7 Viral Content Factors

Viral Content


If you are setting out to make viral content the idea is your starting point. You want the idea to have an emotional hook and be original. If the idea ties in with current news the content has more chance of getting picked up by blogs and news sites.


If your content elicits strong emotions people will want to pass it on. Positive emotions tend to be more successful with the top 5 emotions being: Amusement, Interest, Surprise, Happiness, Delight. Don’t rule out negative emotions though, the New York Times found their most shared content is ‘angry’. Emotional stacking is used on blogs who use lists like Buzzfeed. You can lead the reader emotionally to the point you want them to share (end of post).


Surprise and interest will give the emotional hook an extra kick. If you can combine surprise with another strong emotion it will give your content a much better chance of going viral.


Tying your content in with a current trend is a strategy which is often used successfully. Just think of all the popular Harlem Shake videos! If a news item is becoming popular maybe you can capitalise on that.


Visual content is understood more quickly and easily and on the whole is better at eliciting emotions. People find visual content more engaging which is why images, gifs and video are ubiquitous on the web.


To maximise the chances of your content going viral you need a lot of sharing going on as soon as its published. If you have a piece of content you have identified as being potentially viral can you get influencers to share it? Maybe you could drop a few emails before it goes live.


What factors make sharing more likely?

  • Content that makes people feel like they belong to a group or are ‘in the know’
  • Content that makes the sharer look more intelligent
  • If content is aligned with someone’s identity and represents that to their peers
  • Having a purpose to sharing is a strong motivating factor eg. a campaign. The underlying motivator here is altruism as it is for:
  • Useful info.

I hope you found this post useful. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Genesis WordPress Theme Framework Review

genesis framework review

Do you want a good looking website? One that you as a beginner can install and easily customise yourself? Read on.

Getting Started With The Genesis Framework

I got my first WordPress site around 2 years ago and my first self hosted site 18 months ago. I am not a beginner now, though it feels like it sometimes. I am not a ‘tech’ person and have few graphic design skills.

When I started self hosting I wanted to do things as cheaply as possible. I tried quite a few free WordPress themes, using Athualpa for a while. If I was going to spend money I wanted to make sure it was well spent.

I couldn’t find a free theme that did what I wanted so I started looking at premium themes and found the Agency Theme on Studiopress.

I asked around and reports were good so I went ahead and invested the Genesis Framework and Agency Theme for $79.95. With a little help from a designer friend I had the Think Genial site. Since then I have redesigned the site and in its current incarnation, apart from the logo, the design work has been done by me (I am not a designer).

Since then I have built 3 websites myself using the Genesis Framework and free themes. 2 of these are making me money as affiliate sites and they haven’t cost me a penny more from my initial investment. All are hosted with TSO host for a total of£4.99/ month.

WordPress Frameworks

A framework is a set of computer code which sits on top of the WordPress Content Management System. It adds more functions to WordPress such as easier customisation, enhanced security and impoved SEO. There are 2 widely used WordPress frameworks – Thesis and Genesis.


genesis wordpress framework

  • Recommended by WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg
  • Used on over 96,000 websites
  • 40+ Child Themes
  • HTML5 support


You upload the Genesis framework through the WordPress dashboard like a theme. If you are using a Child Theme you upload Genesis first then the Child Theme. Any customisation is made to the Child Theme.

Child Themes

Agency                                  Copyblogger (free)              Genesis (free)

agency themecopyblogger themegenesis theme

There are 40+ Child Themes to choose from and there really is something for everyone. The 3 themes I have used are shown above. They are all great themes, and I am a particularly big fan of the Agency Theme. It is straightforward to modify things like the colours, fonts, logo etc. and if you want to make more advanced customisation the support forum is jam packed with useful info.


  • 65 Genesis Framework tutorials available
  • Tutorials for all paid themes
  • Expert moderators on forums
  • Learn everything from how to change design, add logos and customise just about everything in forums


SEO optimised out of the box. I recommend the free WordPress SEO plugin for further optimisation, though plenty of options available in Genesis.


When updates are available you will be notified through the dashboard. NB. Make sure you have the latest version if updating any Genesis plugins. Updating the plugins first has caused my site to go down. I needed to go into the FTP to fix it (it could not be done from the WordPress dashboard).

Genesis 2.0

In August 2013 Genesis 2.0 was launched. Security, SEO and site speed have all been enhanced. The biggest change though has been the addition of HTML5 support. HTML5 is increasingly being used in web design, particularly for mobile sites and apps. Genesis 2.0 puts your website at the cutting edge of design capability.


There are quite a few great Genesis-only free plugins. Here are a few:

Genesis Hooks: Allows you to add bits of code without having to go into the CSS. If you want to easily add code for things like Facebook buttons or advertising you can use this plugin (tutorial available)

Footer Widget: If you want to add more footer widgets, use this

Design Palatte: Change the colour of backround, text, links and borders with a few clicks; change fonts too.


These big shots recommend Genesis.

who recommends genesis theme


If you are starting out with your first self hosted website I would take a look at the Genesis Child Themes. If you find one you like its worth spending $80. If you did want to make further websites you can do so for no additional cost. If you need more Child Themes they are $25 each once you have the framework.

There is an option to buy rights to all the paid themes for $349.95. I wouldn’t go for that unless you are a developer.

The all inclusive package has recently gone up $50 from $299.95 to $349.95. If you are considering making the purchase I would think about buying now to avoid any price increases. There is a 30 day money back guarantee if you change your mind.

Click here to visit the marketplace>> StudioPress Marketplace

* edited 28.08.13

WordPress Plugin Recommendations For a New Site

Wordpress plugins

One of the best things about using WordPress is the plugins. Thousands of developers create plugins and a lot of them are free. I have been adding plugins to a new site today:

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

I use the Genesis Framework for all my sites which comes with a lot of SEO functionality. This plugin comes with additional functionality and instructions how to optimise your site.

By default the plugin gives your site great SEO. The options I have changed on other sites are titles and meta descriptions for the homepage and ‘blog’ page (for increased clickthroughs).

2. WP Security Scan

This plugin makes your site more secure. Hackers are constantly scanning the net for vulnerable sites. If you install this plugin and follow the instructions you can vastly increase the security of your site. Making your site editable from 1 IP address and securing the wp-admin page are a couple of the security steps.

3. BackupWordpress

If you value the content on your site you need to back it up. If files become corrupted during an update or if the whole site gets deleted, you have a copy of the site and can get back up and running. BackupWordpress is easy to use and can be set to automatically send backups to an email address.

4. Digg Digg

This is a social sharing plugin, used by a lot of popular sites eg. Mashable. You can make it easy to share your web pages through 24 social networks with Digg Digg, though you might want to make this number more manageable ;).

5. Fast Secure Contact Form

If you want people to be able to contact you through your WordPress site the best way is through a contact form. Using a form you don’t have to put your email address on the site, which can be picked up by bots for spamming. It looks professional and you can customise the form to request the info you need.

6. All In One Favicon

The favicon is the tiny image that appears next to the page title in the web browser. You can customise it with this plugin which accepts png and gif files as well as ico files.

Further Recommendations

Premise for WordPress

On some pages the action you want visitors to take should be very specific. Landing pages are pages on your site dedicated to converting visitors. That might be to leave their name and email address or to buy something.

To create landing pages properly you need a plugin. Premise works with any WordPress site to create fully customisable landing pages. Premise is a premium plugin. When you buy Premise as well as the plugin you also get access to a knowledge base which teaches you about landing pages and copywriting. The knowledge base is excellent and teaches everything from PPC optimisation to increasing traffic and conversion optimisation.

Mailchimp and Simple Popup

If you want an easy way to increase signups to a mailing list use the Mailchimp widget with Simple Popup. When visitors land on your site a popup appears requesting name and email address. You can set the time delay and other options and its a free solution.

Hope this helps,


8 Tried and Tested Linkbuilding Techniques

If you want your site to rank well in the search engines its important to get some backlinks. Try this:

1. Guest Posting

One great thing about guest posting is the sites you post on are relevant to yours. You can also choose keyword rich anchor text. This strategy takes time and effort which means your competitors have to expend similar energy to imitate you.

You have to make contact with website owners and have them agree to the guest post, you also have to write a decent article as the host won’t want any old rubbish on their site.

2. Sign up for Social Media Sites!

Many social media sites allow you to put a link in the profile. A lot carry a high PR or pagerank score which passes lots of ‘linkjuice’ to your site. Links from sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are great and there are many more social media sites you can sign up to. that brings us to 3…

3. Use Onlywire for Social Bookmarking

Though not really linkbuilding, submitting your site and blog posts to social media and bookmarking sites passes SEO juice to your site. With Onlywire you can submit a blog post to around 50 social media sites at once. You have to manually input details for all accounts once but after that you can make submissions with a few clicks. Edit – Onlywire used to be free, it is now a paid service.

4. Link Back from Web 2.0 Properties

This is part of a strategy I have been using for some affiliate sites and have found the overall strategy to work well. Create a profile (or use an existing profile), put a link back to your main site from the profile if possible and create a few articles for each site with backlinks in each.

To save time you can use article spinning software such as the best spinner. To spin an article just take one from your main site and put it through the software then read through and change any grammatical  errors. These articles are fine for your web 2.0 properties which will be read by few people and are just for backlinking purposes.

5. Article Marketing

Use the article spinning software to create articles and submit them to article directories. The articles should be in reasonable English and should be unique each time.

6. Link Back from Video Sites

There are loads of video sites out there and you can get some good, high PR links from them. Post a few videos if possible and also add clickable links using html if possible too.

7. Use Fiverr

Fiverr is a site where people provide a vast array of services for $5 a pop. There is tons of fun stuff on there and you can also pay users $5 to build some links. Use with caution, you may want to blast a ton of links at your web 2.0 properties as the linkjuice flows through to your main site.

8. Hubpages and Squidoo

These are web 2.0 properties, however don’t use spun articles for these 2 as the content is more vigourously monitored. Also, if your article for Squidoo is less than great it will actually drop out of their listings and any links will not count. You need to put html into Squidoo to link from the main body of the articles.

Fantastic ways to attract links that I have yet to try!

Linkbait. If you have some excellent content and get plenty of people to give it a push using social media it can attract many thousands of links. Controversial posts can also be effective linkbait, however you need to bear your branding in mind so tread carefully.

Create an infographic: In the online marketing sphere there have been tons, however in many other industries there is plenty of room for useful infographics which could earn a lot of links.

Have a comment? Be my guest.

Take care,


Delete All My Tweets

Delete All My Tweets

Have you ever wanted to wipe the slate clean?

If you have ever managed any social media accounts, whether it be your own personal account or that of your employer you will have made mistakes. It is just human nature, we can’t do everything right all the time!

>> Delete All My Tweets

Here’s What Happened

I was recently asked to manage a Twitter account where 22,000 tweets had been automatically posted using the Twitter API.

The follower count was low, as you can imagine, and I was worried I would have a hard time attracting new followers.

The account had been mismanaged in the past but now was on the right track. The only trouble was I couldn’t easily communicate this to potential followers….

There was only one thing to do, I decided to delete all the tweets. I knew that with 500,000 apps available for Twitter there must be a few which could mass delete tweets. I didn’t know at this stage how ineffective they would be…..

>> Delete All My Tweets

‘Delete All Tweets’

I Googled ‘delete all tweets’ and a few apps came up near the top:











Delete My Tweets





I thought great! and set about deleting tweets. the first app I tried didn’t work at all, so I moved onto the next. This didn’t work properly either…. would any do the job?!

I was messing around for 2 days with these useless apps, the end result being I was down to 19,653 tweets. I gave it up as a bad job. The only trouble was now only 1 tweet was showing on the timeline!

Between them these ‘delete all tweets’ apps had deleted the tweets but not recorded it, completely screwing up the account!

After all this wasted time and effort and the resulting messed up account I decided to get together with a great developer and make an app which does 2 things – deletes all tweets from a Twitter account and takes the account back to zero.

What We Did

What we came up with was DeleteAllMyTweets.  The app has now gone through rigorous testing and this version is highly effective.

Due to some technical aspects of the OAuth interface and server timing issues the limit to delete tweets has been set at 1000 per deletion. If you need to delete more, as I did, you will simply need to repeat the process a few times.

Let’s Face it…

There are times when you may need to reset a Twitter account.

It may be that an account has been mismanaged, maybe you have taken the account over and want to start afresh, maybe you have test accounts that you need to reset…

If you need to delete all tweets from a Twitter account it now couldn’t be easier, just jump on over to the app and give it a go!

>> Delete All My Tweets

Your friend,


PS. If you use the app and have any feedback please use the contact form to let us know so we can improve it even further.

5 Ways To Connect With Your Audience

1. Use Twitter Search to find potential customers by searching for keywords (eg. names of products or services). Tweet them to see if you can be of any assistance and follow them too if you find their tweets interesting. If you are a local company you can use the advanced search options to search for people locally.

2. Facebook – Tagging. If you want to get on the radar of another Page owner and/ or want your FB update to go further, tag another Page and your message will be broadcast to their fans.

When you are logged into your Page use the @ symbol followed by the name of the Page you wish to tag in your update. Try to use tagging appropriately eg. to give attribution, thanks etc. rather than for blatantly selfish purposes.

3. If fans and followers message you on Facebook or Twitter message them back. You have the potential to deepen the engagement here but you would be surprised how many companies don’t respond.

4. Review sites – monitor review sites using Google Alerts and respond to both positive and negative reviews appropriately. You can thank positive reviewers and try to turn around the negatives if possible.

5. Forums – Use Google Alerts to let you know when keywords are mentioned in forums. If you know the answer to a question you can get involved. Don’t try to sell though, it is not the right place and your post might well get deleted.

What ways do you find effective to connect with your audience using social media?


Think Genial: Social Media Agency

The Most Powerful Technique

The Power of Newsjacking

Like all great ideas the new book by David Meerman Scott leaves the reader thinking ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’, and the ideas in this book are great. The book is Called ‘Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage’ and is available by digital download only.

What is it?

The central idea of the book is that your company can gain massive media exposure by becoming part of a news story. To do this you must identify an item of breaking news where you can add value, produce some quotable content then get the content to journalists covering the story or get them to notice it. Your goal – to be quoted in paragraph 2 of as many articles about the story as possible. The net impact of a successful newsjack can be £1000s of free exposure for your company.

Its Easy

Sounds simple doesn’t it? and it is, but there are certain things which are mission critical if you want to be a successful newsjacker. DM Scott tells you how to put the systems in place to discover stories, how to get your article found by journalists researching the breaking news, he gives examples of successful newsjackers including a lady who newsjacked Paris Hilton and a porn king who is a serial newsjacker. He even shows you how to get the journalists bringing stories to you for your input.


For me this is a fantastic book and the techniques are something I am going to encourage my clients to implement. I have immediately become aware of 2 great opportunities recently where one of my clients could have used newsjacking techniques to gain media exposure.

I have not read a Kindle book before and it was just like reading a high quailty ebook. I think it was the right decision to publish it in ebook format because the book is very concise and the links really add to it.

If there is one thing the book is a bit light on it is that DM Scott talks about the necessity for large companies and corporations to put themselves in a position to fend off newsjacking events but doesn’t really say how to fend off a newsjack in progress.


I think newsjacking is going to become much more widespread over the next few months and years. If you are at all involved with marketing read this book now and get ahead of the trend!

Want to be a Newsjacker?

  • Put systems in place to monitor news and monitor avidly
  • Have the ability to publish at short notice
  • Use the right angle and the correct language in communications

Buy the book here >>  (affiliate link)


5 Things Your Company Needs To Do To Stay Relevant

Happy Customers

1. Follow Industry Leaders On Twitter

Who do you look up to in your industry? Who are the experts? Who are the leaders? Who is at the bleeding edge when it comes to industry trends? Make a list of at least 10 of these people who are active on Twitter and follow them (I follow many more).

If they tweet something out and you have something to add then tweet them back, hell tweet them back anyway – that way your followers will think you’re an industry leader too 😉

2. Ask Customers

What do your customers want? Why not ask them through social media channels! Which is their favourite product? What do they want to see improved in your service? Ask them and act on it, your customers will appreciate it :)

3. Testing

The technology world is constantly testing. They run beta tests on selected groups of experts on new technologies, they split test the text, graphics and layout of their websites. Then they make iterative changes and test again.

Can you use this kind of testing? For example split testing a new menu at your restaurant or split testing the standard telephone response at your business?

4. Monitor Competition

Are your competitors innovating? Maybe they have spotted a trend in the market that you have not latched on to yet? Maybe they are doing a product launch? Maybe they have a new service?

Simply set up your social media listening station, monitor and stay more relevant than your competitors :)

5. Go Off Topic

If you are a local business, try thinking about what your customers are interested in and what is relevant to them, then use that for your online marketing content.

It may have nothing to do with your industry but is relevant to your customers. For example if you are an estate agent maybe you could do reviews of local restaurants on your blog.

Mmm Food

I hope this post has given you some food for thought.

Stay relevant people, and keep this blog relevant by posting in the comments :)


The 3 Words That Will Make Your Followers Love You

Human beings like to think they are rational but at the end of the day they are driven by emotions.

Some self help gurus would boil it down even further and tell you that humans are driven away from pain and towards pleasure. IMO they do this so American’s can understand the concept (sorry I watched the final of Celebrity Apprentice USA last night).

What this tells us though is that if we want to drive humans (which we do) we need to engage their emotions.


As with anything social media related we want to put a strategy in place before implementation and I am going to help you with that now by asking you one simple question:

What 3 emotions do you want to elicit in your Twitter followers?

Don’t answer just yet!

Lets look at some of my fave Twitterers to see what emotions they elicit from their followers:

@Copyblogger (Brian Clarke)

1. Amusement – Often makes me smile

2. Interest – Headlines always make you want to click

3. Trust – Message has rock solid consistency

@Unmarketing (Scott Stratten)

1. Amusement – Of a sarcastic bent

2. Empathy – The spokesperson for the annoyed internet user (in a funny way)

3. Satisfaction – Seems down to earth, similar to 2.


1. Friendliness – Always reaching out to people

2. Happiness – Winning smile, happy voice

3. Excitement – Seems very passionate about Facebook and social media

… and here are the emotions I try to elicit:

1. Amusement

2. Trust

3. Interest

The same as @Copyblogger, not a bad man to model in the least! :)

Take note – these are all positive emotions, feel the good vibes maaaaaan


  • More likely to get re-tweeted
  • More likely to get followed in the first place
  • Attention – people will look out for your tweets!
And of course, this translates to more clicks, traffic, leads and customers.

Now, what are the 3 emotions you are going to elicit in your followers?

Please leave them in the comments below!


PS. This concept was put forward in this book >>  Twitter Revolution: How Social Media and Mobile Marketing Is Changing the Way We Do Business & Market Online (aff link). This is my take on it :)

Are You Producing Quality Content?

Quality Content

There are nearly 100 million domains registered….. and that’s just .com domains! so…

..What Makes You Stand Out?

What makes people come to your website and want to keep coming back and engage with your company?

Simple – its quality content.

What The Gurus Say

SEO Gurus have recently been pointing out producing quality content means outsized results whilst mediocre or even good content, well as I said earlier: 100,000,000 domains….

A Great Example

As an example, this post with infographic the Noob Guide to Internet Marketing took (the writer) 3 months start to finish.

The post has been shared over 4000 times on Twitter, has 818 Facebook ‘Likes’ and has generated 222 comments since it was posted in February (plus many more shares of the infographic on it own).

Quality Content Test:

1. Can the reader/ content consumer find this info anywhere else?

2. If it is a blog article, would it make it to print?

3. Are you demonstrating your expertise?

4. If it is news, have you added your perspective?

5. Does the content look professional? – Well edited etc.

Weigh Up The Competition

Take a look around, you might have tons of knowledge which isn’t covered anywhere – bingo! If not, you might have a bit more work to do.

Don’t Panick

I am not saying you have to hit it out of the park with every blog post, but bear in mind the questions I have outlined above when producing content.

Over To You

What do you think makes quality content? Do you have a quality content test?