Oct 30th 2008

Over the past year or so I’ve been doing research into the why and how of web content “going viral,” from my Link Attraction Factors report (with the accompanying tools, API, and plugin) to my Viral Content Sharing Survey report. I’ve also taken this behavioral data and distilled it into more actionable items like a viral marketing checklist, viral seeding requirements, and of course the 10 symptoms of highly viral WordPress themes.

Out of this research has grown my latest project, the ProtoViral WordPress theme. Built to be flexible design-wise, it allows you to customize it to match the look and feel you need, while including a wide range of flexible and powerful …

Oct 21st 2008


In 2007 the Washington Post conducted an experiment. They had one of the best musicians in the world to play one of the most expensive instruments in the world (a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin) on a subway platform during morning rush hour. Most people simply ignored him, “the final haul for his 43 minutes of playing was $32.17. Yes, some people gave pennies.”

There were no tuxedos or playbills or expensive tickets. No sold out concert halls or rave reviews from jaded critics. Just some of the best music in the world, but without the social cues to the quality of the performance, nobody noticed.

So even if you’re the best writer in the world, writing on

Oct 14th 2008

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Blogs are my favorite CMS for “going viral.” Cheap, easy, expandable, everything you could want. But when you’re launching a blog and your goal is going to be lots of social media and viral traffic, you’ll need to make sure you pick the right theme. Here are a list of 10 things your theme must have to “go viral.”

1. Social Buttons

Most blogs these days have the sociable plugin, so that there is a list of social sites at the bottom of every post that allow readers to submit and vote on the post. For real traction, you need to do better than these teeny little buttons. Put big, honkin’ voting buttons on every post on …

Oct 9th 2008

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I’ve spent the last year or so doing research into the history, sociology, statistics, psychology and mathematics of information sharing (many of the posts I’ve done about this stuff are over in my sidebar under “Protoviral”). I’ve found a number of reccuring elements across areas of study, so here are some of the bits I’ve learned that you can apply to almost any blog post to make it more viral.

1. Ask for the Share

This can kind of sound cheesy, but believe me it works. Respondents to my Sharing Survey reported a bunch of triggers you can pull to convince people to spread your content including utility (share this with your friends who might …

Sep 23rd 2008

Once you’ve decided you’d like to create a viral marketing campaign, its easy to become too focused on the details, and miss the forest for the trees, but a good campaign is the integration of a lot of parts. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Goals Have you defined your campaign’s goals? Do you know what you’re trying to do (in an actionable and quantifiable way) and have you identified the metrics you will use to identify success? Keep in mind that certain, identifiable and targetable types of users tend to be more prolific in spreading content, be sure to target these people.

Vector Research Have you identified the demographic you’d like your campaign to …