There’s a 3X5 note card on my bulletin board, immediately behind my desk, that says I share ideas that grow businesses…
That’s what I do as a consultant. When I’m coming up with big ideas for my copy, and offers, and other elements, that’s what I’m doing as a copywriter. And it’s what I do in each daily issue of Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.
These ideas come in two main forms…
— First is the idea that I’ve tried, has worked, and that I can recommend based on personal experience.
— Second is the idea that I know has worked for someone else, known either because they’re a trusted source, or because the truth is out in the open.
Today’s idea is one of those I got from someone else, whose truth is out in the open.
If you look at his YouTube channel, as of today, he has 37.5 million video views and 410,000 subscribers…
(Incidentally, when I took these notes to write about him just last week, he had 37.2 million YouTube views — which means roughly 300,000 people have watched his videos in the last week alone!)
His name is JP Sears, and perhaps you’ve seen his video How to Be Ultra-Spiritual (funny).
He also just released a book by the same name that garnered reviews from no less than Buddha (“I got really attached to this book!”) and Holy Mother of God (“Combines the wisdom of bearded Jesus with the playfulness of baby Jesus.”).
If you haven’t figured it out, he tries to bring humor and perspective to modern spirituality — which too many people take all-too-seriously.
It’s earned him a bunch of fans around the world, including Tony Robbins (which was definitely a boost to his “brand”).
And while I think you might enjoy his videos, I’m not going to try to take on their content — at least not directly.
Rather, we’re going to get a little perspective on the content, from JP himself.
Specifically — what makes ultra-shareable viral videos and other content…
JP was on the I Love Marketing podcast a little bit ago. And I just caught the episode. There was a lot to it, and a lot of joking around and only taking things half-seriously.
But in one of those moments of seriousness, either Joe or Dean asked JP what he thought it was that made for good, shareable content.
And he listed 3 things…
Now before we dive deep, I feel like I have to give my fun-sucking “measurable direct response” disclaimer. Namely, that viral, shared content for its own sake isn’t worth anything. It’s only when you actually translate it into business results that it really pays off.
That said, let’s do some math. Let’s say that out of his 37.5 million YouTube views and 410,000 subscribers (to say nothing of his email list, Facebook fans, etc., etc.), that he’s able to get 10% of those subscribers to buy his Kindle book for $9.99. At a 70% royalty from Amazon, that’s over a quarter million in book royalties. For a $10 book.
Part of the appeal of viral content is that when you hit enough volume, it doesn’t take more than a small percentage spending a small amount for it to translate into pretty decent paydays.
Disclaimer stated, let’s dive in a little deeper into JP’s three points…
Want to get shared? Inspire feeling!
One of my most “viral” posts on Breakthrough Marketing Secrets was my response to a copywriter looking for career advice.
This post is inspiring. But not just feel-good inspiring. It’s inspiring because it feels REAL. Just like JP Sears’s YouTube videos, which make fun of modern spirituality while also teaching spiritual lessons.
People don’t get excited about just another how-to article. Or 10 tips for anything. These might get some clicks, because it’s an inherently interesting, useful headline. And content is great for building a relationship with someone based on value. But they’re not likely to go viral.
Get someone’s heart racing though, by inspiring just about any emotion, and you’re more likely to get passed on.
But don’t take yourself too seriously!
You DON’T have to be funny. Being funny is one way that you might get shared. But humor and sales are often at odds with each other. And raw humor doesn’t necessarily translate into a relationship where the other person wants anything more than humor.
But, entertainment is a vast category. I love story and drama. Another great example of very shareable, viral content that uses drama but not humor is Dan Carlin’s podcast, Hardcore History. Most of the stories he tells are power struggles and war. Not a lot funny there. But incredibly compelling and entertaining, and he has a spot on top of most top podcasts lists. He turned it into a business by retiring old episodes, and selling them.
In both cases though, the funny and the dramatic, these happen before any thought of business results. Selling or monetizing becomes an afterthought — or at least comes across that way.
There’s a journey that you, the consumer of content, are taken on as you go through. It’s only in the end, once you’ve been entertained, that you’re given an opportunity for more.
As I’m writing this, I actually just got off a 90+ minute private webinar where I presented pretty much 100% content, wall-to-wall. I didn’t even build a pitch in. But at the end, the host asked me to give information on how to find me, and I got a sizable wave of the attendees who immediately registered for Breakthrough Marketing Secrets. I say this just because if you do everything else right leading up to the pitch (and content delivery can sometimes count as entertainment, if done well), the pitch can be minor, offhand, and casual, and it can still spur instant action.
Finally, make them aware of new things!
We love, love, love discovering new things. We have entire structures in our brain that are triggered when we discover new things. And it’s the same structures that are triggered by drugs that get abused.
But we also love being the person who discovered new things. Sharing them with others. And as the curator of that, getting recognition as the source (even when we’re not the original source).
Yesterday I quoted Gary Bencivenga (kind of accidentally) and said “The control is your enemy.” Brian Kurtz has also written about this. Well, with one of my readers, I got the credit. He told me he was going to start quoting me alongside Caples and Ogilvy!
I pointed him to the original source. But for one brief moment, I reveled in the glory of someone, anyone, believing I’m the one who came up with that.
When you shine a light on something that is somehow new or interesting, your audience will not only appreciate it for themselves, they’ll go for the ego-boosting share, being the person in their social circle who discovered that.
How to use this…
The worst thing you could do is go out tomorrow and use this like a checklist. To try to create a piece of content that’s inspiring, entertaining, and brings awareness to something — with that as your intention.
That would be trying too hard, which seldom works.
Rather, keep these in mind when you’re going throughout your day.
What inspires you?
What do you find entertaining?
What awareness have you gotten that was a big lightbulb moment?
Scribble that down on a note card. File it away. Then the next time you’re in content creation mode, reflect on that. Bring it out. Tell it in a way that captures what caught you.
I have a whole file of ideas for future essays, often based on things like this. (This essay being a great example.) This is how I’m thinking when I’m looking for ideas for new marketing promotions.
You’ll also see this in all kinds of content creators. Piles and files of notes and ideas that inspired them, entertained them, or brought them awareness. That are later culled and crafted into something new, interesting, ultra-shareable… And sometimes, viral… Content.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,