Basically what you need is a major event, something so important that all of the mainstream media is buzzing about it the entire day. In Croatia, it was the sudden unexpected resignation of our prime minister.
The story actually broke on Twitter (this was the first big story to break on Twitter in Croatia), giving us (power users) a fifteen minute window of opportunity before the mainstream media picked up the story.
A colleague of mine, Hrvoje Gosaric, quickly created a Facebook group called "Neću Jadranku Kosor za premijerku!" (it translates to "I don't want Jadranka Kosor for my new prime minister!"). To get an initial member base, we invited our own friends to join the group.
Here comes a key part of the story:
Whenever such a big event happens, mainstream media is seeking related stories since their audience is demanding more.
It's the key moment to pitch your story to them. I pitched the story about the "fast growing Facebook group" to the journalist of a major Croatian newspaper, "Jutarnji List" via Twitter. Ironically, the journalist I pitched the story to was the same one that broke the story about the prime minister's resignation in the first place.
It was a pretty simple tweet, something like "Here's a nice topic for you: http://en-gb.facebook.com/posted.php?id=112175728114." They published an article about the group a few minutes after on their news portal. While I was pitching the story to the major newspapers, Hrvoje was pitching it to the major news portal in Croatia, Index.hr.
When both "Jutarnji List" and "Index.hr" wrote about the group, most of the other mainstream media published the story too. The story was published in major newspapers right away the next morning. In just 24 hours, the group became the largest Facebook group in Croatia, with over 100,000 members today.
The link in the description of the group sent me so much traffic, my personal blog collapsed (I wasn't prepared for it). The only reason why the group grew so big and so fast was the articles in the mainstream media.
Here you can see that the group had just 303 members when Index.hr wrote about it.
So what are the marketing takeaways of this story?
- Content -- Create content relevant to the major event and it will be easy to pitch the story to the mainstream media.
- Brevity -- Be quick, be short. A simple one line pitch is enough. Journalists can develop a story out of it on their own.
- Readiness -- Be prepared. The traffic may be overwhelming, so be sure to prepare your site for it (use a cache).
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