Your firm just received a big shoutout in a major publication, and traffic to your site is spiking. How do you make the most of it? Take these six steps if you go viral when you least expect it.
“My article/post/video/project went viral! …now what?”
I have seen some variation of this question over and over again since I’ve been working in the financial advisory space.
It’s the marketing lottery: you randomly put out a piece of content here or there. Maybe a fired-up tweet. An inspired post. A well thought out article that the editor for MarketWatch agreed to publish.
And then, BOOM. It’s a huge press hit and it feels like the Internet—or at least a relevant part of it—is going crazy for this piece of content that you created. This is your 15 minutes of Internet fame. You’re in the spotlight. Your firm is the news. Everyone is talking (or tweeting) your name.
And just as soon as it happens, it’s gone. The crickets return and you’re left wondering, “Wait—where did everybody go?”
That’s the normal progression, anyway, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can actually leverage a massive press hit, if you’re proactive instead of reactive.
This Is Why You Need (Ongoing) Content
A steady drumbeat of content will make an enormous difference when you receive a big spike of attention from a press feature or other flow of concentrated attention to your brand.
Without a steady stream of consistent, high-quality content on your site (or on third-party sites, social media, and so on—whatever other channels you use), “going viral” in this sense is just going to be your 15 minutes of fame.
You’ll see an uptick in traffic. You might get a few more inquiries about your services. But that will die down. And it will nosedive fast, because news cycles move quickly. Editors, reporters, influencers and audiences will be quick to move on to the next thing.
And there is always a next thing waiting to nab the spotlight and leave you behind.
This is why you need content marketing. A huge feature or amazing press coverage becomes more “sticky” if you have a strong foundation of content to support it, and a system already in place to:
- Capture visitors from increases in web traffic; and
- Nurture those contacts over time and stay top of mind for them after their initial curiosity dies down.
But What If Your Huge Press Hit Already Happened?
That’s all well and good if you’re reading this before you received your huge press hit. But what if you’ve come here seeking advice because you’re in the middle of a massive traffic influx thanks to a great feature?
I hate to burst your bubble, but unless you had that content marketing strategy and machine in place, you might be out of luck this time around. Reactivity is not a great tactic when it comes to content marketing and organic PR.
Here’s the to-do item you need to put on your list immediately: Make a quick inbound marketing strategy and then implement it in a way that you can stick with. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, and it doesn’t mean you need to blog once a week or do anything you feel is unsustainable.
What you do need is a steady stream of messaging that publishes to your chosen channels if you want to best leverage future press hits.
How to Make the Most of Your Next Round of PR
Here’s a quick project you can take on this weekend so that you’re prepared for the next round of publicity you may receive: Create a highly optimized landing page that’s intended to convert brand-new site visitors.
These are exactly the people you get from major press coverage: people who have never heard of you before and are seeking more information. They’re coming in because they’re intrigued, but they want to learn more. Meet that need and give them a single, concise explanation of who you help and how you add value via a useful landing page full of compelling copy.
Create that page now! Then, whenever you work with a writer or reporter or member of the press, give them the link to that page (it could be http://www.YourFirmName.com/Welcome or something similar). If you’re providing quotes for a major story or high-profile publication, make a specific ask that they include the link to your page.
You want to point any potential traffic to a very specific page that gives everything a first-time, new-to-your-brand visitor needs to stay engaged (rather than just bouncing off if they follow a generic link back to your main site).
6 Emergency Measures to Take If You Go Viral Without a Plan
Still, I think most people start asking, “How do I make the most of this press?” after they receive it. If that’s you right now, implement these emergency measures:
- Get an opt-in form on your site now. Prioritize an exit intent pop-up, which will help prevent some of that bounce rate attrition. A slide in might work well for visitors who were more engaged, but didn’t reach out to you directly on their own—at least you’ll snag their contact info.
- Share your press hit on every channel you can access. Blast it on social media, through email campaigns, in groups you are part of and so on. (Bonus: try using Snip.ly when you share the link!)
- Get other people to share your press hit. Can you share this in forums, groups or communities? Who in your contacts or network would benefit from sharing this with their audience? Give them the link and make the ask. Leverage your existing relationships.
- Identify other relevant outlets. Reach out to publications or websites where this topic would be relevant and contact their editors with something like, “Just worked on this with [big name journalist who gave you this press hit], here’s the link. I’d love to share more on this topic because I think it’s something your audience would appreciate being made aware of. Can I write an article for you?” or “Would you like to do an interview on this?” or “What’s the best way that I could share my advice with your audience?”
- Say thanks to the original source. Send an email to the editor, writer or influencer who initially gave you the press boost and say thanks. Also, offer to help him or her or other reporters they know anytime because you’re passionate about [whatever you got featured on] and really believe in helping people.
- Spin your own content off your viral hit. You could summarize the piece and post it to LinkedIn or other social networks (and maybe even boost that post you create with a little bit of ad money). Beyond that, you might want to figure out a way to leverage paid social advertisements around the content that went viral—or find other creative ways to share it broadly.
At the very least, you now have something useful to use when you pitch new stories you hope go viral as well. Whether you’re submitting a speaker submission, podcast guest spot, a guest column or some other big feature, you could include the link to your viral hit as an example of your take on the topic or as proof of how you’re an expert on this subject.
But the bottom line? Don’t just rely on emergency measures. Get a comprehensive marketing strategy in place to make sure you’re proactive about this kind of opportunity moving forward, rather than being forced to be reactive.
Editor’s note: A version of this blog post appeared here.