Kickstarter did a great post on the Potato Salad project, examining how a rather unambitious project goes viral and rakes in more than $55,000. (And if you don’t know what I am talking about when I say “Potato Salad”, what deep dark dank hole have you been crouching in for the past month? Here, take my hand and let me pull you up.)
The post examined how an Internet sensation gets started.
We’ve always told clients (and prospects) that if their marketing plan says “and then we go viral” we’re going to kick them out of our cushy global headquarters and slam the door behind them. You can add elements to your implementation that support and make it easy for people to send your content to a friend but you can’t plan for viral. Viral happens. Viral happens when you create something so awesome that everyone and their brother, sister, mother, uncle, cousin wants to send to a friend. Or something so funny. Or touching. Or sweet. Or weird. Viral happens when you get lucky and the right person forwards it to the right person and so on. Even people who have previously created something viral can’t replicate it on demand. True viral is a tall order.
But viral does happen. How? As I read about the Potato Salad project, one thing stood out to me…
“Zack’s project started popping up in the press almost immediately. On July 6th, three days after it went live, Zack was on local TV news in Columbus, Ohio, expressing amazement at how the thing had blown up. At the time he had fewer than 200 backers.”
That’s right. Local TV news. The mass media got it rolling after the creator positioned the project as a crazy raging success.
Like many people, I “saw it first” on social media but I would wager that the early social media visibility was liberally aided and abetted by good old mass media. That first local TV news story was probably enthusiastically pushed out by people who saw it. (“Check this.” “So funny!” “I know you love potato salad; you should get in on this!”) More than 2000 stories were written about the project, all fodder for the viral fire.
So crowdfunders — What’s your story? How will you make it awesome? How will you capture the imagination of potential funders? And how will you be pitching it to the mass media?
I spent some time this week at the Maine Startup & Create Week – which was so well done, BTW — fantastic city/fantastic people and amazing event. On Monday, one of the panels was called “Women and Entrepreneurship.” I’m not sure if it was a stroke of genius, or highly ironic, but the panel was held in the Portland Masonic Temple — yes, the fraternal order of Masons which largely excluded women for centuries. Read more
(As many of you know, I also started Innovation Nights 5 years ago. In this time more than 600 new products have been launched at our Boston region events and we are currently expanding into other cities. It is in this role that I write here today.)
Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the UP Summit in Las Vegas (100 degrees but it is a “dry heat”.) The gathering of 550+ startup community leaders billed itself as the largest such gathering in the world. In my role as one of the Startup Massachusetts advisers, I had previously attended the Startup America summits in Colorado and Chicago, and I have been looking forward to getting back in the game with this event, and checking out what has been going for startups on in Las Vegas. It was also a good time for me to consider some changes and additions to the Innovation Nights model. Read more
Can we talk?
I know you are all awesome at your jobs. I mean, “What Happens in Vegas…” is a true classic, spawning a thousand imitators but I think you missed something. This is an example of not getting to know your potential customer well enough. Read more
There’s a common argument among PR and marketing people: is the most effective marketing and messaging created by those who use the product? For example, should you stack your dating website marketing team with young singles? Should your beard trimmer PR team be populated with hirsute men? Or can any good marketer come up with the goods? Read more
Yes, we had to shut down our comments.
As a small business, we couldn’t afford to put someone on the job of daily cleaning out the hundreds of spam comments left on our website. And since so many of our clients (OK, pretty much all of them) come in from referrals, this isn’t a priority. Read more
Hundreds of blog posts have been written about how to get people to comment on your blog. In today’s social media happy world, often it is easier for people to click a button, share the post on their social media pages (retweet it, share it on LinkedIn or Facebook) and comment on it there. Having comments on your blog is not an imperative – a blog without comments may have been shared on Twitter hundreds of times and only the blog owner (and Google Analytics) knows how many times it was viewed in its original form. Read more
Like most marketers, I am constantly on the lookout for and appreciate fine marketing wherever I see it. I love it when I see genius reflected in someone’s marketing tactics or strategies. I love to see entertaining and informative marketing programs, well-written copy, great images. They make me happy. Sound like a fortune cookie? It should — we’re talking about Today’s Marketing Cookie. Read more
Our monthly event, Mass Innovation Nights, and our annual celebration of Boston’s entrepreneurial scene, BREW (Boston Region Entrepreneurship Week), are teaming up with MassConnect for Boston’s Innovation Connector BREW Cruise on Thursday, August 1! This will be an exciting opportunity to connect with local entrepreneurs and innovators while enjoying an after work cruise around Boston Harbor.
Boston Event Guide and the Society of Young Professionals are offering the cruise as part of their Rush Hour After Work Cruise Series.
What: Boston’s Innovation Connector BREW Cruise (Aboard the Provincetown II)
Date: Thursday, August 1
Time: 5 P.M. boarding begins, 5:30 P.M. ship departs
Where: 200 Seaport Blvd on the Commonwealth Pier
Price: $20, purchase tickets
Boston’s Innovation Connector BREW Cruise will begin boarding at 5 P.M. and the ship will depart at 5:30 P.M. sharp. The cruise ship, Provincetown II, features open air decks, fully stocked bars offering hot and cold drinks and a variety of light snacks including pizza and hot dogs. The cruise will depart from Bay State Cruise Co. located at 200 Seaport Blvd on the Commonwealth Pier. The boat is located on the Boston side of the World Trade Center/Seaport Building.
Co-marketing, cross-promoting or joint marketing programs are a time-honored tradition and one we have seen on the rise. One industry that does a fabulous job of co-marketing is the automotive industry. Over the last few weeks, as Mass Innovation Nights (our innovation/entrepreneurial minded alter-ego), we’ve been working with Lincoln Motor Cars as they bring their multi-city “Hello Again!” tour to Boston. We’re thrilled to be able to showcase several Mass Innovation Nights products in the Boston Hello Again Hub space and get them visibility on the Hello Again website. (Check it out if you’d like a test drive!) Read more