I’ve been reading Unleashing the Idea Virus by Seth Godin this past week or so. I’m really taking my time over it and whilst it doesn’t mention blogging at all I’m finding many applications for thinking about medium.
One of his key themes is that of ‘smoothness’….
A virus (of any kind) will not spread to epidemic proportions unless it is easily transferable from person to person. Consider SARS for example – the frightening thing about it was that it was something that was thought to be reasonably easy to transmit from person.
The same thing is true for ‘idea viruses’. If you want people to hear, buy into and then sell your idea for you then you need to make it as easy as possible to do so. Seth uses many examples in his book – one of the most powerful being ‘Hotmail’ which adds to the bottom of every email sent a simple tag/link that says – ‘Get Your Private, Free Email from Hotmail at www.hotmail.com’. All people had to do was to click the link, fill in a few details and they had their own account (which of course enabled them to spread the ‘Hotmail’ message).
So how can this principle be applied to ‘blogging’. I can think of many ways of ME speading the word about my own blog – but a viral approach lets the reader spread the news (which is an infinitely more powerful approach).
One suggestion that Seth makes is to use ‘email a friend’ links on websites. This gives readers an opportunity to shoot a post that interests them to a friend. I’ve been considering adding this feature to my blog for a while. Having just read the book – I’ve decided to add it to each post. I’m not sure how effective it will be at this point – but its worth a try – I will let you know of any feedback I get on it.
Apart from the ‘Email a friend’ option – I’m wondering what other ‘viral techniques’ people might have seen used or tried themselves when it comes to blogging? Feel free to leave your tips or comments in the feeback section below.