Viral Marketing Chat with Jesse Aaron @JesseAarone #VCBuzz

jesse-vcbuzzQuick announcement first! We have launched another #MBUstorm challenge! Win $1000 by brainstorming every day with us: Check the details here. Also, quick thanks to our partners: @MyBlogU, @BuzzStream, @sitegeekcom and @firstsiteguide.

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Now let’s welcome our today’s guest @JesseAarone

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About Jesse

.@JesseAarone is an Online PR Specialist at WebpageFX and a freelance writer, currently contributing to The Guardian, Venture Beat, and more. He also runs a blog & forums about social media marketing on Mashbout.

Please circle Jesse at Google Plus

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a writer and marketer? What’s your story?

Started off doing traditional PR for a non-profit sector in Philadelphia and transitioned over to digital. Went headlong into SEO and digital marketing. Started contributing to many sites and building relationships/contacts. I enjoy the hustle and challenge to create content people may enjoy, whether it’s an article or an infographic. It’s a busy and crowded space, but when you do break through the clutter it feels amazing ?

Q2 You have written an exceptionally great piece on viral content and how it can be scraped. What’s the difference between scraping and repurposing?

At the core, scraping content is ctrl-c + crtl-v. It’s the step that comes before repurposing; however, it’s plagiarism if it’s the first and only step. Re-purposing is re-thinking content. It’s a standard in publishing/marketing. It’s the reason why 20 news sites cover the same story and they all earn traffic. Even though they have all scraped the same story, they have repurposed it to fit with their publication’s views and tones. The Best Vines of 2013 becomes the Best of Vines of 2014, just as the The Best Vines of 2013 becomes The Best *Cat* Vines. The best way to put it: “great poets imitate and improve, whereas small ones steal and spoil” (quote from Alfred Tennyson)

Q3 Is there any way to predict if the content is going to get viral?

It depends on how well (and how much) you pitch your content, but really, it comes down to timing and authority. If I pitch 50 sites and 20 small blogs decide to share it, it might not go viral but the client just got featured on 20 sites! If I pitch 10 sites and 1 high authority site like HuffPo decides to share it, I have a much better prediction for going viral.

If you had to predict *before* you pitch then it all comes down to planning.

Sure thing; you’re pitching an angle that aligns with their audience, so you can repurpose that story. You rewrite it for each publisher. Sometimes we’re pitching infographics so not as much writing is involved.

Nope, just a lot of personalized emails ? Yep sometimes it can be monotonous but it depends on the topic and the current events surrounding them.

Q4 What’s your best (viral) content marketing tactic? Do you have any examples to share?

Let’s say you have a client in a certain industry. First open up and

Start searching for hot topic terms in that industry and look for upvoted/spotlight news and events. The goal is to look for verification – any content that went viral or performed exceptionally well. It can even be something that started a hot debate in the comment sections but doesn’t have a lot of social signals. The next step is creative. You have to decide how to repurpose the content. Factors like seasons, worldly events, and currency can all influence the new direction.

I’ll show a recent example to help clarify. I noticed there were popular pieces of content about how much Americans spend on cars, but this was only from 2009. There weren’t any current pieces (2013-2014) of content that I thought effectively visualized this information. We worked with design to create this infographic. I started pitching to relevant sites and ultimately got picked up by the popular car blog Jalopnik. To date it’s received over 21,000 views and 190 comments! The topic was general enough for any car owner to comment, but targeted enough to be relevant in the automobile industry. And if you really are running a blank, try asking an editor/publisher. It’s their beat after all and they always have ideas.

Sure thing; it really depends on the industry. Anything in marketing I look at BuzzSumo. I really like Feedly too; you can customize feeds of news to match your client’s industry

Q5 You’ve mentioned that you are passionate about many things… What’s your advice to prioritizing and getting organized?

As far as productivity/org tools go, Basecamp @37signals is a boon to my day to day. Also, I use custom labels in Gmail religiously. I have 20-30 labels for every possible type of correspondence. This makes it incredibly easy to prioritize 50+ daily emails and plan out the day accordingly.

Yep! exs: write post, 1st try, 2nd try, follow-up, urgent, sent post, published, friends, denied post. I’ll use stronger colors for priority. Red + urgent notes. Green + published posts. etc.

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