A Good Idea Goes a Long Way

How would you like generate a boat load of traffic to your web site without filling someone else’s boat with money to do it?  Well, it could be just as simple as coming up with the right idea. Or to be more specific, an idea that people will talk about.

We all stand around the water cooler talking about the latest neat thing we heard about on the radio or that a friend mentioned to us. Maybe it is a product, service or just something funny that was on TV the night before. But what if that water cooler was actually a complex social network that connected with thousands of other people? Suddenly what you thought was interesting is being discussed all around the world. Then somewhere along the line all of these people stumble across a web site, video or some sort of content that is related to this topic of interest. Suddenly links to that content start popping up all over the place. As a result traffic to the web site that is hosting that content goes through the roof and prominence in search results increases. Now what if you happened to have that content of interest on your web site? That would not be so bad, would it?

So how exactly does something spread like wildfire through these social networks? Well first, there needs to be that good idea. This idea does not have to be groundbreaking. In fact it could even be something that seems downright silly. But what it needs to be is something that people will talk about and more importantly send to other people online. So long as it generates some sort of buzz or interest, then the word will start to spread. This interest can be the result of something people find humorous, silly or even controversial.

Recently we had the pleasure of developing an online contest for KFC Canada’s website, which was able to reap the benefits of this phenomenon. The contest was tied into a promotion for their new spicy Wicked Crunch Sandwich. In the contest a video shows a fictional heavy metal band playing on stage. The singer in the band screams over the music and ends the song by breathing fire. They then cut to a shot of him backstage taking a bite out of a Wicked Crunch, to which he states, “Oh man that is hot.” That may or may not seem humorous to you. However, due to the fact that a company such as KFC chose to use a dark, leather and spikes heavy metal band in their contest, it was deemed a rather bold move by many people. Because of this bold move, people online started talking about the contest, posting links to it and even clips of the video started popping up on YouTube. Suddenly contest submissions started increasing and went from a couple hundred a day to thousands. In addition to that, the contest page on the KFC web site started showing up prominently in search results. All thanks to the interest generated by the links back to the KFC site from numerous blogs and message boards.

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