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PubCon: Catch The Viral Wave

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When a particular campaign goes viral, where people forward a marketing message to others until it snowballs, the resulting traffic and awareness can be very impressive. Achieving a viral quality for a message is not something that can be just coded and pushed out the door; it takes a combination of efforts to reach that status.

PubCon: Catch The Viral Wave
PubCon: Catch The Viral Wave

When the PubCon session on Viral and Word Of Mouth Marketing Management began, our Chris Richardson settled in for some note-taking that we have polished for your perusal here.

Breaking through to an Internet audience that has millions of potential destinations to choose online has been a steep challenge for marketers. It can be done, and on a broad scale too.

Louise Rijk discussed this from the word of mouth marketing perspective. It’s powerful because word of mouth happens on and off the Internet. There is a higher trust level for it due to the more personal nature of a shared opinion instead of a paid message.

To achieve this online, Rijk said marketers have to identify opinion makers and deliver the message. (That has to be done carefully; blasting a blatant marketing attempt at influential people online can backfire in humorously spectacular ways. – David)

While forums, blogs, podcasts, and videos all have their place in word of mouth marketing, email still demands some respect from marketers. It’s a viable resource that can lead to a message going viral.

When targeting influencers, it’s important to learn who they are and what they say about your niche. Monitoring buzz about one’s product or service can be accomplished through sites like Technorati or BlogPulse.

Above all, Rijk noted, don’t stint on customer service and listen to what is being said about the business.

SEOBook.com’s Aaron Wall emphasized the research point as well, and the use of keywords and search to help build one’s awareness of perceptions of one’s online endeavor.

He also told session attendees to go beyond just search and keywords. Social media sites like Digg and Reddit can blow up a story very quickly, leading to significant traffic. It helps to have compelling headlines, and to be a little controversial, to draw viral attention.

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz.com dropped an interesting factoid about Digg into the session. He said a story that makes the front page of Digg will receive an average of 2000 new links in 2 weeks pointing to whatever story was Dugg by users of the site.

If one can befriend one of the more prolific submitters on Digg, that could help getting a company’s message onto the site and enthusiastically voted up by other Diggers on the site. But before that deluge happens, Fishkin highly recommends stress testing the destination server or servers to ensure they can handle a sudden spike in traffic without failing.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

PubCon: Catch The Viral Wave
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