Why a Legendary Album and a Viral Hoax Should Inspire You to Create Content That’s Worth a Damn

Why a Legendary Album and a Viral Hoax Should Inspire You to Create Content That’s Worth a Damn

Reader Comments (38)

  1. Why does something go viral? Because it makes a superficial connection with a large number of people, rather than an in-depth connection with a few.

    Peter Green was trying to make that in-depth connection with the few. He was intent on living up to some heroes. Adding something special of his own. And – a little bit – outdoing the other top people out there driving blues into something new – Messrs Clapton, Beck and Page.

    He didn’t want it to go viral. It was the last thing on his mind.

    And it tells you how to make something viral. Best summed up by Hitchhiker’s Guild to the Galaxy on Flying – “To fly, you must throw yourself at the ground and miss”.

    If you aim to go viral you won’t. If you communicate passion and create something genuinely new, then you might.

  2. The epic battle between writing for traffic or writing from the heart. Traffic is great until it blows up your server and you find out it goes away the next day. Writing from the heart is a great way to connect with readers, if they can find you ever, at all.

    Thanks for giving us a way to mix the viral with the substantial. Now to just make it work… hmmm… Viral headline, substantial content…

  3. I so appreciate the message in this piece. I’m at the beginnings of growing my online business and it is tempting to do “quick and dirty” because so many others APPEAR to be successful that way.

    The only thing is that I want integrity, not just followers. I do get a little anxious when one of the few FB followers I have drops out, but I’m determined not to let that distract me from creating real content — whether on my blog, my workshops or even my FB posts.

    I’ve always appreciated Copyblogger’s stance on quality content. Thanks for all the great links here. I’ve got a lot of studying to do!

  4. Demian, great piece. Intensity + creativity = legendary πŸ™‚ Creators need to break the “emotional sound barrier” to break through the noise.

    As the supply of content grows and outpaces the demand, these traits, along with substance, will become even more important.

    Content marketing can and should go beyond blogging to take advantage of emerging social and computing platforms. With smartphones, we all have a content “Tasmanian Devil” in the palm of our hands.

  5. Right. The viral stuff that’s entertaining will travel far and wide, but once you’ve read it and time moves on, you pretty much move on to other things as well.

    With the substance content, you want to go back to that content and read it again and again. It might give important information that you need now and you know you’ll need again later, so you save it – bookmark it or whatever – to go back to later.

    That’s what this site is for me – full of substance that I’ll probably never get entirely read, but I will come back to over and over to solve problems, get motivated and get ideas to write posts about.

    Thanks for the great content here!

  6. Yes Demian, affiliate marketing is a great way to earn income, and it still requires all the work you teach here. No short cut about it.

    In the Jerod Morris example you said “he couldn’t flip that traffic into significant sustained income.”

    So what are some things we can do to get the most out of a viral home run? Can you expand on this a bit here or post a link to other teachings on this?

    Thanks Chief,

    • Matthew,

      I’ll tell you one thing I could have done back then that I so, so, so wish I had done — but I just hadn’t learned it yet: build an email list. (Oh, if only I’d been a Copyblogger reader back then!)

      Sure, I had it set up so people could subscribe to an article digest, but that was it. If I’d been really smart, back when MSF was getting hundreds of thousands (sometimes millions) of views each month, and lots of repeat comments, I’d have developed an email list to give me a closer touch point with readers (as well as do more to develop community on the site). That, plus a content strategy that took a more long-term view as opposed to the short-term view that becomes so easy and addictive to have when revenue is based on ad impressions, would have really helped out.

      • One of my top priorities in 2014 is the email list, Jerod. Thanks for the reinforcement on this point. Can I go ahead and make a request for Copyblogger to write more about email marketing? πŸ™‚

        And I’ll be sure to include long term planning on my content. Another great point, Jerod. Gracias

  7. Hi Demian,

    We are always, or should always be, entertaining. Each blog post or newsletter or video or any content requiring a title should tell an entertaining story. Good note too about getting to the place of being compelling; brilliant minds achieved great things without destroying the body attached to the mind πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the awesome read!

  8. Going viral is an interesting thing and I think you highlighted some very good points for and against virality. My favorite takeaway: creating some substantial and mixing it with viral. If you can go viral AND have content that is worthy of coming back to months, even years later, you’ve definitely won. Nice!

  9. Finding that balance between viral and substantial is key. Thanks for this post. Video is a great way to do that, I think. One of my most successful posts was a video of an Amtrak train. It became popular among my friends and even now when I share it, it still gets clicks/views. Substance is key.

  10. Damn good content is damn hard to create but often the best kind.

    I completely agree with your viewpoint on combing the two: viral content and substance.

    I personally need to create more eBooks and give it out for free.

    Often, the legends of music and other industries are legends because of what they produced and created.

    Viral content can be compared to Miley Cyrus’s music or Justin Bieber’s. It gets huge amounts of views, but is it necessarily full of substance? No, not all.

    Now compare it to the Beatles. Some of their songs are full of connection and substance along with viral songs mixed within.

    With the combination of the two, you can become an unbeatable content producing machine.

    – Samuel

    • Those are great examples between substance and stunts … we know Miley because her stunts. Same with the new Beyonce album … once the stunt is over, are there any worthy songs?

  11. It depends on your desired outcome. Is that about making money or getting read by a lot of people? Of course both outcomes might be nice. But often, aiming for one and hoping for the other as a nice little add-on brings disappointment.

    The best way to go viral is to write to the hearts of your target audience. Its they who determine whether your writing merits viral status.

  12. I’m just sitting here wondering why I’ve never heard of Peter Green or this Fleetwood Mac album, Then Played On. Forget all the other shit. Never mind the hoaxes and cliff hangers, I can’t believe this album got past me.

  13. Great article! I am a huge Peter Green fan. Of late I haven’t been publishing more than one post a month on my blog because I have been involved with other projects (including John Morrow’s guest blogging course). I usually publish one post a fortnight on average.

    This bothered me for a while. But because I am a regular visitor to the Copyblogger Website I decided that rather then publish an average post every second week, it’s better to publish an epic post every month.

    Thanks for writing a fascinating article as always Demian.

  14. I like the fact that Demian made a strong division between substantial and viral – aiming at both is simply suicidal! Still viral doesn’t mean worser, no way – it’s just temporary and that’s all. Yes, it would drive you enormous boost in traffic, but for a period of time – so aiming purely at virality is like shooting in a forest chaotically for sake of hunting – nonsense. But publishing solid content consistently and being driven for it solidifies you and raises your chances for public acclaim and success.

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