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15.07.2014
Perhaps the most objective way to look at the practice of viral marketing is to examine the research of some highly intelligent folks who have dedicated years to deciphering the common elements of viral content. Below, I'll dissect some of my favorite research from an associate professor at the Wharton School of Business, as well as examine some classic viral marketing examples to see what lessons can be had from campaigns that managed to spread far and wide.
As much as many marketers try to tackle this topic sans-question mark, I'm here to tell you that there really is no way to make something go viral. Jonah Berger That said, Wharton professor Jonah Berger has made the best attempt to date in researching and defining what characteristics are often found in a viral piece of content. Later, Berger would take a full-scale look at the nature of virality and viral marketing in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Great news for content marketers, practically useful material was shown to be highly viral.
As I've mentioned before, in the world of marketing, transportation leads to persuasion, because it's so easy for us to get wrapped up in a good tale.
Another great way to learn about the practice of viral marketing is to look closely at successful campaigns that have been run in the past.
Helping the product market itself has often been described as growth hacking (a more modern term), but the spread of awareness in this next example also serves as a fine showcase of virality.


These sorts of tactics might need to pay homage to one of the originators, however, in the brilliant marketing used to promote The Blair Witch Project. This interactive marketing has seen a resurgence on the web, with another notable example being Cleverbot, which is a bot that chats back to users as if they were in a chat room with a real person. Another fantastic example that doesn't rely on humor or video manipulation trickery is the GoPro viral video which showcases a fireman saving a kitten, all recorded using a GoPro camera. Although I showed you the characteristics that Berger found in highly viral articles, I'd like to point to another one of his studies entitled When, Why, and How Controversy Causes Conversation.
An example found on the Help Scout blog is our article on Why Steve Jobs Never Listened to His Customers. I couldn't make the article go viral, but the stage was set for debate, and it turned into one of the most popular pieces during the early stages of our company blog (a time when we needed it most!).
Here are three ways to bridge unexpected connections and innovative ideas, helping drive viral success. This unlikely rapper's ability to create one viral video after another is anything but accidental.
A Entrepreneur columnist reflects on the takeaways he's learned so far after seeing some of his articles go viral.


As an example, I've regularly found that customer service stories are the most viral types of customer service content, because sharing a list of great stories makes you look good!
If you'll recall the viral attention that the Red Paperclip story received, it was all because people simply had to know what happened next in the tale. Below, I'll show you some of my favorite examples of viral marketing, hopefully providing some inspiration along the way.
While videos certainly are a big subset of viral content, many more mediums and methods apply. With the advent of free video hosting on YouTube, a viral video is often seen as the de facto example of viral marketing.



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