How to Incorporate Pop Culture into Content Strategy

Why are Mashable, Reddit, Quora, Medium, Buzzfeed so popular? They can easily boast of maximized content engagement. But what else have they done to grow traffic to their websites?

Such words as viral, buzz, gifs, memes, conversion, and stickiness, became the lingua franca of growing traffic and branding.

Nowadays, you can find various crowdcultures around such topics as fantasy films (where there can be thousands of sub-branches including Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Star Wars and the like). 3D printing, zombies (that is a separate topic that can take more than 10 volumes to write about), etc.

Social media has expanded these topics. With a few easy clicks, you can find the most popular websites that suggest breaking news on everything catchy and alluring for the audience.

It is not a secret any more there exist 6 STEPPS of making your content contagious according to Jonah Berger. They are Social Currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public, Practical Value and Stories. But do you really think they can become a panacea for every content you write? Not likely. Critics say the STEPPS are very vague and the important information is hidden, so that the readers should take notes to make it clear at the end.

Let’s try to make your content viral and grow your traffic on the pop culture yeast.

Step 1 – Tap into a Viral Trend

First, you should find a phenomenon that is on the peak of its viral growing tendency.

The best ways to discover the most well-known topics, stories, and trends are thoroughly described by Search Engine Watch. It is obvious that if such a search item “Royal Wedding” was on top of the hottest news searches in 2011, it will be far from top in 2016. Have a look at the comparison result from Google Trends (I have randomly taken “Star Wars” as a second search item):

star-wars-royal-weeding

Star Wars vs. Royal Wedding search statistics in 2016

The same is when we talk about personalities. Donald Trump was the fourth on the list of top trending people in 2015, while now he outnumbers the top searched person in 2015, Lamar Odom.

donald-trump-lamar-odom

Donald Trump vs. Lamar Odom search statistics in 2016

However, that doesn’t mean that you should choose Donald Trump or Star Wars to start making their fans crazy. Just cast an eye at the following screen shot to have a clue what I’m talking about:

trump-star-wars-game-of-thrones

Donald Trump vs. Star Wars vs. Game of Thrones search statistics in 2016

Yeah, Game of Thrones has become a giant that engulfs everything in social media and on the Internet in general. I’m not inclined to fantasy very much, but it has stirred my imagination, when I started thinking about the amount of traffic they may bring. Game of Thrones’ traffic explosion was even given a huge appreciation post by Ehren Goossens on SimilarWeb. Episode 5 has brought more traffic than any episode by this time. More than that, it caused all the Internet porn traffic to slide down on its first night.

game-of-thrones-dreamgrow

Game of Thrones statistics via Pornhub Insights

That doesn’t mean (of course) that you should immediately run to your website and post something about Game of Thrones or its characters. No, that would be ridiculous. You should drab the juice of the idea – choose a trend wisely.

Step 2 – Add a Spicy Element

What I mean here is anything that will stir people’s imagination and make them like your content.

First, begin with a title. Use the words that convert. Such items as “because”, “amazing”, “new”, “secret” and 185 other words are among them. You may also use time indicators like “2016”, “review”, and the like.

Another thing – mind-blowing words like “naked”, “kiss”, “bed scenes”, etc. Just have a look at the question on Quora that just bursts with the views, followers, and answers.

game-of-thrones-quora

Game of Thrones popularity in Quora

Well, I’m not against them, but be smart – don’t make your content vulgar and low-minded.

A bit of controversy has never been extra. It was actually the element that contributed greatly to The Renegade Pharmacist’s post about a can of coke. According to Ahrefs case study, the coke info-graphic was shared by such mammoth-like Internet contagious bugs as The Huffington Post, The Telegraph, etc.

A spicy element is what can make your readers feel strong emotions. It spices their brains and lets them feel awesome. Such emotions as outrage are also emotions. But don’t go too far.

Step 3 – Take an Action

Acting is one of the most necessary steps here. What do you usually do, when you have written the article and posted it? Yep, you share it. Share your work everywhere. But again – don’t go too far and don’t invade all social media at once.

Or – if you are so eager to share it everywhere you are registered, you can divide the share time into parts. What I mean – share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn the day it is published, the next day share it on the other 4 social media, and so on. Thus, you’ll have a good deal of shares, but they won’t seem very spammy and intrusive.

More than that, you may ask people to share it. One very delicate moment – don’t beg and plead. That won’t work. Just say in your message/e-mail that you have written an article and if a person you are writing to would like to have a look at it. Then, after you get an answer, you may send the link.

Taking an action also implies something very tangible. It may be even something like throwing Felix Baumgartner from outer space, just like Red Bull did.

redbull-stratos-campaign

Red Bull Stratos

And that’s how many that backlinks and shares they got:

redbull-stratos-stats

Red Bull Stratos Statistics

Step 4 – Share at the Right Time and in the Right Place

That’s what happened to the info-graphic with a can of coke we have talked about earlier. Niraj from The Renegade Pharmacist shared it on Reddit and hundreds of people immediately saw it.

He shared the coke info-graphic in the particular subreddit:

reddit-interesting-subreddit

Via Reddit

What I mean by sharing at the right time is that, actually, there are exact hours when people are more active on their social media profiles. Most Twitter users, for instance, are online between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m. according to the following graphic:

most-followers-online

Via Bufferblog

Here are some places you might consider sharing your content too:

  • Reddit (but don’t go too promotional)
  • Quora
  • Facebook groups
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • ly – if it’s an info-graphic
  • Forums (especially niche specific ones)

Just do what Buzzfeed does (and they know how to engage their audience):

buzzfeed-engaging-titles

Buzzfeed engaging titles

Step 5 – Get to Press

You may use Ahrefs Site Explorer to find the needed journalists who can write about your piece of news, criticize it, make fun of it (whatever, unless it links to your original content) on the most popular websites. Negative feedback is also a feedback. Remember that.

buzzfeed-top-posts

Buzzfeed Top Post articles

The crucial thing here whether they will want to write about your content. It is obvious that the leading journalists will not make you the center of their attention. They are very busy and they have no time for the trash (actually, it is usually spam) they receive in their e-mails. Learn how to reach them first. Find out at what time they usually tweet/post, what friends they have, connect with their friends and ask them to introduce you. That’s not always very resultative, but there may be a guy who knows at least one journalist in person and who can do such a favor.

Virtually, to make them want share your work or write about it, you should follow all the above-mentioned steps to make your content go viral.

Let me know about the result. Share your experience.


raymond
BIO: 
Raymond Stokes – a digital marketing expert and head of Marketing at law-essay-profy.com. He has been working here for more than 3 years and is obsessed with his work. He is responsible for communication, marketing and business development of the company.  In addition to strategic development, Raymond covers branding, media relations, advertising, and website development.

At UCLA Ray studied Social Network Analysis, Community Detection, Spectral Graph Theory, Information Technology & Design, and Digital Storytelling and Multimedia. But start-ups and social media kindle his interest most. The age of Internet and technologies has brought an immense space for creativity and development.

His life motto is as follows: “No matter how you start – the essential thing is when and where you do it”.

Having started with a personal freelancing business, Raymond has gained a firm footing in marketing and entrepreneurship. The very beginning of growth is a very inspiring moment, when you feel that sky is not your limit and you can rock the mountains.

However, nothing lasts forever, and every moment you should look into the future and find new ways to build yourself up. If you do not strive to improvement, you never get anything.

Follow Ray on Twitter to find out more about the best marketing strategies and social media news.


Photo credit: VisualHunt

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