If you haven’t heard about the tragic killing of an endangered Gorilla in the Cincinnati zoo last week, then you may have just returned from an internet-free zone on a deserted island. (Or at least not been on social media recently.) The event was tragic, and no matter how it turned out, it likely would have ended in tragedy. I’m not here to lay out my opinions on whether or not the Gorilla had to be killed or whether or not the mother of the child who fell into the exhibit is at fault.
What I am here to discuss is how this relates to internet marketing, the way stuff goes viral on Facebook and Twitter and how this can contribute to your business building efforts. I know, you are probably thinking that it’s got NOTHING to do with it! Well a discussion I had this morning, on a Facebook post, with someone totally created my thoughts on this.
Here’s how it went. Someone wrote an article that shows the father of the child has a criminal past. Exactly HOW is that relevant? 100% not relevant! But it accomplished getting at least one other article written about that article, calling out the reporter as a racist because of the family being African American.
Now I don’t know that reporter from Adam, so I have no way of knowing if that reporter is a racist; nor does the author of article number 2, I presume.
What I do find incredible, is that even though article number 1 has absolutely zero to do with the situation at hand of who was or was not at fault for the killing of that majestic creature, it has gone viral. Why? Because it has a piece of information that was not available elsewhere. It touched on two things that are more or less hot topics in our current culture (parenting skills and endangered animals) and threw into the mix what we all seem to love best…plain old fashioned gossip about the people involved. I mean, the court of social media had already tried and convicted the mother, now they can justify themselves by seeing what a “bad guy” the dad is too. And it just so happened that the family in question is black.
Article number 2 picked up on that little detail and capitalized on it by simply throwing the extremely hot topic of racism into the mix. Author 2 “called out” the “racism” in article number 1. Whether that racism is real or not is apparently irrelevant. (The irony being that the publisher of article number 1 is not even an American company.)
The results, folks, is every internet marketer’s dream come true. And we all know that controversy sells just as well as “relevant” information.
Those of us who have been in this game long enough, know that one way or another, money is made by traffic to your website. Some of us make money from the clients that find their way to our website. But newspaper-type businesses make money from the advertisements on the website. The more people who view and/or click on those advertisements, the more money they make.
So how does a British newspaper, most likely the last one into the game, make a few extra bucks off a story that had surely had every possible angle already beaten into the virtual ground before the main media even picked it up? You find something unique. And that just happened to be that the dad of the child who fell into the gorilla cage has a not-so-pretty history. Never mind that he is now a law-abiding family man. Never mind that he wasn’t even at the zoo. What matters to the reporter and to the company that she works for, is that it’s something unique.
Would it have mattered if the family happened to be white? I doubt it. Gossip is gossip no matter who it’s about. Just look at the other articles on that website. Plenty of nasty gossip, and most of its about white people. We all say gossip is a disgusting thing, but we still eat it up and contribute to it.
Let me summarize:
- Article 1’s author did some extra digging and “broke” a story around the world, irrelevant as it may be, that people apparently are eating up. It’s pure gossip.
- The second article, created a buzz in the US on a hot topic that nobody had likely even thought of in relation to this parenting vs endangered animal story.
- Article number 1 has 70K shares. Article 2 has 22K shares. Together that’s nearly 100,000 shares and likely millions of comments and clicks to the articles between all those posts.
- Article 2 creates a quality link to article 1, and watch those Google spiders go. SEO baby! Plus, both articles are linked in those 100K shares that I mentioned above.
- Both articles are now making some serious bank from the advertisements on the sides of those stories. Just because someone didn’t notice as their child slipped into the gorilla cage.
So what can we learn from all of this if we step back and look at the situation without emotion? Find a story that is “all the talk”. Find a unique angle to that story. Write about that unique angle, even if its controversial or of questionable ethics. (But please listen to your heart and your gut before you do that!) Link to other well-done and popular articles. Get your story out there on social media. Run ads if you have to at first. Just get people talking about your perspective. And watch the readers pour in.
In case you haven’t noticed, I am actually doing the same thing that the reporters did. Finding a unique twist on that story. I mean, really? A gorilla and a child can turn into an article on internet marketing and SEO? LOL That’s how it’s done folks!