The fundamentals of great content
Making contagious content
(“Contagious”, Jonah Berger)
- Social Currency: ‘Appearances matter.’ Give your product – and its owner – social status by making it – and those who own/talk about it appear REMARKABLE (interesting, exclusive, distinctive, attractive, successful). Example: Blendtec’s Does it Blend Videos, Please Don’t Tell, a New York hidden bar, Rue La La’s secret flash sales…
- Triggers: ‘Top of Mind, Tip of Tongue.’ Associate your product with ideas and activities in people’s lives (moments – Kit Kat = break; colors — Coke = Red; music; words (more Mars candy stories in news during Mars pathfinder news story)
- Emotion: ‘When we care, we share’. Focus on what really matters and be ‘awe-some’ by asking the ‘3 Whys’ (Why is this product important?, why is that important?, and why is that important?) and striving to evoke ‘awe’ – the sense of wonder and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, sublimity. Example – Google’s Search On campaign (how to impress a French girl)
- Public: ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’: Make adoption and use, publicly visible and copyable – e.g. Prostate cancer Movember campaign, Nike Livestrong
- Practical value: ‘News you can use’ Should be Useful – in a short, straightforward, and simple way – for you, and for who you share it with. Example, a corn on the cob tip on YouTube gets 7M+ views. The Power of Lists (buzzfeed style news)
- Stories: ‘Once Upon a Time’ – Your product should be wrapped up/communicated in a shareable (human) story or narrative – e.g. Subway – Jared Fogle story, went from 60″ waist to 34″ eating Subway sandwiches. But ensure your product is an integral part of the story (many people forget the product that is advertised in story-based ads/word of mouth)
The power of word of mouth
(“Buzzmarketing”, Mark Hughes)
- Face-to-face attention competes with no other media, grabbing undivided attention.
- Credibility- when a friend, neighbor, coworker, or a family member tells you about a great movie, product, or service, you believe them
- The six buttons of buzz
- Taboo (sex, lies, bathroom humor)
- The unusual
- The outrageous
- The hilarious
- The remarkable
- The secrets (both kept and revealed)
- Understand consumer insight in order to more effectively capture your environment, and audience.
Newsjacking (What to look for):
Leveraging news that is relevant to your company or product for promotion
- The David-and-Goliath story (Is there an overbearing conglomerate competing against you? Instigate a spectacle for the news to cover, and hold on for the onslaught)
- The unusual or outrageous story (controversy over rising issues in your respective field can be leveraged to highlight the benefits of your brand)
- The celebrity story (find celebrities who enjoy your product, and would be open to endorsing)
- What’s already popular in the media (If your brand is related to pop culture, draw a clear connection between the two)
The Hook Model
(“Hooked”, Nir Eyal)
- Trigger: A trigger is the actuator of behavior-the spark plug in the engine. Triggers come in two types: external and internal. Habit-forming products start by alerting users with external triggers like an e-mail, a Web site link, or the app icon on a phone. For example, suppose Barbara, a young woman in Pennsylvania happens to see a photo in her Facebook News Feed taken by a family member from a rural part of the state. It’s a lovely picture and because she is planning a trip there with her brother, the external trigger’s call to action intrigues her and she clicks. By cycling through successive hooks, users begin to form associations with internal triggers, which attach to existing behaviors and emotions. When users start to automatically cue their next behavior, the new habit becomes part of their everyday routine. Over time, Barbara associates Facebook with here need for social connections.
- Action: Following the trigger comes the action: the behavior done in anticipation of a reward. The simple action of clicking on the interesting picture in her news feed takes Barbara to a Website called Pinterest, a “social bookmarking site with a virtual pinboard.”
This phase of the Hook, as described in chapter 3, draws upon the art and science of usability design to reveal how products drive specific user actions. Companies leverage two basic pulleys of human behavior to increase the likelihood of an action occurring: the ease of performing an action and the psychological motivation to do it.
Once Barbara completes the simple action of clicking on the photo, she is dazzled by what she sees next.
- Variable Reward: What distinguishes the Hook from a plain vanilla feedback loop is the Hook’s ability to create a craving. Feedback loops are all around us, but predictable ones don’t create desire. The unsurprising response of your fridge light turning on when you open the door doesn’t drive you to keep opening it again and again. However, add some variability to the mix–suppose a different treat magically appears in your fridge every time you open it–and voila, intrigue is created. When Barbara lands on Pinterest, not only does she see the image she intended to find, but she is also served a multitude of other glittering objects. The images are related to what she is generally interested in–namely things to see on her upcoming trip to rural Pennsylvania–but there are other things that catch her eye as well. The exciting juxtaposition of relevant and irrelevant, tantalizing and plain, beautiful and common, sets her brain’s dopamine system aflutter with the promise of rewards. Now she’s spending more time on Pinterest, hunting for the next wonderful thing to find. Before she knows it, she’s spent forty-five minutes scrolling.
- Investment: The last phase of the Hook Model is where the user does a bit of work. The investment phase increases the odds that the user will make another pass through the Hook cycle in the future. The investment occurs when the user puts something into the product of service such as time, data, effort, social capital, or money. However, the investment phase isn’t about users opening up their wallets and moving on with their day. Rather, the investment implies an action that improves the service for the next go-around. Inviting friends, stating preferences, building virtual assets, and learning to use new features are all investments users make to improve their experience. These commitments can be leveraged to make the trigger more engaging, the action easier, and their reward more exciting with every pass through the Hook cycle. As Barbara enjoys endlessly scrolling through the Pinterest cornucopia, she builds a desire to keep the things that delight her. By collecting items, she gives the site data about her preferences. Soon she will follow, pin, repin, and make other investment which serve to increase her ties to the site and prime her for future loops through the hook.