Viral Social Media, Dissected
By Suzanne Cordatos
|The Singing Salutatorian|
Mouse-squeaks of jealousy vie for attention in my brain with admiration over his cleverness at going viral. How did he do it? What did he say? What did he eat for breakfast? Can I have some, too?
I've been brainstorming ways to "trap" new readers and "train" them to want my
upcoming books. It sounds manipulative, but it is simply a matter of locating my potential audience and figuring out how to provide them the opportunity to
read a book I think they will love. I’ve got time, about a year—plenty of time
to dissect the success of other writers.
|Which way to the readers?|
Choosing popular songs from each of his four years of high school, Greg Corning sang his speech, changing the words of hit songs to be meaningful to his classmates. Apparently, WHS endured heavy renovations this past year, because his take on Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball got a big reaction.
Viral-ness isn’t necessarily our goal as writers, but book promotion? Absolutely. Sweeping the globe with my best ideas between book covers? Sign me up! Like the recently viral (but now ancient) Gangnam-style dance, it’s impossible to predict what wacky idea will gain a huge following next, but let’s pick apart this WHS speech like an unfortunate subject of a high school Biology lesson to see what scratches its way into our memories. Perhaps we can add one or more of these ideas to our next book promotion to boost its popularity and success. The Salutatorian's speech hit all of these hot buttons:
Popular – within seconds, the audience recognized the songs and could hum along to every note.
Familiar—like blue jeans, people like what is comfortable. The songs were familiar, and his words told stories everyone already knew about their shared experience.
Surprising—nobody expected a song in place of a speech. The matserial was familiar but fresh. Like editors say, there is no new story under the sun, just different ways of telling it.
Range of emotion— from funny to sentimental, practical to emotional to inspirational, the range of emotions in his lyrics kept the audience awake and interested, poised for what’s next.
Audience-focused—audience members could feel as if parts had been written expressly for them alone.
Heart-filled—presented with sincerity, nobody doubted that the speaker cared for the audience and was fully committed to his idea. No hesitation, no apologies for the unconventional method. Simple and heart-felt.
QUESTION: Have you discovered any other hot buttons that work to attract attention? Have you used any of the above tactics to achieve a desired result in your own promotions?