It's not viral, it's a World Wide Rave

by David Spark on February 1, 2009

Everyone wants their stuff to go viral. I’ve had clients request it. And I’ve seen it in creative briefs: “We’ll create a viral campaign.”

What these people mean when they say they want to create something viral is they want to spread a piece of content, a product, or an idea on a network (The Internet) of which they have absolutely no control. If you could actually pull that off, who wouldn’t like that?

A friend of mine, David Meerman Scott, who I’ve interviewed on video and on my Be the Voice podcast (“It’s OK to be a dork online”) has written a new book “World Wide Rave” that I believe clearly explains the difference between what constitutes a bad viral campaign (cheap tricks to drive traffic) and what is a good viral campaign (triggers that people want to share). David sent me an advanced copy to read, and here’s a summary:

A bad viral campaign: Classic bait-and-switch tactics purely designed to draw attention and draw traffic (e.g. Win a free iPod). Any marketing or advertising company that promises to create something viral are often hucksters using old “fool the audience” tricks that only drive traffic for that specific campaign. Often the reason created to drive traffic to your site (e.g. see nude pictures of Jessica Simpson) has nothing to do with your product and as a result it does nothing to build relationships. Inevitably, once the “viral campaign” is over, the traffic and interest to your business is over as well. The viral David Spark with the World Wide Rave postercampaign built no good will with your audience.

A good viral campaign – When you create something that people want to share. And “want” is the operative verb. Since you can’t control your audience, the only way you’re going to be able to spread anything is if people “want” to share what you’ve created. In an effort to distance the good viral campaign from all the negative tricks associated with a bad viral campaign, Scott offers a new term, world wide rave, to indicate good viral marketing. What triggers and content are you creating that causes people to want to rave about it?

Smartly, Scott has decided to attempt a world wide rave of his own with his book. And so far it’s looking pretty good. He’s offering up high resolution images of his book cover out to anyone who wants to download one and print it out. All he asks is people take a photo of themselves with the poster and he’ll put it up in a gallery on his site.

If you’re not clear what it takes to create content that people want to share, then pick up and read “World Wide Rave.” You’ll see 30+ examples of people who successfully pulled off World Wide Raves.

Read my review of Scott’s last book, “Tuned In.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

David Meerman Scott February 2, 2009 at 6:44 am

Hey David. Thanks!! I really appreciate your thoughtful review of World Wide Rave.

BTW – some of my friends are pissed because you and a few others got advance copies (I only had a few).

The book officially launches March 3, 2009 but I’m told by my publisher that it will begin shipping from the online booksellers in the 3rd week of February.

Take care, David

Stan Dubin February 2, 2009 at 7:21 am

After reading probably ten thousand pages of articles, newsletters, posts and books on related subjects, I consider David Scott’s “New Rules of Marketing and PR” the most coherent, thorough statement of online marketing.

It was refreshing to see a book on online marketing meticulously avoid hype and fad. It concentrated on what works, and more importantly: on what had a real chance of working tomorrow as well. If you’re interested in online marketing tools that have more of a shelf life than 95% of the sales landing pages out there, get David’s “New Rules…” book.

Based on the quantity and quality of common sense I’ve seen David Scott put out there, I’ll be grabbing his World Wide Rave the moment it’s available.

Ephraim Loy February 2, 2009 at 11:39 am

Lucky you! You get to read the book first. I’m jealous.

Craig February 2, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I really enjoyed his last book as a great book for a beginner to online marketing. I am looking forward to this as the next step, and taking those new learned skills and implementing them the right way. Great that you had the chance to read it early, enjoyed the review and looking forward to this read. Was lucky and shot back a few tweets with DMS about it, and he gave some good tips as well.

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