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handtoface-cropLast week I saw a truly exceptional piece of content. It was a video made by Ian Danskin of Innuendo Studios.

The video is about Phil Fish. No wait. The video is about being an Internet celebrity and how one Phil Fish got there. No wait. The video is really about us and our inability to see the forest for the trees.

Watch the video, it’s truly fascinating.

In this post, I will talk about 3 methods that will get you more shares. Keep in mind that these methods can be used together or alone, but they’re most effective when combined.

But first, little bit of background. Feel free to skip to Methods if you’re in a hurry.

John Hall and I were talking last week about how he might be able to help Influence.co clients get greater distribution for their content.

After we chatted for a bit, he asked me if my methodology is written down somewhere. I was embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t.

My team and I have been so focused on building out Triberr as the content distribution platform that I’ve failed to pause and communicate how John -or you- might use it effectively.

So, here goes.

The Ideaidea

The idea is simple and ongoing. Figure out what sharing strategies work, build a platform that helps people do it at scale, and keep refining until done. And you’re never done. That is the idea of Triberr.

We started with “I share your stuff, you share mine” but we’ve now expanded the platform to use other methodologies.

I spend an embarrassing amount of time studying what makes content sharable. For example, check out this ridiculously exhaustive writeup about curiosity-gap headlines.

So I’ve developed a kind of framework. The idea behind the framework is that we’re all busy and you only want to do the most effective strategies that yield the greatest results.

Is your content sharable? Well, that will depend on the type of content you’re producing. Let’s see if this post is for you…

In my view, all content falls into 3 different categories.

No 1 – Brand-Created Content

For example, Dove’s video campaign from few years back. If you’ve never seen the video, it’s worth a peek.

I’m not going to examine the sharing mechanics of this type of content.  Why?

Because hiring dozens, often hundreds, of really smart people, and spending millions of dollars on ensuring the brand-created campaign goes viral is not that interesting to me.

I mean, are you telling me that a team of really smart, well paid people figured out how to make content go viral? Well golly, gee whiz Mr Cleaver. The hell you say.

No 2 – Cats

Ok, not really cats. But any content that is inherently spreadable (for example, a video of a guy getting hit in the nut sack).

You’re welcome, Internets.

Memes, babies, cats, dogs, guys falling on skateboards…all of these are examples of content that even if it spreads, it’s not useful to the creator.

This is fine, of course. Sometimes people contribute their ideas into our collective zeitgeist and they get nothing in return. Not even recognition. And that’s perfectly fine.

I’m not interested in shareability of this type of content but it teaches us an important lesson. And that lesson is…

Self interest and shareability are inversely proportional.

In other words, greater the self-interest, lower the chances of content spreading. This is why it takes millions of dollars to make branded content go viral.

And since we’re talking about cats, here’s a video about cats, because you know…I want you to share this post.

No 3 – Authority Content

Ok, that’s a dumb name for it. But I’m talking about content created by an individual who’s knowledgable about a certain topic and wants to be recognized for his authority in a specific field.

In other words, someone who doesn’t have a marketing team or millions of dollars to spend on getting his content shared. Also someone who doesn’t own a cat.

THIS is the type of content I’m interested in. How does content that benefits the reader AND the creator spread? How do you make that content sharable?

It’s not as easy as it appears at first glance. You’d think that useful content would spread easily but that’s unlikely.

For example. Say you’re reading an article about bankruptcy procedures. No matter how useful that article might be, chances are you’re not gonna share it for fear that people who see you share it might infer that you’re going through bankruptcy.

So, if your content falls into this 3rd category, then this methodology is for you.

Method 1 – Join a Tribe

When I first started blogging, I had a little widget on the right hand side that said something to the effect of “if you leave a comment, I’ll leave one on your blog. If you share my stuff, I’ll share yours”.

Not only was this incredibly effective in getting shares and traffic, but it was super effective at building a community. This community eventually became the first few hundred members of Triberr and now everyone on Triberr implements the same reciprocal system only on a much more massive scale.

When you really think about it, it’s a no brainer. You want shares? Give shares. BOOM! Done. It’s like that old commenting rule. You want 100 comments? Give 100 comments.

So when you sign up for Triberr the goal is to join a few tribes, share their stuff, and watch the karma kick in.

Method 2 – Build a Tribe

Everyone should be a leader of their own tribe. This way you control who’s in it.

If you invite people who’s content you love to read and love to share, you’ll build a great tribe. And they will appreciate being introduced to one another. You’ll become a connector.

I’ve written extensively about tribe building strategies in the past, so if you care to dig in, here are some links:

Destination Focused Tribe Building Strategy for Bloggers

Tribe Building Strategy for Multi Author Blogs

Top 3 Tribe Building Strategies for Bloggers

3 Master Tribe Strategies to Reach Multiplication

Method 3 – Get Followers

Ok, this is brand new. Well, kinda…

Triberr had this feature before but it was premium and it was called Atomic Tribes. We decided to make it free and rebrand it to something that everyone is used to. Followers.

I hear what you’re saying. Another social network where I need to gain followers in order to prove my self worth? Believe me, I understand. But this Follow is different. It’s actually useful.

When I Follow you on Triberr, I will get all your new posts in my Tribal Stream (it’s like Facebook’s Newsfeed) and I can consume your content the way I would in any RSS reader.

But I can also set you on Auto Share. On Auto, your posts will automatically get shared to my Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Needless to say, this Follow function with the Auto-set is for superfans and employees. Others will have limited use for it.

But what if 100 of your employees follow you on Triberr and you publish a new blog post on your company’s blog? If all 100 employees have connected both Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you are guaranteed 300 shares every time you publish new content.

And that’s a pretty good spread to start with.

Mechanical Turk

It takes little wrangling joining all the tribes, building a tribe of your own, and educating your superfans or employees about the benefits of getting the content shared, but once it’s in place, it’s a pretty sweet system.

Go sign up for Triberr and leave a comment if you have any questions.

SEO is fickle. PR is unreliable. And people have ad blindness. So how do you effectively promote your business then?

The answer for many is native advertising, but that’s not without its problems either.

Watch this video for a hilarious explanation of native advertising.

Native advertising delivers the advertising payload in a way that it looks like content.

That on its own doesn’t sound so bad. After all, content is how we learn things (teacher standing in front of the classroom is delivering content, after all).

The problem occurs when the fact that the content is an advertising payload is obscured, minimized, or not present at all.

And here’s something scary. Everybody is doing it. Even TIME Inc recently got in on the native advertising bandwagon.

Basically, if you’re reading content on any large site, chances are, someone has paid for it to be there.

And most of the time, the only way to know if it’s a paid placement is by reading the content and looking for a brand name referenced in a positive way.

john oliverIf you decided to skip John Oliver’s video, now you got the gist.

How To Fix Native Advertising

The idea is good. Let’s give people great content. There’s nothing wrong with that.

However, the idea is corrupted when the reader expects a “publisher of integrity” to deliver unbiased reporting. Instead, the publisher (like TIME, for example) takes money to write an article that the reader will perceive as genuine.

In theory, such content is supposed to be clearly marked. Alas, transparency, in many cases, relies on people’s “ad blindness”.  As in, “see, we disclosed it in this box overhere that looks like an ad”.

And that’s assuming the disclosure is present at all. Disclosures -even for publications such as New York Times- are shrinking by the minute.

So what is the solution?

Native Advertising model, meet the Spokesperson model

The native ad-content conundrum is easily solved when the publisher is a singular person of influence. The brand simply hires that person as its spokesperson.

The goal is to match the spokesperson with the brand in a way that makes sense for both. In other words, Michael Jordan and NIKE makes perfect sense.

Michael Jordan for Hanes makes slightly less sense. Michael Jordan for Beanie Babies, on the other hand, makes absolutely no sense what so ever, even tho MJ is awesome.

But once the match is made, the spokesperson is proud to announce his or her affiliation with the brand. All of a sudden, you go from “I’m sorry I had to write this shitty content in order to pay my rent” to ” I am proud to announce that I have been endorsed by so and so”.

And because influential solo-publishers (bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers) have a smaller but lot more attentive audience, the audience quickly understands that -at least some- content produced is in support of the brand’s initiatives.

Related: Beyond FTC Guidelines

Not My Idea

I’m sorry to say, but this is not my idea. This native ad+spokesperson marriage has been in existence for a long, long time.

Guy Kawasaki used to be a brand evangelist for Apple. Robert Scoble is a brand evangelist employed by RackSpace. Michael Jordan was a spokesperson for NIKE.

All these people are (or were) employed by the brand with the objective to evangelize the brand’s initiatives. Everyone understands that it’s their job to promote the brand, and nobody minds it. All 3 above given examples have done an amazing job of doing exactly that.

If only there was a way for any brand to hire influential bloggers as brand ambassadors and have these influencers create content that supports the brand’s initiative. Well, there is. Triberr.

Triberr enables any brand to hire up to 100 influential publishers (bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers) for a month+ long initiatives during which time the influencers not only create content, but they also work collaboratively on promoting it.

What would you do if you had up to 100 influential bloggers in your corner for a month? Proudly representing your brand. Producing content in support of your initiatives. Collectively sharing each other’s content in order to achieve maximum impact.

And don’t worry. Managing a marketing campaign consisting of up to 100 influential bloggers is super easy with Triberr. Click here to learn more.

eofireFew weeks ago I did an interview with Mr. Podcast himself, John Lee Dumas of the Entrepreneur on Fire fame. John asked me about my biggest failure and I told him about the time I forgot to renew Triberr domain name. 

That day will live in infamy for me. It was most definitely the worst of times, but in retrospect, it was also the best of times. In this short video you can hear the excerpt from out interview. Full interview is here.

I reference a blog post I published during that time, which is saved for posterity here.

For those of you reading this post via Triberr, RSS, or email, click here to watch the video.

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