that secret. Why? Because having a secret is like having some kind of social power. You have this juicy piece of information that nobody else knows about.

People like to be the first to know about something. They like to have the inside track, the latest news. But having that news is meaningless if you don't share it with someone else. After all, if you keep it to yourself, how will anyone know just how amazing you are for knowing it in the first place?

How does this apply to content marketing? Simply put, if you craft content that will make people look good for sharing it, they'll be much more likely to tell someone else about it right away. Make your content juicy, remarkable, interesting, like a big juicy secret.

If people feel like insiders getting an exclusive from you, they'll want to share this amazing gem they discovered, both online and offline, causing your content to go viral.

Shareable + Public = Viral

Word of mouth can be a powerful boost to your content, making it get shared again and again, helping it to go viral. However, if you want that word of mouth to be even more effective, there is another aspect of your content that you can add. That is making your content more public. What does that mean?

Think about logos. There are logos on cars, on T-shirts, on the backs of laptops and smartphones. These very public logos help get a brand known.

You don't need a statistic telling you that 94 million iPhones are being used in the US. You can see that they are everywhere because of the little Apple logo. You can't walk a single block in a major US city without spotting it at least once. It's everywhere. It's public. And that makes it go viral.

So you want to think about how you can make your content more public, easy for people to see.

One easy way is making your content "safe for work." People are more likely to share if they can do so right at work, and something "NSFW" (not safe for work) is less likely to get shared, especially publicly, for obvious reasons.

Another way to make your content more public is by making sure that every page of your content is in line with your company's branding as far as colour and design. Of course, you'll want to make sure your brand's logo or header is clearly visible, too.

That way, instead of people saying, "Did you see that amazing video about robots?" they'll say, "Did you see Company X's cool video about robots?" There's a bit difference between the two because, in the second, your company is going viral right with the content.

So when crafting new content, be it a blog post, article, video, or image, think about why someone would want to share it. Keep in mind that people are more likely to share if it makes them look like an insider, like someone with a juicy secret to share. Make the person sharing look good and they'll probably share it with someone.

Also, keep in mind that, by making your brand more public in the content, you'll ensure that your company will go just as viral as the content itself, meaning better brand recognition across a wide audience.

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