The New Rules of VIRAL Marketing

We are big fans of Mr. Scott and his eBook, The New Rules of Viral Marketing, which gives tips on how to spread your ideas for free using word-of-mouse. Or in other words, “one person sends it to another, then that person sends it to yet another, and on and on.”

With the internet, it is now easier than ever to start a viral campaign, but “marketers need to learn how to harness the amazing power of word-of-mouse.”

This eBook is full of case studies and other “people’s success so you can apply some of their ideas and lessons in your own word-of-mouse efforts.” Most of this is at the beginning, so if you are short on time I would start on page 14 for the real meat.

David’s formula for success:

“A combination of some great-and free-Web content (a video, blog entry, interactive tool, or e-book) that provides valuable information (or is groundbreaking or amazing or hilarious or involves a celebrity), plus a network of people to light the fire and links that make your content very easy to share.”

To help achieve this success, David provides specific advice on how to launch a viral campaign using YouTube videos, e-books and other techniques. I’ll pick out some points I thought interesting (or that I haven’t thought about before) and list them here, but make sure you go back and read the eBook for all the tips.

How to help your eBook get shared:

  • Present you eBook in a landscape format, rather than the white paper’s typical portrait format. This makes it easier to read and signals to the reader that the content is interesting.
  • Consider writing in a lighter, more conversational style than you would in a whitepaper, marketing brochure, or Web page. Think of the writing in an eBook as you would write for a blog.
  • eBooks should always be free and should never have a registration requirement. (This has been hotly debated for a while now on how to balance capturing leads and distributing content. What do you think?)
  • Put a Creative Commons license on the content so people know they can freely share your copyrighted material.
  • Create a landing page from which people can download your eBook. (All of our eBooks and whitepapers have landing pages set up on the ReachForce Resources page on the website.)
  • To drive viral marketing, (you have to read the eBook for the rest of this great tip)!

9 tips for using YouTube (here are a few)

  1. Your video should be no longer than three minutes. (Come on, who has time to just sit and watch a 10 minute video…unless it is really funny or something). If you have a lot to say, consider creating a series of posts.
  2. Don’t attempt “stealth” fake customer insertions. Be authentic and don’t try to sneak in company promotion where you can. (YouTube itself can catch unauthenic video and that might cause harm to a brand).
  3. Make sure bloggers know about the video. The best way to do this is when you are reading and commenting on blogs in your space, next time you comment link to your video (if it makes sense to).

Other tips he mentioned:

  • Use interactive tools (like Hubspot’s Website Grader)
  • Don’t break the bank with expensive advertising
  • Don’t beg mainstream media to write about you

I have left some really great tips and specific advice out, so go back and read what all David has to say about viral campaigns. Have you had success with viral campaigns? What did you do?

David Meerman Scott is an online thought leadership and viral marketing strategist. The programs he has developed have won numerous awards and are responsible for selling over $1 billion in products and services worldwide.


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