What’s it take for your marketing to go viral?

At the upcoming IB Presents event, Instagram and YouTube’s Jon Youshaei will help local businesses create consistent content that keeps their community coming back.

Going viral isn’t an accident. It’s a process — one that Jon Youshaei has mastered as a leading marketer at YouTube and now Instagram. Lauded by Inc. Magazine for “cracking the code on how to go viral,” Youshaei is the force behind many popular videos, articles, cartoons, and other content that have set records for shares, views, and followers.

Now, he’ll be speaking before a Madison audience on May 7 at IB Presents:  Cracking the Code of Going Viral. In today’s world of short attention spans, Youshaei, product marketing manager for Instagram’s IGTV, provides the blueprint for how organizations can go viral to catch the attention of their target markets.

On discovering the secret of going viral, Youshaei says curiosity was key.

“I was fortunate enough to work with many creators as their communities grew to include millions of followers, and they started to build businesses through their fame,” Youshaei explains. “By learning the behind-the-scenes of that process, I was able to understand what enabled somebody to cut through the noise of the internet while others got lost in it. Now, I’m excited to share those insights so you can fast forward and avoid the years of mistakes many people make without realizing.”

On May 7, Youshaei will show the audience:

  • How to get your target market to see your message without spending a fortune;
  • How to simplify your message so customers actually care enough to share it; and
  • Proven templates to apply when writing your next newsletter, email, sales page, or social post.

“Creating great content is like creating a great company,” Youshaei notes. “You must have focus, obsess about your audience, and show up for them again and again. The days of one-off viral videos like ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ and ‘David After The Dentist’ are waning. True virality comes from businesses who create consistent content that their community continues to come back for, which is what I’m excited to cover in my presentation.”

So, what’s the most common mistake Youshaei sees brands or individuals making in their content that leads to it either not standing out or going viral for all the wrong reasons? Investing a lot into one piece of content then not creating anything for months.

“I’ve seen it too many times. A brand will tell me, ‘We’re investing tons of money into making this video! Just wait until the world sees!’ Yet, they don’t have a follow-up plan. Sure, that one video may be great, but the only way to build an audience is by having them come back consistently, and that doesn’t happen if you publish new content months apart. Instead, I recommend that brands approach social media like new-age television: It’s important to think about what you’re entire ‘season’ will look like, not just your ‘pilot episode.’”

Youshaei himself has occasionally had to learn the hard way about what makes a captivating suite of content that keeps people coming back. Sometimes, just changing a few tactics is what leads to growth.

“In 2014, I created a cartoon series called Every Vowel, which was meant to share career advice in a fun, visual, and comedic way,” Youshaei says. “Initially, it didn’t take off. I struggled to get traction until I made a key change: I started sharing my sketches with my audience. I started getting their feedback on what cartoons I should draw and what jokes I should visualize. It was amazing to see people feel so much ownership over the cartoons and share them widely.”

Today, Every Vowel has over 400,000 readers, has been featured in publications such as Business Insider, which called it the “Dilbert for millennials.” Perhaps more shockingly, says Youshaei, the cartoon’s success lead to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh asking him to paint four of his cartoons as murals for Hsieh’s Las Vegas offices.

What else can attendees to the May 7 IB Presents event expect from Youshaei?

“Without giving too much away, I’ll say that this: many businesses have their priorities backwards when it comes to their marketing materials,” cautions Youshaei. “They spend days drafting up a newsletter, social post, article, or sales page only to spend minutes coming up with the words at the very top of the page or in the email subject line. It’s wild. The headline is the gateway to your content. If you can’t get your customers through the door, then how can you possibly show them your house and build a long-lasting relationship? You can’t. That’s why a big part of my presentation will be covering how to write attention-grabbing headlines in 2019 so your great work doesn’t go unnoticed any longer.”

If you plan to attend:

Date: Tuesday, May 7
7:30 to 8 a.m. | Registration
8 to 8:30 a.m. | Breakfast
8:30 to 10 a.m. | Presentation
Location: Madison Marriott West, Ballroom, 1313 John Q Hammons Drive, Middleton
Tickets: $45 each or $300 for a table of eight. Breakfast included.
Parking: Please park on the conference center side of the Madison Marriott West.

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