Going Viral: Gawker’s Secret to Shareable Content for SMBs
There are only so many ways you can write about your product, service or expertise until you run out of new things to say. Unless you’re actually launching new features or products, writing about the same thing over and over will bore your customers and insult their intelligence. Challenge yourself to spend the rest of the summer aiming to create content that gets people excited. While working towards this goal, you’ll find if you follow the advice below, you’ll also be cracking the “shareable content” code.
Figuring Out What to Write
Think about that friend that just obsessively talks about himself…do you look forward to meeting him for coffee? Most likely not. On the other hand, you probably know someone who’s a well of interesting knowledge, who is always interested in what you have to say too. You probably find you constantly seek out that person, because you enjoy spending time with them and hearing what they have to say.
This is the perfect analogy for this concept:
“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: ‘Wouldn’t you like to have that?’ Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?” – Dale Carnegie from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.
This rule for socializing can be applied to content on your site, even if your site is not a content provider. You might sell PR services or branding strategies. Don’t take up every inch of your site with self-praise and testimonials. Instead, try to imagine being your customer for a moment and think about what kind of useful or engaging information – or bait – you can give them for free.
Follow Gawker’s “Secret”
The key is posting the best kind of bait, the sort that your customers will take the time to read through instead of moving onto the next site. For this, you’ll want to take a lesson from Gawker’s content guru, Neetzan Zimmerman, a man who’s legendary headlines are known for getting tens of millions of views, and at one point, according to the Wall Street Journal, were said to be Gawker’s meal ticket, allowing others employees to work on longer, wonky stories will Zimmerman sustained the volume with click bait. WSJ says his secret is “a deep connection to his audience’s evolving, primal sensibilities.”
To understand what people find interesting, Zimmerman will scan a thousand sites each day, gaging their social network shares and likes to get a sense of how viral the stories can go. He also relies heavily on his own taste, trusting that his interests align with the majority of the audience he wants to reach. That is a great lesson for any of the content you’re publishing or sharing, whether you’re a small business trying to attract clients to your site, or a news outlet. Writing stories that will move, entice, enlighten or entertain people is a stronger proposition than pushing product. Instead, put some stock in developing stories and headlines that you’d want to read, and get your posts out there for your potential customers to enjoy.
You can also take a cue from Zimmerman and write clear concise titles and headlines that convey the stories precise meaning and answer the question: Why should anyone care about this story? To get a better idea of how to write more viral headlines and content, imitate the master and browse your favorite sites. Take a note of other’s shareable content to inspire creation of your own shareable content. Check out the NYTimes.com “Most Popular” and “Most Emailed” sections to learn what people actually care about. Then try it for yourself, and you could have fish biting on your business’ site in no time.
Just be patient. Your customers may not commit to your services the first time they visit your site, but they may the second or third time after they’ve established trust and a connection with the stories, advice and articles you post on your site.
Latest posts by BlueVine Team (see all)
- Need Help Managing Your Cash Flow? Use These 3 Tips - October 7, 2016
- Going Viral: Gawker’s Secret to Shareable Content for SMBs - July 18, 2014
- How Lean Startup Thinking Can Grow a Small Business - May 7, 2014
Here’s What Donald Trump Has to Say About Small Business
Meredith Wood / Oct 14, 201628
When This Entrepreneur Lost 100 Pounds, He Knew His Coconut Business Would Succeed
Meredith Wood / Sep 9, 201614
Want Free Money? Check Out This List of the 107 Best Small Business Grants
Ben Rashkovich / Dec 15, 201511
3 Secrets Behind the Economics of Running a Successful Liquor Store
Vivian Giang / Nov 17, 20158
Here's What Hillary Clinton Has to Say About Small Business
Meredith Wood / Oct 10, 20168