How do you make your content go viral—offline?

The author suggests a few ways to capture attention and help grow your business.

If you have been immersed in the social Web for awhile, the concept of online influence probably makes sense. But how do we apply this same model to the offline world? How do we establish power and influence by creating compelling content and moving it through a human network instead of a digital one? Here are a few lessons from moving content online that might help move it offline, too: Infographics. While we might be weary of infographics, they might be a good way to cut through the clutter with a busy purchasing manager. Instead of giving them a glossy brochure or powerpoint presentation, why not a one-page, cleverly-designed picture of your business? Aggregate content. When I interview customers during my market research activities, I always ask them what they hate about their jobs. I look or activities that my client might be able to take on to make them indispensable. The answer usually leads back to something about stress and a lack of time to get things done. How can you use Web 2.0 utilities to help customers solve problems and save time? Can you aggregate industry content in a helpful way so a message from your company cuts through the clutter once a week? Make ’em say wow. Let’s face it. Most corporate communications are bland. They’re little more than glossy, buzz-laden press releases. Yet the communications that really stand out and get shared entertain people. Do you remember the day last year when the Google logo was a little PacMan game? If you saw it, I’ll bet you remember it, played it, and probably shared it. It was a little thing that helped them stand out and make people go “wow!” If you have ever seen an example of corporate communications that make you say “wow,” I’d like to see it. They seem to be rare, but why? Visual selling. I don’t know what you call this technique, but many magazines now publish lists where you can feature the “top 10 of something” by flipping through a picture or graphic with a small amount of text. An example from Inc. is here. This is an effective communication format when you want to summarize the highlights, yet I have never seen it used outside of this magazine format. It’s sort of a Flipbook/infographic combination. I don’t have all the answers, but what do you think about the idea? How can we apply online marketing principles and best practices to the offline world to get to decision makers? Mark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions and blogs at grow, where a version of this article ran.

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