Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

As a blogger and an overall person with an entrepreneurship spirit, I’m always curious as to why certain things go viral. Why does come content seem to resonate with millions? Is that something that “just happen” or can it be manufactured? According to Jonah Berger’s Contagious, it’s the latter.

In a series of blogs, I’ll be sharing the insights that I have learned from the book and hope to apply them to my blog and other endeavors. You can and should buy the book here.

This introduction will serve as the launching pad for the six keys to making your content go viral and those are:

1-Social Currency: Most people want others to think they’re cool. In other words, people want to be “in” and they want to brag to their friends. “We need to leverage game mechanics to give people ways to achieve and provide symbols of status that they can show to others.”

2-Triggers: “Peanut butter reminds us of jelly and the word ‘dog’ makes reminds us of the word ‘cat.” In other words, “we need to design products and ideas that are frequently triggered by the environment and create new triggers by linking our products to prevalent cues in that environment. Top of mind leads to tip of tongue.”

3-Emotion: Emotions are an important part of sharing content. But as Berger notes, “but as we’ll discuss, some emotions increase sharing, while others actually decrease it. So we need to pick the right emotions to evoke. We need to kindle the fire. Sometimes even negative emotions may be useful.”

4-Public: As with the old adage of “monkey sees, monkey does,” people like to imitate other people. “So we need to make our products and ideas more public. We need to design products and initiatives that advertise themselves and create behavioral residue that sticks around even after people have bought the product or espoused the idea.”

5-Practical Value: “We need to highlight the incredible value of what we offer, momentarily and otherwise. And we need to package our knowledge and expertise so that people can pass it on.

6-Stories: “People just don’t share information, they share stories…We need to make virality valuable. We need to make our message so integral to the narrative that people can’t tell the story without it.

Berger dives deeper into these topics in the following chapters of the book and we will do the same with the blog posts. Stay tuned!


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