Ten unexpected rules for leveraging content nuggets to drive content visibility

By William Flanagan
Modified July 29, 2021, Posted in ,

The 10 unexpected rules that allow you to leverage content nuggets to drive viral content visibility.

Well, actually it is 9 rules plus one golden rule, but who is counting.

Let’s start with the one golden rule.

The golden rule to leverage content nuggets to drive viral content visibility.

This is the one that rules them all. The golden rule that helps you dramatically improve the success of your marketing efforts.

Content that gets distributed by others reinforces something they already believe.

The key to getting a lot of shares is to create a piece of content that’s a) easily sharable (as in it’s not physically hard to share), and b) that is something they already believe. If you are thinking in this context, your content will get more uplift and promotion. And that will increase content visibility and ultimately reach more people.

The key here is to validate their thinking. “I’m already right about this,” in an interesting and curious way. People, whether influencers or authority figures among your tribe, will not distribute content that is not already within their established belief system. Something that is discordant to how they see the market — and probably the world at large — is not something they will promote with authority. Unless it is to cancel you, and you don’t want that.

IMO, this is where marketing can go off the rails. The Cambridge Analytica scandal wasn’t about the method they used to gather information on Facebook (we’ve all walked on the dark side with a bad list). It was about that the way they targeted voters by embracing this CORE realization. Cambridge Analytica didn’t base their content on the positive— truth, help, & goodwill. They made things up and promoted things that were lies designed to enrage. They used context and innuendo to spread fear and distrust.

cambridge analytica content nuggets

And, Cambridge Analytica was successful because people distribute interesting content that they already believe.

Here’s the rest of the rules.

The other 9 rules to leverage content nuggets to drive viral content visibility.

  • People don’t care where the the information comes from. I talked about this in my previous blog post, “The Content Machine’. If it’s something they believe, something that reinforces their view of the word, they give it more trust. It doesn’t matter if the source is trusted or not. And because of this they will distribute it and promote it. Think of this rule as a corollary to the golden rule.
  • People trust information received on social media. People will say they are skeptical of social network information, but the reality is that they mostly trust the information provided. In the top social networks, more than 70% of respondents in all cases stated they trusted news on social media somewhat, and were “not skeptical or somewhat trusting” of the information provided. And, this trust drives content visibility.
  • People trust other people more than brands. If you publish something as a brand, it has less built in trust. You need to be aware of this, and include this in your marketing strategy. It does not mean that you cannot have content nuggets being distributed and promoted by brands, but if you really want to increase content visibility, you should focus on getting individuals promoting your content nuggets.
  • People will share information that matches their views/self persona even if it’s from an untrusted source. People don’t rely on the count or share (meaning, how viral the content is), and it’s really a vanity metric. Once it lands, if they feel it matches their beliefs, they’re more likely to share. So, on the one hand, trust is an important metric for content visibility. On the other hand, the subject matter of content nuggets does not necessarily need to rely on trust to be shared.
  • The sender’s reputation affects the perception of the content, but not too much. Let’s be honest. If you are Facebook friends with someone, and they’re a “kook”, do you trust information coming from them as much as if the information was shared by a ‘reputable’ source? In short, safeguard your reputation and be careful what you share on social media so as not to hinder your efforts in drive content visibility.
  • The content must be self-contained and ridiculously easy to share. Content that gets shared is shared because it’s easy to share. Nobody wants to jump through hoops for content nuggets. If it’s complex to share, for example, it requires more than a click, then it’s not shareable. Do you like to work for what you want to consume right at that moment? It content nuggets are not easily sharable, content visibility will e low. That’s why shared content must be self-contained.
  • The message has to be separated from the advocate or object of discussion. For content to go very viral, i.e. for content visibility to be high, content nuggets must be at least somewhat abstracted from their source and advocate. For example, if a meme requires understanding who a celebrity is to understand the meme, it will be limited by how much of a celebrity that person is.
  • People share content that makes them look good to THEIR tribe. People are inherently social animals (people derogatorily call people “sheeple” for a reason). Some of what controls our behavior in public is how others will view and judge us. Because of this, if you’re trying to get people to share your content nuggets, you have to think about how they will perceive this sharing to affect their own reputation. They will not help you drive your content visibility if it negatively affects their own. And, you have to make them look smart, clever, funny, or enlightened.
  • It’s delivered with a regular schedule. The hits don’t come from the one brilliant idea. The hits come from a ritualistic, stable stream of content that is brand-driven. One super clever, interesting, engaging content nugget is not going to drive your content visibility. It’s about being there with good stuff. Again and Again. Content nuggets, plural. No military front line was ever cleared by one bomb (unless it’s a HUGE bomb).

A final word of caution about content nuggets and driving content visibility.

You’ll notice that none of these tenets state that the content had to be truthful. That’s a core problem with society. But, this problem isn’t ours to solve—we’ve got a job to do. But, as stated in We have a responsibility as marketers it’s our job to be trying to make the world a better place. Don’t give in to your lower impulses and try to appeal to the lowest common denominator by lying, falsifying, peddling conspiracy theories, and whatnot. Instead, transform your perfect buyer’s journey into a better place.

So, please do that. 😀

10+ years of marketing agency experience. 10+ years (4 exits) of VC-funded startup experience. Dad. Musician. Coffee-lover. E-bike aficionado.
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