Marketing Stunts: Coming Up with a Brilliant Angle

Throughout marketing history, one of the most effective and unconventional ways of marketing a product is to use a marketing stunt. The cake company that made the world's largest cake, for example, launched a successful company off the back of a single marketing campaign. History is littered with such examples. How can you come up with an idea like that for your company? Something that will really get the attention of both media and potential customers? Here's how.

Start Journaling

The moment you decide to start coming up with potential marketing ideas, you're going to start having ideas in some very strange places. You might think of an idea while in the car. Or while in the shower. Or out running, or while eating a meal. Write all these ideas down. Come back to these ideas later and elaborate on them.

Brainstorm with Other People

Don't try to brainstorm everything on your own. Even if you're the head of your company, try to get other people involved, even if they're just friends in the same industry. Many founders struggle with the belief that they're better off doing things on their own rather than bringing other people on board to help. This is especially common when it comes to coming up with new ideas.

It's very hard to let go of the idea you need to take sole responsibility to come up with good ideas. But if your company is going to grow, it needs to happen. That's why companies like Google encourage their employees to spend 20% of their paid work time on their own ideas. Google knows that Larry Page and Sergey Brin can't come up with enough good ideas to sustain the company. The lesson: get other people involved with the brainstorming process.

Ask Yourself: How Can I Make This Even Bigger?

Anytime you come up with an idea that sounds good, ask yourself how you can make the idea even bigger. Let's say you're promoting a marketing product and you decide to host a contest where you give away two all-expenses paid trips to a marketing conference. Instead of just hosting the contest and publishing it on your website, ask yourself: how can I make this even bigger?

You might partner with the marketing conference to open the conference up to all participants. You might do an ad buying campaign to let everyone in the industry know about the contest. These two ideas could take your idea from a 500-person exposure project to a 10,000-people exposure project.

Always ask yourself: how can I make this even bigger?

If you follow these three tips - writing down all your ideas, brainstorming with other people and asking yourself how you can make things even bigger - you'll quickly develop some winning high-impact campaigns.

What Kind of Content Tends to Go Viral?

Very little online content goes viral without deliberate planning. If you're trying to get your content to "spark" and go viral, it really helps to have a strong understanding of what kind of content tends to go viral.

Of course, nobody can accurately predict what will go viral, nor can they make something go viral 100% of the time. But by understanding what kind of content tends to go viral, you stand a much better chance of creating something that will be shared.

Here are a few of the main attributes of things that tend to go viral.

It's Human Nature

It's rare that a factual video goes viral. Instead, it's usually human interest videos that capture the public imagination. The singing homeless man on the street; the baby laughing at something senseless; An incredible display of guitar prowess.

Strong Emotional Content

The more emotions you can arouse in your audience, the better. Let's take one of the world's most viewed videos, the "Charlie Bit my Finger" video. The video features a baby whose brother bit his finger; he sits there laughing and complaining at the same time. This video has an astounding 367 million views at the time of this writing. That's more than the population of the United States! One of the main reasons this video took off so strongly is because of how palpable the emotions were in the video. The watcher can almost "follow along" with the baby's emotions and also experience the joy of playing with a baby brother.

Videos That Provide Unique Information

Another type of content that does really well are videos that are uniquely informational. The key here is that the videos really have to provide content that can't be found anywhere else. For example, one video that went viral featured a science professor showing how to light a candle without ever touching the wick. A content video that went viral during the 2008 election was a video of a dozen famous actors all asking people to vote (that was a new idea at the time - don't try it nowadays). Informational videos work in many different industries, but the most important thing is that there's something truly unique to them.

Content That Appeals to Specific Groups of People

Content that tends to appeal to specific groups of people tends to do very well if it has strong emotional or informational content. For example, political videos that are either informational or emotional can go viral just by being passed among a party's members. New food laws, something which may be seen as boring, could be very interesting to vegans if it affects the foods they'll be able to purchase. A video about the new laws could really take off among that specific community.

These are some of the factors that go into determining whether or not a video goes viral. At the end of the day, a video going viral really means that a lot of people want to pass on your content. The key, as with many other things in business, is to just create something so amazing that people want to share it.

Focus on creating awesome content that helps, entertains or inspires the people who need it most.