Several months ago, publishing an email newsletter on emotional intelligence. I set out to create an online course that I could sell to my newsletter subscribers.
But then, I remembered a book I read a couple of years ago by Seth Godin named Unleashing the Ideavirus. Although the book is more than 20 years-old, its concept was still powerful:
Give away your best stuff and it will spread.
This resulted in a huge increase in my audience and has led to many amazing opportunities. People contact me regularly to express their appreciation for my work, and to offer me a job or to license my content.
If you are using content to attract people to your work, I recommend Unleashing The Ideavirus. To prove his theory, Godin originally released the ebook for free. The ebook can still be downloaded for free from his website.
Godin recommends you begin with an “idea manifesto,” a powerful, logical essay that assembles a bunch of existing ideas and creates a new one. Godin says that as long as your manifesto can be used to influence the way people think and talk, you can create value.
Once you have your manifesto, there are some steps to follow when spreading your ideavirus. Here’s a brief breakdown of the main points, and why they’re so powerful today.
1. Make it virusworthy.
“If it’s not worth talking about, it won’t get talked about,” writes Godin.
It’s as simple as that.
2. Find the sneezers.
Sneezers are those people who are far more likely to spread your idea than others.
“Sneezers are at the core of any ideavirus,” he writes. “Sneezers are the ones who when they tell ten or twenty or 100 people–people believe them.”
2. Identify the hive.
A hive is a very targeted audience. Godin recommends that you identify a hive with a problem, which has the right amount of sneezers and the right level of amplified networking, high velocity communication, and most importantly, a vacuum. “
The ideavirus won’t reach its full potential until you dominate your hive.
3. Expose your idea.
Expose your idea to the right people, and do whatever you need to do to get those people deep into the experience of the idea as quickly as possible. Godin encourages them to pay for the opportunity to experience your idea.
4. You should decide what the sneezers want to say.
“You’ve got to decide what you want the sneezers to say to the population,” writes Godin. “If you don’t decide, either they’ll decide for you and say something less than optimal, or they won’t even bother to spend the time.”
5. Give the sneezers what they need.
Make it easy for sneezers to spread the idea. Please give me an easy way to spread the idea in just one click. Is it possible to join your affiliate program within 60 seconds?
Reward those who are willing to share.
6. Ask permission.
Your goal, says Godin, is to get attention, then build a more reliable, permanent chain of communication. Through that communication chain, you can further enhance this idea and launch new ideas more quickly and effectively–this time under your control.
7. You can create a cycle.
If you can amaze your audience enough, they will naturally reinforce the virus and keep it growing.
Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids. What about fidget spinners, you ask? Godin claims that the main reason viruses fail to spread quickly is because marketers are greedy. They forget that a temporary virus is only the beginning.
“By nurturing the attention you receive, you can build a self-reinforcing virus that lasts and lasts and benefits all involved.”
8. Accept the viral life cycle.
“Cats was a terrific success on Broadway,” writes Godin. “But even great shows don’t last forever. “
“Marketers can adjust their spending to high-leverage moments by understanding that virus needs change over time. “
Remember, an ideavirus follows a lifecycle. The virus will die if you ignore the lifecycle. You can ride your horse for a very long time if you feed it well.
Do you have an idea you want to share? Are you looking for ways to make money from your amazing content?
I urge you to follow Seth Godin’s lead and give away your best content for free. It’ll open doors to a whole new world of opportunities if you do it correctly.
(Check out the free emotional intelligence course I built using Godin’s advice, where each day for 10 days you get a rule designed to help you make emotions work for you, instead of against you. )