What Creates Buzz?

Buzz Master

Buzz Master

Bon jour, I hope you had a great week, as some of you know I post to my blog on the weekends so look for a new post each Sunday sometime (or Monday) or follow me on Twitter @HopeJohnstone and I will send you a tweet when I upload the post.

In my last post we spoke more on the “why” of social media and “how” to measure it. Although there are many legit measurements of success or failure in social media such as “friends” “fans” “followers” “views” etc the real bottom line as we wrote last week is Return on Engagement (ROE) and that is what we call “buzz”. Buzz is in some respect “gossip” and gossip is good because people will carry on the conversation to find out if it is real or not. Gossip can be positive although much of what we read in the tabloids is not. So how do we change our tweets or wall posts from being one shot wonders to buzz creators? This is the topic of this post (aren’t you lucky).

Mark Hughes one of my gurus in buzz creation has six things that tend to push peoples buttons and create buzz more than all others, I have taken the liberty (sorry Mark) of breaking out one he included and giving its own number by adding a seventh, here they are:

  1. The taboo (sex, lies, bathroom humor)
  2. The unusual
  3. The outrageous
  4. The hilarious
  5. The remarkable
  6. Secrets revealed
  7. Top 10 lists (my feeble addition)

Now, don’t look at that list and say, my boss would never let me write that! Everything can be (and I have done it) adapted. Remember the more you white wash it the less effective it will become. No one wants you to become a sensationalist but a little naughty can be fun. It’s up to you.

Here are some examples used in Mark’s book Buzz Marketing . In the slightly Taboo catagory do you remember Proctor & Gambles “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” of course you do, everyone does. Mr Whipple would admonish people in the store to resist squeezing the Charmin. He tapped into our taboo and what did we do when we saw Charmin in the grocery store, right, we squeezed. It was the most successful campaign in P&Cs history.

In the catagory of “Unusual” Ian Klein went into the on-lining dating business in 2000 and was competing against giants such as match.com. His sister was one of 64% overweight Americans who were single at the time and so he created OverweightDate.com. Soon the gossip started at Weight Watchers, singles bars, everywhere where people were struggling with their weight. Best of all his idea worked!

I only use these examples from Mark Hughes book because they show you that you don’t have to be over the top to tap into the gossip gene.

So now you have used the above and created some buzz, but what kind of buzz is picked up and run with in legacy media the most? In other words which buzz become stories that have legs?

Here are the five most frequently written stories year after year:

  1. The David and Goliath story
  2. The unusual story
  3. The controversy story
  4. The celebrity story
  5. What’s hot in the media

You want examples? Of course you do…. Well the media is littered with David and Goliath stories, small companies going up against fortune 500 companies, getting bloodied but winning (or at least going the 10 rounds). It’s the Rocky story over and over again. Every loves it, think Delorian going up against Detroit. It didn’t end up well but that wasn’t because of Detroit (or was it?) How about Ben and Jerry’s vs Haagen-Daz, and the stories go on and on. You get the picture.

Another guru of mine is Mari Smith, not just because she hails from Scotland (and so do I) or that she is now Canadian (so was I) but because she is my guru of facebook. I shall end this post with a quote from her “Today, it is not just who you know, but who knows YOU”  Next week we will blog about getting the key influencers to follow you.

Buzz Master



  1. […] we discussed in the July 12th Post  the bottom line of social networking is to create “buzz”. Buzz is any conversation […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: