What makes content go viral? We might have some intuitive guesses about humor and psychology, but that simple question has a complex, mysterious answer. In 2014, however, researchers across the world published interesting studies about what makes us want (or not want) to click. For example, happiness drives shares, and longform content (2,000+ words) gets shared more than shortform content.
Since all publishers want their output to catch fire, I recommend checking out Tessa Wegert’s digestible roundup of your need-to-know viral takeaways from 2014.
A bit of meta-madness from Contently EIC Joe Lazauskas—a listicle about listicles. Unsurprisingly, this article includes multiple mentions of listicles about bathroom humor. Jokes aside, the piece offers an interesting snapshot of how brands are thinking about using lists for their sponsored content. Even as people bemoan the low-brow appeal of numbered articles, they love to read “14 Thoughts Everyone Has While Restroom Snooping.” That’s real, by the way.
As a basketball junkie, this may be my all-time favorite piece of branded content. Los Angeles Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have teamed up for a web series to promote the new Jordan Super.Fly 3, and the athletes are actually funny. If they were cast in the leads of Ride Along 2, I would see that movie. For now, I’ll settle for “BGCP3TV in HD.”
The show, which has two episodes thus far and is co-written by Chappelle’s Show co-creator Neal Brennan, smartly lets humor drive the marketing. As Dillon Baker writes, “The show never pretends like it isn’t an ad, embracing the absurdity of promotion with purposefully hammed-up mentions of the shoe.”
For brands and publishers looking for quality referral traffic, LinkedIn offers perhaps the best opportunity to interact with a high-value audience. As Amanda Walgrove reports, “LinkedIn’s ads program is the holy grail of hyper-targeting—particularly for B2B marketers. The platform lets you target audiences based on location (down to the city), gender, age, LinkedIn groups they belong to, skills, and even schools they attend or graduated from.”
Contently’s senior managing editor, Ryan Galloway, who also happens to be the company’s resident style icon for his impressive collection of shawl collar sweaters, penned an insightful piece this week about an essential element of any successful content strategy: a talented brand editor.
I’ll let Galloway take it away: “For audiences to trust brands, those brands need to trust their editors. This often means marketers have to release control and rely on editors to keep content free of product pitches and brand mentions. Striking this balance between church and state isn’t easy, but it’s oh so necessary.”
Amen. May we all get shawl collar sweaters as holiday presents.