We have heard about popular marketing buzzwords, such as “customer centric”, “low-hanging fruit” or even “viral marketing” but these buzzwords do not necessarily represent effective marketing themes or stories. A book that further discusses this issue is “Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word-of-Mouth Marketing”. The book, authored by Lois Kelly, represents her explanation of the top nine types of stories that people like to talk about.
Viral marketing will always be one of the most effective forms of marketing. It can be a positive boost for your organization or, it can result in a negative experience – word of mouth over a negative experience travels 10 times faster than word of mouth for a good experience.
Here are nine types of stories that people like to talk about, according to Lois Kelly’s book:
1. Aspirations and beliefs – a topic preferred by most. This is something people like to talk about more than anything.
2. David vs. Goliath. Everyone seems to like it when the little person can overcome the bigger one.
3. Avalanche about to roll. Being in the “know” and getting the story before it really goes mainstream.
4. Contrarian/counterintuitive/challenging assumptions – oppose the mainstream. This causes people to go against their natural “gut-instinct” forcing the user to stop and think about the concept that is presented.
5. Anxieties. This theme is used quite often to grab attention as it often plays off of people’s fears. The issue with this theme is that people are becoming more skeptical about it.
6. Personalities and personal stories. Rather than speaking about generalities and hypothetical situations, give examples from your own experience. This will attract much more attention.
7. How-to stories and advice. People like pragmatic advice on how to do things. People like seeing a step by step process.
8. Glitz and glam. Or the novelty effect if you will where people are awestruck by a personality, point of view or opinion.
9. Seasonal/event-related. People are often fascinated by timely stories or marketing messages with seasonal events.
These seem like common sense rules, but most companies never apply them. If yours is one of them, maybe you should give these a try. Your message might be received, remembered and passed on by more people than you expect.