What is buzz marketing, anyway?
Buzz marketing is the concept of creating promotional campaigns that get people talking about your brand.
The goal is to create marketing materials that generate buzz from word of mouth. Instead of paying for one person to see your ad, each person you reach goes on to tell 10 or so of his friends.
That’s the benefit of buzz marketing. For every one person you reach, another X number of people find out about you. It’s powerful.
So how do you generate buzz and what are the secrets of creating buzz-worthy marketing content?
The basic premise for generating buzz
The first thing you need to understand is the basic premise for generating buzz.
The basic premise is this: in order to generate buzz, you need to give people something to talk about. It’s as easy as that.
There’s a famous song by Bonnie Raitt with a line that says, “Let’s give ’em something to talk about.” That also happens to be the theme song for buzz marketing. If you want to generate buzz, you’ve got to give people something that will get them to start talking.
How do you do that? In the book Buzzmarketing, author Mark Hughes talks about six buttons of buzz.
The six secrets of buzz-worthy content
Mark Hughes six buttons of buzz are as follows:
- The Unusual
- The Outrageous
- The Hilarious
- The Remarkable
- Secrets (both kept and revealed)
All six of these buttons can be used to create marketing content that gets people talking about your business. Let’s discuss how.
Button #1: Taboo
The first button is the taboo button, and most businesses will want to use this one with caution. In the book, Mr. Hughes describes “taboo” as potty humor and other topics that people are generally uncomfortable talking about. If your business broaches a subject that is controversial or uncomfortable, people will likely tell others about it.
There are a number of ways to push this button. Some people like Rush Limbaugh use it to talk about controversial topics that are guaranteed to get people talking about his show. Other people use their blog to challenge conventional beliefs as a way to generate attention.
For example, a marketing company could write about how social media marketing is overrated (as long as they believed this), and they’d be guaranteed to get people talking about their controversial article.
No matter how you decide to use it, taboo and controversial topics get people talking. Just make sure it doesn’t end up being for the wrong reasons.
Button #2: The unusual
Topics that are unusual or unique are another great way to get people talking.
The opposite of this is “me too” marketing where every business in an industry has the same kinds of ads. My favorite example is the automotive industry.
When it comes to car commercials, many are “me too” types of commercials. They’re composed of footage of a new car driving on a curvy highway in low-light conditions. The commercials are beautiful, but since every company does the same thing, they don’t stand out and they don’t get people talking. If a car company really wants to get the maximum impact from it’s advertising, it should do whatever it takes to avoid a “me too,” “my commercial is the same as everyone else’s” type of ad.
In short, you want to stand out from the crowd. If everyone else is writing blog posts about 7 ways to do basic internet marketing activities, you could write deeper posts about scientific articles that back up your approach to marketing. Or if everyone else is doing video tutorials, you could create beautiful and useful infographics. Whatever you do that’s different than your competition is more likely to get people talking, and this is one of the easiest ways to generate buzz—by doing something unique.
Button #3: The Outrageous
The outrageous button is another one that needs to be handled with care. Much like the taboo button, if this button isn’t handled properly, it can backfire. On the other hand, if it’s done well, businesses can reap great rewards.
What’s an example of outrageous content that went viral? Look no further than the Golf Boys video by Farmers Insurance.
For the video, four professional golfers–Ricky Fowler, Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, and Hunter Mahan–performed a music video that can only be described as outrageous. They made fools of themselves, but the video has been watched to the tune of 5 million plus times.
Some people would argue that this wasn’t an effective brand exposure for Farmers Insurance since most people who watched the video didn’t pay attention to whoever produced it, but regardless, it’s definitely an example of content going viral due to how outrageous it is.
Button #4: The Hilarious
There may not be another type of content that people like to share more than things that are hilarious. Whether it’s a bulldog riding a skateboard or a crow sliding down a snow-covered roof, people like funny content.
One great example is a commercial recently produced for Sprint featuring Oklahoma City Thunder Star Kevin Durant.
In the commercial, Mr. Durant complains about fans who miss his game-winning shot due to the fact that they used up their data plan downloading a game called Doodle Jump. In one particular line, he says, ” But seriously, you chose to download Doodle Jump instead of streaming my shot? Doodle Jump? Man, that’s messed up.”
The commercial is so funny that, after seeing it on television, people also shared the video to their friends online through Youtube. This gave Sprint more impressions than the ones they paid for on television, and it’s a great example of hilarious content generating buzz.
Button #5: The remarkable
Out of the six buzz buttons, this is my favorite. To use it, you have to create content that is better than the average. Instead of spending more money to reach more people, you take the time to create something remarkable which leads to your content getting shared.
Essentially, if you want to stand out online, you need to create remarkable content. Whether it’s a blog post, an infographic, or a product, only remarkable content will stand out from the crowd of mediocrity. Let’s take a blog as an example.
It seems everyone has a blog these days. If you want to stand out from the thousands of articles being published on a daily basis, you need to take the time to write something remarkable. You need to take the time to select the best ideas and craft posts that stand out from the crowd.
If you do, you’ll get people talking about your blog. The same goes for ads, videos, infographics, or whatever. Remarkable content stands out, gets shared, and starts conversations. You don’t want to shortchange your efforts with mediocre content.
Button#6: Secrets (both kept and revealed)
Another topic that gets people talking is secrets. People love a good secret.
Why? Because we like to feel like an insider. We like to have an inside scoop.
So how do you create this kind of content?
A travel agent as an example could create buzz by writing an insider’s guide to the travel industry. People love these kinds of revealed secrets.
Another way is to talk about an upcoming project that you can’t reveal the details about yet. If you want to create buzz for a future product, you can let people know that it’s coming, but also tell them that the product won’t be revealed until a future date.
This creates anticipation as people wait to find out when the secret that’s being kept will be revealed, and it’s a tactic that Apple has used time and again for releasing new products.
As you can see, secrets that are both kept or revealed are a great way to get people talking about your business.
Now that you know about the six secrets of buzz-worthy marketing content, it’s up to you to figure out how to apply them.
With a little time and the right amount of creative thinking, there’s a good chance you’ll get more people talking about what you do.