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The reputation of viral marketing has taken a bit of a battering of
late, but at its heart is an idea that’s worth saving. So says digital
marketing expert David Meerman Scott, whose new book sets out to show
there is far more to so-called ‘viral’ campaigns than gimmicks and
The name of Scott’s latest book, World Wide Rave, comes
from a term he coined himself in an attempt to capture the original
spirit of what he says is “the coolest phenomena on the web.” Scott is
the author of several books on online marketing and has a weekly show
on online business TV network yourBusinessChannel.
“When an idea takes off, it can propel a brand or company to seemingly instant fame and fortune, for free,” says Scott.
The problem with viral marketing, says Scott, is that it can often rely
on the trickery or coercion that characterises traditional advertising
and marketing. “It’s the old rules of marketing mindlessly transplanted
on the web,” he says, “a transparent attempt to sell products.”
The approach Scott proposes in World Wide Rave, on the
other hand, hinges on identifying the kind of content that your
audience actually wants to consume. A ‘world wide rave’, he says, is
when millions of web users out there will then find their own ways to
share your story, because they are genuinely excited about it.
All this sounds good in theory of course, but the really hard part is
creating really appealing online content. Of course, Scott has plenty
of recommendations on that.
First, he says, forget about your company and its products. You’re
trying to excite your audience, remember, not bore them senseless with
Next, make your content remarkable. You want to get your audience
talking and inspire them to share your material. Create something that
is highly useful, valuable, outrageous, funny, or innovative. Or all of
It is critical, says Scott to give great content away for free. And
free means free: no email sign ups, just let them have it. Make it
highly accessible, through your website and blog, and on online
networks like YouTube and Facebook.
Finally, Scott admits that you can never be completely sure what will
take off. With this in mind, he recommends trying a number of different
approaches and vehicles.
Roll out a few ideas, and one of them is bound to work: because if
there’s one thing about the internet you can rely on, it’s that it’s an
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