The Mullet Strategy (And Other Things)

5 Nov

I never thought I’d have the opportunity to tag one of my blog entries with the word “mullets,” but thanks to Jonah Peretti’s visit to my class today I can do just that and more. Peretti, the founder of BuzzFeed and one of the co-founders of The Huffington Post came in today to give us ignorant undergrads a talk about how to make our content viral. All in all it was pretty funny, informative, and mullet-tastic.

Here’s some of what Peretti says you need to understand to tap into your content’s viral potential:

1. The Bored at Work Network

Also known as everyone bored and surfing the web, emailing, tweeting, or Facebooking while at work, in class, or anything of that sort. They’re one of the biggest chunks of your potential audience, and the key to developing viral content is to make it so it’s not only easy to understand and share, but also so it has a social imperative. You want these people to see your content and immediately know who they want to share it with.

2. Acknowledge that not everything has the potential to go viral

Not everything has the potential to go viral. This is especially true of more serious content, as it seems as if folks are more likely to circulate something that entertains them. To be fair, however, one never knows in advance how viral something is, so it’s really up to chance. Chances are you’ll increase your success potential by trying lots of different things and going with what works best.

3. The Mullet Strategy

As Peretti stated, “mullets are business up front and party in the back.” He couldn’t be more right. In terms of site strategy with this method, it’s best to have the viral (or serious) content up front, and then leave the rest of your site open for experimentation.

4. Crazy Folks

It’s true, the internet is dominated by total wackos who, fortunately or unfortunately, have a lot to say. Tailoring your potentially viral content to what sets these people off is a great way to get something to go viral. Chances are if it upsets or entices them they’re going to send it to other people they know, and they’ll send it to other people and yadda yadda yadda.

Pretty simple, yes? How do you feel about it? Is there anything you would add?


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