Viral Marketing Campaign

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Communicating directly with targeted audiences through initiatives utilizing free content posted on the Web is an extremely cost-effective form of marketing. This may be well understood already but here are the basic tenets of a good "viral" marketing campaign.

1. Gear press releases to the buyer not the media. Buyers read press releases directly and you must talk the language of the audience. The Web has "disintermediated" the media to a great degree, so our primary audience is no longer just a handful of journalists. Press releases sent over the wires appear almost instantaneously on services like Google News, and so can reach consumers directly in an amazing and powerful way.

2. Establish and use electronic and powerful ways to communicate including:

  • blogs
  • email newsletters (fully designed and html'd and tracking click-through rates using a program like Campaign attached to a database)
  • free white papers
  • interactive webinars
  • free useful Web content including full ebooks (which can be linked to from social bookmarking sites like reddit.com, connotea.com, and delicious.com)

3. Establish a list of influential bloggers in your press's publishing areas and track their posts and threads.

4. Release a free complementary ebook (related to the main paper book) via a post on your blog and by emailing a link to select friends, colleagues, target audiences, and key bloggers.

5. Track the downloads and watch how the virus spreads. Good content should attract hundreds of click-throughs and downloads within hours of release.

6. Over the next several days, look for play and reference on the blog sites. If you can catch the interest of several key bloggers so they are talking about the same story at the same time, the power tends to magnify exponentially. Negative reactions on blogs is also very helpful in driving buzz.

7. Track the growth of hits on Google for the key phrase or phrases involved with your ebook.

8. Insert useful "encyclopedia-like" content from your ebook into online wiki's like Wikipedia with a link to your free ebook. (WARNING: Don't try to post marketing material for sales. You'll get your hands slapped.)

9. Once your viral efforts have reached their fullest impact of notoriety and publicity (David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of PR was tracking a thousand Google hits a day after seven weeks of viral marketing), release the full book with free online excerpts, Amazon.com availability, and so forth to reap revenues from the interest generated.

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