How to go viral (or the tweet that wouldn’t die)

How to go viral (or the tweet that wouldn’t die)

I’ve never really been wild about Twitter, possibly because I’m a touch verbose by nature.

For me, that 140-character limit feels like squeezing into jeans that are too tight, and I end up with a wordy muffin top.

A while back I found this on the web, and tweeted it on a whim.

(Since tweeting it I’ve traced the image back to @shitlondon. My hearty apologies for not crediting them.)

As with most of my posts, it got a few retweets and likes.

And then BOOM, it went (a bit) crazy.

At last count the original pic had been retweeted more than 2000 times and favourited more than a thousand.

Viral Tweet

But it also got retweeted by:

  • @thepoke (which is odd seeing as I discovered they posted the pic themselves back in 2013)
  • @minniedriver (yes the actress)
  • @davidschneider (one of my Twitter heroes)
  • a few other famous types.

So their tweets got retweeted and then those got retweeted and so on and on.

The result

In measurable terms, this single post earned me around 250 new followers on Twitter. I also noticed an increaselearn-copywriting-courses in my Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn connections.

Of course, the new followers then retweeted other older posts, and many visited my site (my traffic was up 30% last week from new visitors). A lot of them also downloaded my SEO checklist and Copy deck template, which have associated tweets to download.

On the non-measureable (but rather lovely) side, I’ve enjoyed connecting with lots of new people who have a similar sense of humour, and I’ve found some great new accounts to follow.

How to go viral?

Having since read a few posts (okay, one) on how to go viral, the general advice seems to be:

  • Focus on current events – Well, I didn’t do that. The image I tweeted is a year old.
  • Make a video – Erm, no.
  • Pay attention to keywords and tags – I didn’t.
  • Get noticed by someone big – What dumb advice! Surely that’s luck. (Although getting retweeted by the big boys for sure was the key to my success.)
  • Start a contest – N/A
  • Use humour – Tick! The picture was funny, and I guess my tweet was funny too.
  • Be shocking and controversial: Nup.
  • Use photos and visual content: Yup.
  • Submit to Reddit: I’m still not really into Reddit, so I didn’t do this.
  • Don’t be boring: Again, stupid advice. If you’re boring you probably don’t know it, right?

So why did I go viral?

Obviously 2000 retweets isn’t that earth shattering, but it’s nice for little old me. How did I do it? Well I could spin you some bullshit about a social media strategy, but the truth is I post random stuff and this time I got lucky.

I’ve posted far funnier things since that no-one has noticed.

The only thing I think that did work in my favour was the timing of the post. I posted it late at night in Australia, which meant it hit the UK twitter feeds in the early morning.

Or perhaps my English sense of humour shone through?

Over to you

Have you ever had anything go viral? What do you think was the key factor? Please comment below.

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HOW TO TWEET: A beginner’s guide

HOW TO TWEET: A beginner’s guide

Here’s my short, snappy, no-nonsense guide to tweeting for beginners. It’s not a definitive guide, but it might give you some useful pointers.

Use the space:
You have 140 characters (including spaces), but don’t go over or your tweet will truncate and lose meaning.

Shorter is sweeter:

Try tweeting at 120 characters to leave room for others to add comments should they retweet.

For example: Essential reading >> HOW TO TWEET: A beginner’s guide via @katetooncopy

Turn off Facebook autotweet:learn-copywriting-courses

There are no character limits or hashtags on Facebook, so instead of autotweeting your FB page status, write a bespoke tweet.

Don’t just follow for the hell of it:

Just ‘cos someone follows you doesn’t mean have to follow them back. Yes it’s sweet to do this, but your feed will soon become clogged with stuff you’re not remotely interested in.

It’s not all about you:

Follow the 80/20 rule for content: 20% about you and your brand, 80% other (related) stuff. Here are some ideas for things to tweet about:

    • Offer guidance: How to Tweet: A beginners guide
    • Pose a question: Why do men have nipples?
    • Offer a discount: BOGOF: Buy one (blog) get one free offer on your product or service
    • Share your latest news: Let everyone know something awesome that’s just happened
    • Be funny: What do you call an Italian with a rubber toe?
    • Be human: When I die I want to be buried in a giant Creme Egg shaped coffin
    • Don’t over share: When you’ve learned to love Twitter, it’s tempting to tweet everything. One friend used to tweet every time he went to the loo; it was funny at first, then gross, then boring.

Name drop:

If you want to mention another brand, use the @ symbol. For example @katetooncopy.

Get personal:

Add a personal comment to your retweet if there’s room. For example

This is the best post ever > HOW TO TWEET: A beginner’s guide via @katetooncopy


If you want to mention a keyword, use the # symbol (#copywriting), but don’t over do it, as it makes your tweets really annoying. One per tweet is cool.

Length isn’t everything:

If your URL is too long, use Tiny URL or bitly.com to shorten it.

Painless contractions:

Be creative with your word contractions, but don’t turn your tweet into goobledegook or teen speak. For example, ‘U R gr8’.

Don’t use ‘and’:

Try ‘+’ or ‘&’ instead and save yourself two characters.

Use digits for numbers:

So ‘Eight’ becomes ‘8’. Obvious but often forgotten.

Keep it clean:

By reviewing your tweet for empty spaces, pointless full stops, etc, you could claw back enough space for another word.

Retweet sparingly:

If all you do is retweet others, I’m going to unfollow you.

Rewrite retweets:

As long as you credit the link (@[twittername]) and don’t change the meaning of the post, it’s okay to retweet.

So there you go. There are obviously heaps of other points I could add, but my best advice is to get stuck in. It’s only by using Twitter that you’ll wrap your head around it.

Further reading:

Share your thoughts:

What essential Twitter advice have I missed? What Tweeting tactics work for you?

Want to have a chat?

If you need a Copywriter, SEO Consultant or Information Architect, then please contact me.

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Social Media Marketing Made Easy

Social Media Marketing Made Easy

Or, How to set up a Social Media Marketing Campaign in five easy steps

So, you know you need to dive into the Social Media pool, the pressure is on, but you don’t really have a clue what you’re doing.
Never fear, here’s a super succinct guide to setting up a quick and easy Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaign.

Step 1: Make a plan

Rather than just leaping forth with Social Media because everyone else is doing it, sit down and have a long hard think about the reasons you need to ‘go social’.

Think about your:learn-copywriting-courses

  • Business objectives and model
  • Target audience
  • Current products and services
  • Current marketing plan

Before you embark on a journey into this new territory, be sure you really understand where your brand is at.

Step 2: Set your goal

Too many business play the numbers game with Social Media, defining goals such as “More likes on Facebook”, but we all know that with Marketing (as with most other things), it’s quality not quantity that counts. Instead, think about goals based on engagement (and this doesn’t mean just counting the number of comments or shares you get on a post).

Set out some reasonable, specific Social Media goals that you can check off in a few months time:

  • Encourage users to complete a survey about your business
  • Generate interest about a new service or product launch
  • Increase relevant traffic to your site
  • Reduce the number of customer service enquiries you handle via email
  • Improve reputation and word-of-mouth recommendation

Step 3: Set a tone

To get your Social Media campaign working really well, you need to totally understand your audience and what they want from your brand. Create a voice and content to match their needs. Just because it’s social, doesn’t mean you need to dumb down or ‘act cool’. Be yourself, be your brand and the customers will come.

Step 4: Set up your sites

There seems to be a new social media site appearing every week, but the big five leading social networks are as follows:

  • Facebook: Great for building a community, getting recommendations, sharing and running events and competitions.
  • Twitter: Good for real time interaction and customer service queries.
  • Google +: Similar to Facebook, but not quite as cool.
  • LinkedIn:  The number one Business-to-Business social networking tool.
  • Pinterest: The viral platform for sharing via images.













Get more of a low down on the Social Media statistics here.

Setting up Social Media sites is stupidly easy – and, if you’re a small business, the set up is really something you should try and do yourself, especially if you intend to maintain the sites yourself.

Step 5: Plan your content

Okay, this is the tough bit. You need to find, create and deliver relevant and engaging content – and by engaging I don’t mean photographs of sunsets overlaid with motivational quotes.

So draw up a plan for the next three months that outlines:

  • Frequency: How often are you going to post? What is realistic? How long will it take you to create each post? Who needs to proof it and approve it?
  • Topics: Ideally, draw up some broad category types for your content, such as news, advice, product information, photos, videos, etc.
  • Engagement: Ways to increase audience engagement, such as questions, discussion points, polls, competitions and events.
  • Success metrics: Okay, I know I said it’s not a numbers game, but it’s interesting to set a benchmark for volume of likes, retweets, comments, etc. – just so you can slap yourself on the back when you exceed them.


Social Media can be a great way to develop contact with your customers, increase brand awareness and build a larger audience for your services or products. It’s also a lot of fun! Successful Social Media requires a solid plan and a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve.

Just remember that Social Media is a long-term commitment; you’ll really piss off your loyal likers if you disappear for a few months or just share random images of cats falling over. Try to ensure your Social Media strategy is honest, relevant and interesting, and then you can’t go too far wrong.

Want to have a chat?

If you need a Copywriter, SEO Consultant or Information Architect, then please contact me.

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The new me

The new me

Splitting the writer from the copywriter

When I started katetoon.com I didn’t really know how I was going to market myself. I was five months pregnant and about to leave my job as Head of Digital at MassMedia Studios. It was a nerve-wracking time and I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to go it alone and still make a decent living.

Kate Toon Writer

So, at that stage, I chose an eponymous title for my website, the idea being that I could house a multitude of services under this general heading, and that it would be useful for networking (fortunately, I have a pretty memorable name – thanks parents!). I also gave myself the tongue in cheek title of ‘writer and web guru’ in order to cover all the various products I was planning to offer.

Becoming more single minded

Over the last three years, I’ve done heaps of different projects, from information architecture for the RTA to SEO advice for Tourism Australia and an award-winning video script for Samboy Crisps. I’ve also built several websites. But, as time goes by, I find myself increasingly drawn to copywriting (both SEO and advertising), as well as site planning (information architecture and functional specification writing) and also SEO advice. So, I wanted to put myself out there as a COPYWRITER, pure and simple. The other services I offer are now more secondary. I also began to find ‘web guru’ a bit cringy. It had to go!

Poetry and SEO don’t mix

Another issue was my increasing ‘growth’ as a creative writer of poems, plays, scripts and now books. I was conscious of annoying my customer base (I’m pretty sure the guys at American Express and Symantec we’re desperate to read my latest poem about depressed goldfish). So, the time had come to split the sites.

I decided that www.katetoon.com would be for my poetry, plays and creative writing, and I’d build a new site (this one) for my copywriting business.

The downside of the split

Obviously, I’ve built up a lot of SEO juice over the years and www.katetoon.com ranked 2nd or 3rd in the natural learn-copywriting-courseslistings for all my chosen keywords last time I looked. Even with careful planning, there was no way my search position wouldn’t take a hit for a short while. But this was good with me as: a) I was off on holiday, b) I am fully booked until the end of April anyhoo. So I got cracking and:

  • Registered the new domain and set up hosting.
  • Copied the old site across.
  • Quickly deleted all poetry posts from my new copywriting site and all copywriting posts from my poetry site, as Google does so hate duplicate content!
  • Set up individual 301 (permanent) redirects from all old posts to new ones.
  • Reset all images to load into the new site.
  • Reviewed as many back links as I could to ensure they now pointed at my new site.
  • Updated links on Google Places, LinkedIn, True Local etc to point at the new copywriter site.
  • Set up a permanent sticky post on the home page of my poetry site so that traffic that did hit this page could be redirected to my copywriting site.
  • Updated the CTA on EVERY SINGLE POST AND PAGE (that was fun) to reflect my new service offering.

Social media issues

Facebook was the hardest pill to swallow. Since I had over the 100 fans ‘change limit’ I couldn’t simply rename the page. Nor is there an easy way to move content and ‘likers’ to a newly created page. So, instead, I set up two new Facebook pages: Kate Toon Writer and Kate Toon SEO Copywriter – and then explained to the likers on my old page that it would soon be deleted. So far, of the 400+ fans I had on my old FB page, only about 20% have moved over, but again ‘am I bovered’? No, as in all honesty I’m not sure I’ve ever had a single lead from Facebook!

On Twitter I kept my existing profile @katetoon for my poetry and created a new profile, @katetooncopy, for the copywriting. I’m pleased to see old faces popping up on my new Twitter page and have gathered 100+ followers in just over a week, which isn’t bad.

All in all it’s been a good move. A few hiccups along the way and far more manual updates that were really necessary, but I feel much better with two sites to cover my two writing personalities.

Could I have done things differently? What would you have done?

Want to have a chat?

If you need a Copywriter, SEO Consultant or Information Architect, then please contact me.

The Recipe for SEO Success
The Clever Copywriting School

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