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Which cheesesteak do you want?

I’m reading Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. The introduction starts with the story of Barclay’s $100 cheesesteak- and how it helped the restaurant launch successfully. People rushed to tell their friends and colleagues about how awesome it was. Sometimes they shared it as an appetizer- and all of them told the story of the $100 cheesesteak. It was contagious!

The author has spent a decade researching what makes things more likely to become popular. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve only just started so I can only list the six ingredients for making something more likely to go viral. I’ll update you as I continue to read- but here are the six for today’s newsletter!

1. Social Currency (how does it make the people who will share your story- smart or dumb? rich or poor? cool or geeky?)
2. Triggers (you might remember this concept from a post a while ago about how changing habits requires a trigger to remind you to do the new habit. This is the same thing- you need to have a trigger to remind people to tell their friends).
3. Emotion (‘when we care, we share.’ Note the intensity of sharing about the tragic Oklahoma tornadoes this week.)
4. Public (making things more observable makes it easy for others to copy them)
5. Practical Value (frankly, I’m not buying his short version in the introduction about things needing to have some practical value to be more likely to go viral. The $100 cheesesteak doesn’t seem so practical to me nor does ‘grumpy cat.’ I’ll keep you updated as I read the rest of the book)
6. Stories (how can we wrap it all up into a compelling story- making sure that our content is an integral part of the narrative.)