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5 Reasons Why You’re Not Going Viral

Trying to go viral but not gaining traction with your real estate content? Chances are you’re doing something wrong. Here are a few areas to help you identify the problems along with a few tips to help you correct them.

Viral traffic is the goods when it comes to attracting new followers, fans, and building backlinks to your site for some Google love (increasingly more important with social search). When your content goes viral, folks are psyched about your content and freely share it with their friends, who share it with their friends, who share it with… you get the picture. It’s like a “feel-good” flu 🙂

However, generating viral traffic to your site involves a whole lot more than simply writing content worth sharing. If only that’s all it took, right? See, winning traffic with your blog or incentived list-building offer goes beyond the content itself.

If you’ve been online for any length of time then you know “celebrity agents” do exist. Their content quickly and easily gets re-tweeted, shared on FriendFeed, full of comments, etc. While you DO NOT need to be a celebrity agent to gain viral success, you DO need to be a part of the community. If you’re not actively engaged with other folks in your online community (local bloggers, twitterers, niche-related businesses), comment on their stories, share their links, and make friends then the odss that someone else is going to do that for you is pretty dismal.

To be frank, this is the area I struggle with the most. I’m not naturally a social person. In fact, I’m content to watch and study the how and why of people’s interactions. That’s why I’m a better copywriter than a face-to-face salesperson. So, I have to remind myself to meet people.

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If your status is one of low-visibility then before you bust your ass on content you need to get out there and join the community. Contribute to the success of others before working to get your own content spread around. Visibility is crucial for attracting fans and generating viral traffic… it’s not a step you can skip.

A quality site is key in getting your content to go viral. If folks arrive and your site is too self-promotional or widget dominated then you’re turning traffic away. Folks coming to your site for news or content are looking for one thing – damn good content. They didn’t come for your Glamour Shot or featured home widget.

Here’s the thing about site design: design is the dressing that supports, highlights, and moves the eye to your content. If your site suffers from too much flare, time to get that fixed.

Rest easy, not all of your content is going to be a winner. Even celebrity agents can’t make crap content popular. And not every piece of good content will go viral, either.

Without turning this into a post on crafting killer content, be sure what your writing (or recording) fits your market position, your ideal client, and make it unique from what they may find elsewhere. If you’re going to tap something that’s current, put your unique expert spin on it.

You may think that adding a “share this” plugin to your site will get the job done. It helps, but a button does not make a strategy. Just like the offline world, strategy is absolutely critical to syndicating your content and getting it to go viral.

In fact, as an online Realtor your main job is the syndication of content. Make sure you have a strategy to put your content in front of the eyeballs that matter.

Let’s face it, creating great content isn’t easy. It takes some thought and then some work. For this reason, it’s important to work at creating buzzworthy content. Not all Realtors are interested in doing this and that works to your benefit. They’d rather just throw up a quick blog post now and again rather than quite something more engaging. They also wonder why their blog doesn’t get traffic.

If you add content creation (in one form or another – video, writing, etc) to your daily workflow then you’ll keep your razor sharp and be able to turn out good content on a regular basis. Online business is driven by content. Keep creating it, the better you’ll get.

Going viral

If you take anything from this it should be “success requires strategy.” Don’t create content simply for the sake of creating content – it’ll leave you broke, tired, and frustrated.

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Take a look at the content you’re creating to attract visitors, search engines, and leads and ask yourself, “How does this content fit into my marketing plan? Am I working my plan?”

Getting your content to go viral isn’t rocket science. What “no rocket science” tips have I missed?

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Written By

Mark Eckenrode is a Certified Master of Guerrilla Marketing raised on comic books, punk rock, and Pepsi. He's also the chief marketing trainer at HomeStomper where AgentGenius readers can learn unconventional methods for winning with social media.



  1. Andrea

    April 6, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the great tips. I also struggle with step #1. Do you have any tips or strategies for how to leave comments that “contribute to the success of others?” I find myself mostly agreeing with the info in the blog posts – is this enough? Or should i be writing different kind of comments? Help.

  2. Brandie Young

    April 7, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Mark, this is a fantastic post! So important and relevant as so many people try to leverage a community medium.

    I’d add to this re: content. To your point it absolutely needs to be of value. To go ‘viral’ it does need to evoke something in the reader/viewer. Most successful viral campaigns contain either an emotional, humorous or wow factor. For agents, the best route may be the emotional, since real estate is such a touchy subject these days.

    Again, awesome post. Thanks!

  3. Ricardo Bueno

    April 7, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Re: “Don’t create content simply for the sake of creating content – it’ll leave you broke, tired, and frustrated.”

    Oh so true. It becomes obvious (even in written form) that you’re dissatisfied with what you’re doing.

    I think that blogger newbies really struggle with the content development part (what to write and how to write it). What people should know early on is that it’s ok to be conversational. You don’t have to write these overly articulate posts.. Sometimes (heck a lot of times), people prefer, the short, informative, conversational posts.

  4. Joe Loomer

    April 7, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Mark, your post hit home in many ways. As someone who is just now “getting it” about going viral, this short, informative post gives me the focus I need to continue to market my thoughts and ideas in a positive, engaging (and concise) way. Thanks again…

  5. Mark Eckenrode

    April 7, 2009 at 9:39 am

    @brandie: yeah, emotional leverage is a powerful way to go. i’d definitely recommend folks go that route rather than humor… humor is way too hard to get right.

    @ribeezie: realtors are experts and have a hell of a lot to share as content but i agree… many tend to not notice their own expertise. we all do that to some degree. this is where you smack em and say “get over it!” 🙂

  6. #1 is my big struggle as well, except not for the same reason as you. My reality is that I’m busy, very busy. I sell a lot of houses and of course, I want to dominate the web even more. Engaging takes time, a lot of it. I’m trying to make more of it “work” for me so we’ll see what the future entails!!

  7. Mark Eckenrode

    April 7, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    @andrea: it’s understandable why you feel odd leaving a comment as simple as “great article.” i know i do. try pointing out what you found most valuable, or the big golden nugget you found in the piece: “i really liked your mention of ___ because it really clarified ___ for me”. it’s a kudos comment but you’re showing the writer (and other readers) you care enough to take the time to comment.

    as far as “contributing to the success of others”, help spread the goods around by sharing the article on twitter, facebook, or other social networks. helping someone go viral is a good way to get noticed.

    @joe: really glad you shared that and good to know that you’re starting to get it

    @christina: it’s good to be busy and productive 🙂 but, make no mistake that engagement takes time. for folks that are time stressed, it’d make sense to be very selective at first of where you want to participate. spend time on only 2-3 sites at most then once you’ve got a foothold there feel free to branch out. the trick, of course, is figuring out which 2-3

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