Today’s guest blog post is from another dear friend, fellow co-leader at our annual conference, The Mastermind Retreat, hedgehog mama, and expert in viral content – Callie Lindsey, of Callie Lindsey Photography. We’ve always joked about how Callie has a knack for creating contagious content – from her hedgehog fame (you’ll learn more about this below!) to her signature Target wedding photoshoot (that you’ve likely seen all over the internet!), to her hilarious Instagram & Facebook posts that get everyone liking & chatting. But her knack isn’t all by luck… in fact, it’s very much about curiosity & strategy. And today, Callie is sharing 3 tips on how to create viral content. Guaranteed you’ll love it… and love her sweet hedgie photo too!
I unintentionally began to study the science of virality a few years ago when I adopted my first hedgehog, Hallie. As millennials do, I started taking photos and videos of my new baby pet and sharing them with my friends on Instagram. I had no idea that within a few months, several of these photos and videos would go viral. Hallie began to appear everywhere from Buzzfeed to Cosmopolitan to Yahoo News. Ellen Degeneres even shared one of the videos with her audience! (I still refer to this is as the moment I peaked.)
I started to get curious.
What made something as unorthodox as a hedgehog in a Starbucks cup seem to resonate with people? Were there certain factors that content that “sticks” had in common? And, most importantly, if there were, how could I apply this knowledge to marketing my creative small business?
Over the last few years of studying marketing and virality, I’ve learned that effective content almost always uses one or more of these three elements: story, triggers, and shareability.
We could spend hours dissecting each element, but for now, here’s a short break down of each along with a practical application question that will help you begin to craft content that sticks.
“People don’t buy products… they buy relationships, stories, and magic.” – Seth Godin
Story is the oldest marketing tool we have. It is so deeply embedded into human nature that it immediately hooks us in. A good story is almost irresistible to us.
Story is why I – a grown woman with no children who doesn’t even live in Florida – have an annual pass to Walt Disney World. Starting with the first Disney VHS that I watched as a toddler, this brand has invited me (and millions of others) to be a part of their bigger story. A story that says, “No matter how old you are, happily ever after is still within your reach.” And they’ve done such a great job at it that we’re even willing to stand in 3 hour long lines with 20,000 strangers in 100 degree Florida weather with smiles on our faces. That’s the power of story.
What story lines in your life or brand have resonated with your audience in the past? How can you incorporate more story into your content?
Side note: If you’re looking to use your Story to create better content, you definitely should check out: this blog post on how to use your story as a content creation gold mine!
When I say “I’m Lovin’ It”, what do you think of?
When you see shiplap, who first comes to mind?
You’ve just been triggered.
In short, a trigger is simply something that makes someone think about a related thing. The best brands usually incorporate some sort of trigger into their business.
For example, one of my biggest business triggers is, probably unshockingly, hedgehogs. I even have a closet full of hedgehog themed products that friends have sent. Why? They were triggered. When they saw the product, it reminded them of my brand.
What triggers do people associate with your brand? How can you incorporate more triggers into your marketing?
People love usable news. Usable news can either be anything from a practical how-to article to an emotional Superbowl commercial. The one thing that it usually has in common? Shareability.
People – whether they have a business or not – love to share value with their audiences. This is why Facebook timelines are filled with re-shared content ranging from memes to DIY recipe videos.
As business owners, we have the opportunity to create similar shareable resources.
What questions to clients or followers most frequently ask you? How can you create shareable resources based on these questions?
As you create content for your business this week – whether it’s an email for a client, a post for Instagram, or a product for your shop – think about how you can incorporate more of these contagious elements into your work.
Callie Lindsey is an internationally published photographer and business mentor who helps women build purposeful and profitable businesses. She’s also a Target “Dollar Section” connoisseur and hedgehog mom to Pippa. Callie’s career has taken her everywhere from the White House to the Amalfi Coast, but her favorite place to be is in the living room binge watching “This Is Us” with friends and a good cheese board.