3-Minute WOM Lesson: How to make great word of mouth topics

Topics are the ideas, features, and attention-grabbers you use to give your talkers something to talk about. You should be creating and testing as many as you can, as often as you can, until you find a few that really take off.

What to remember when developing yours:

1. Keep it simple
2. Make it organic
3. Look for the unexpected

1. Keep it simple

Simple topics are easy to share and are much more likely to get repeated than long, jargon-filled ones. Recent favorites to inspire you are IKEA’s “Manland,” JetBlue’s auctioning of seats on eBay, and the library where you can check out a human being. All these topics are great because they’re simple, they’re fun, and they’re easy to tell a friend about.

2. Make it organic

Organic topics are built in to your products. They’re key features, perks, and bonuses that inspire conversations. The best all-time example of this is the flower vase built in to VW Bugs. This simple feature continues to start conversations every day, even though it originally came out in the 1950’s. (Note: VW removed this feature for the 2012 model, which is a topic for a future issue on how to kill a great conversation.)

3. Look for the unexpected

Some of your best topics will come not from you, but from your fans. Watch how people use and talk about your stuff and if you see a great topic emerge (even if it’s not perfectly aligned with your brand message), go with it. Think like Duck brand duct tape when they saw kids creating prom outfits with their tape. They saw a great topic and created a scholarship to encourage other kids to do it, and have since created a whole bunch of new conversations.

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