When someone leaves a comment on my blog, it’s like a drug. I feel a slight physical rush of endorphin and adrenaline. I beam with pride for a split second… and soon I crave more of it.
Strike the social media ‘Jackpot’ and get a huge buzz + hundreds of comments. Image: Rich & Becky
But unfortunately, when you first start blogging or using social media sites, the recognition you get for all your hard work is usually pathetic. Exhausted after busting ass for the virtual equivalent of $0.07 cents an hour in comments, most bloggers quit too soon. But if you are both creative and persistent enough – you’ll eventually strike The Jackpot.
‘The Jackpot’ is what I call the spectacular, avalanche-like chain reaction when several thousand people buzz over your latest content… and many of them leave comments & share it with their followers.
Focusing on these 6 key elements will boost your odds of striking it big:
1. The headline is key.
If you headline isn’t compelling, people will never even click the link to see your content in the first place. The top, big-money copywriters sometimes spend a week writing an advertisement and then they spend an entire week tweaking the headline. It’s that important. Don’t ever treat the headline as an afterthought. For an important piece, you should open up a text editor and write out 20 variations of the headline and pick the best. Then DM or IM a trusted friend and ask for their tweaks and feedback.
2. Visual appeal is key.
Beautiful design + images draw people into your content & keep them reading. image: j. Philipson
If you want people take your message seriously and recommend it to all their friends…looks matter The visual appeal of your content includes both your site’s logo, design, and text typography — and also the images you use to illustrate your points. If you aren’t good with graphic design & CSS you need to either learn it or else hire a professional designer to make your site look slick. And if you don’t know about image resources for bloggers like Flickr Creative Commons, Wikimedia commons and commercial stock photo sites – you should take time to learn about them before you hit “Publish” again.
3. Timing is key.
Impeccably timing your content can have an explosive effect. image: baking with medusa
Breaking news in your industry can score you major buzz. If you don’t have an inside scoop, you can create your own news by summarizing what has happened recently and adding your perspective to it. Creating content to coincide with a holiday, release date, or industry announcement can also work wonders. One of my most successful pieces was a parody of Microsoft ads, submitted to Digg the day after the site announced an unpopular advertising partnership with Microsoft. I noticed that the community was starting to grumble, so I stayed up all night and cranked out something to exploit their anti-Microsoft sentiment. It probably wouldn’t have hit so big at any other time.
4. Intuition is key.
Use the collective intelligence of the social web to sharpen your intuition. image: kees straver
Social media is a digital reflection of the non-local, collective consciousness of everyone online. If you can intuitively sense what the collective is thinking or craving, you can create a monster hit. But the only way to cultivate this intuition is through extensive experience and active presence in the trenches of social media.
Spend at least an hour a day on popular content aggregation sites like TweetMeme, PopURLs, Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious to see what is generating massive buzz. Ask questions on Twitter and do searches to see what people are burning to know about.
Then mix the successful formulas you discover on aggregator sites with your own ideas and angles until a burning, exploding, bomb flash of creativity jolts through you. When you burst with out-loud with laughter or quiver with excitement over your own idea… you’re onto something. Check it out with a friend or two and see if it moves them, too. If they think it’s a likely winner, go for it!
5. Influential friends are key.
If someone influential tweets your content, blogs about it or submits it to Digg… thousands more people are likely to take a look at it. Therefore, it’s important to spend time befriending powerful social media users. Follow them, chat with them, help them out, read their blogs and leave comments, promote their content and eventually they will notice you. And if they like you and your stuff, they might be willing to help you back. Yes, it takes a lot of time to network with people, but this is social marketing, after all. If you don’t know where to find powerful influencers, here are some places you can start looking.
6. Persistence is key.
Build your empire one story at a time. Keep trucking, don’t look back. image: Liber
If you walk into the casino with a half-dozen quarters, odd are high that you’re gonna walk out empty handed. Same will happen if you write 6 blog entries and then give up. You’ve gotta be willing to try dozens, or even hundreds of times, if you wanna hit the big time. While writing for Social Media RockstarI have gotten discouraged, slightly depressed and I even wanted to quit a couple of times. Some of my posts didn’t go very far, but the few that did generate bigger buzz made it all worthwhile. So expect 75% or more of your posts to fail, and keep on trying and improving your game each time!
You’ll Know You’ve Stuck the Jackpot, When…
- Your inbox spits out comment notification e-mails like a machine gun.
- You get more ReTweets in an hour than you’ve gotten in the previous year.
- There’s so many questions from new followers & in comments that it’s hard to answer ‘em.
- Your piece suddenly goes popular on other social networks you didn’t submit it to.
- Your contact form returns press & business inquiries.
- Trackbacks in appear in languages you can’t even identify, proving global popularity.
When the chain reaction explodes… you might find yourself ‘glued to the screen’ and excited to the point that you physically feel (or hear) your heartbeat racing. Take a deep breath, and try to think clearly about how to best spread the bushfire while it’s still blazing. Alert your friends to help fan the flames, add new social voting buttons and submit it to niche social sites, and do what you can to respond to comments and mails… making connections and turning your new visitors into subscribers or customers.
But there’s only so much you can do before all the attention will psychologically overwhelm and exhaust you. At that point… it’s totally okay to shut the lid on your laptop, open the lid on a beer and congratulate yourself on a job well done. You rocked it!
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Brett Borders, the author of this article, is a professional copywriter who specializes in increasing website sales and signup rates. I'm available now to write for your website and optimize it for maximum sales and profits. Please contact me now for a free consultation.