Building Loyalty: One Viral Moment Isn’t Enough

The Saturation Slowdown

It may not always seem like it, but since there are only so many hours in a day — and so much explosive growth in new media — digital consumption is experiencing a bit of a slowdown.

Publisher Axios (powered by RebelMouse) said the saturated market means that "all of the players in the ecosystem will have to work harder to produce better content and experiences to maintain our attention, whether that be via digital ads, social personalization, algorithms, videos or articles."

And it's true. We now live in an ecosystem where one viral moment isn't enough to gain meaningful awareness for your brand or media company. It takes many shining moments that nurture your followers into a loyal partnership with your content.


Your readers will find you on social. But it's their experience with your content within the feeds that should prompt them to want to learn more about who you are as a publisher. To gain loyalty, that experience needs to be relatable, accessible + move across platforms easily.

The idea of loyalty has made quite a lot of evolutionary growth over the past few years. What was once delivered through newspapers and television is now, of course, distributed through social. That means it's an even playing field, where everyone has a shot at the top spot.

Since any passion, hobby, or ambitious content creator can go viral at any moment, it's important to develop what happens before, after, and until the next viral hit.

Repeat Viral Reach

There are so many tombstones in the viral moments graveyard. You remember "Damn, Daniel!", but not where you first saw it. You also can't remember which livestream you were watching when April the Giraffe finally gave birth. (If you're reading this several months after publish, none of this will even make any sense.)

It's kind of crazy to think that now it's relatively easy to have a viral moment, but it's keeping your name around that's the hard part.

Viral moments are essential because they open the door to more loyal readers. An excellent example of both the perfect viral moment paired with long-lasting audience building is PAPERMag.com (powered by RebelMouse). Even though it was a while ago, you probably still remember when they broke the internet with their Kim Kardashian cover.

It was a viral moment that brought a huge amount of new eyes to their brand, and they've since done more highly successful #BreaktheInternet campaigns. PAPERMag.com has earned an even greater reputation for their covers, which are shared primarily on social. Covers featuring Miley Cyrus, Blac Chyna, and Kylie Jenner have brought repeat viral reach from both new and loyal followers.


PAPERMag rules repeat viral reach.

Think of that repeat-viral-reach life — publishers like The Dodo, The Washington Post, and BuzzFeed see it all the time. It's tough to grasp how to build a loyal audience this way, since most viral moments aren't forced and tend to happen organically. But you have to make sure your content is primed for viral success.

The Strategy

The recipe for loyal audience building through content experience is complicated, but it can be broken down into three important ingredients:

Content. No surprise here — you're going to need content to achieve that viral reach and keep people coming back. 62% of millennials believe online content builds loyalty for a brand.

If you're a brand and think content marketing isn't for you, you're behind. If you're a media company and aren't thinking of yourself as a brand, you're losing too. Everyone needs content, and that content needs to keep your readers (or buyers) returning for more. We've got some pretty strong feelings about what drives shareable content.

ProTip: Content doesn't mean just your own stuff. Practice the law of reciprocity and share content from others every day. The algorithm gods will thank you!

Dynamic. The over-saturated, attention-limited landscape is why your content has to wear many hats and travel seamlessly across many platforms. That means when you have a piece of content with the potential to go viral, not only will it need to traverse all relevant social channels quickly, but it also needs to do it via mediums like Google AMP + Apple News. Make it visible!

And not just visible, but easy. This means no intrusive ads, slow load times, or irritating imagery and messaging — even if these things are threaded into what is otherwise great content, it's disastrous.

Think of each publishing platform as a gateway to awareness for return traffic to your site. Each time a viral moment surfaces, that content will bring new awareness to your brand. It's at that point when your new followers have a chance to learn more about who you are. If they've made it to your site, then they should be met with the same ease as the social experience. Your content should be binge-worthy. This journey from viral moment to site visit is essential and has to create a snowball effect for growth.

Reputation. This part should come more naturally. If you've mastered both content + delivering that content through a quality experience, then you've established shareable storytelling, relatability, and consistency.

A Pew Research Center report from February found that 56% of readers are able to recall the source of content they've found online. And the more links people click, the more likely they are to remember the source. Which means they're more likely to visit again. That's loyalty.

Achieving a notable reputation is the final step to reaching the loyalty prize. Still, it all starts with that one viral moment. And while those moments aren't planned — and sometimes run a dime a dozen — it's your responsibility as a brand or media company to make sure they open the door to the loyalty climb.

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

How Axios Built on RebelMouse

The Axios founding team is composed of the industry veterans who built Politico and shaped The New York Times. They had a vision for building a next-generation media site that would not only win in the world of social, but would also build real loyalty and a subscriber base.

Industry: News Media
Headquarters: Washington, DC
Website: Axios.com

Axios is a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating, and shareable ways possible. They offer a mix of original and smartly narrated coverage of media trends, tech, business, and politics with expertise, voice, and smart brevity — on a new and innovative mobile platform.



With some of the best writers in the world, Axios knew that, to be successful, they would need to provide next-generation authoring tools as well as a next-generation front-end experience for their readers.

Project Requirements:

  • Get to launch quickly while still having tremendous depth in technology
  • Build a next-generation media property
  • Empower editors with technology for breaking news
  • Build a CMS that manages and elegantly assembles content into articles
Keep reading... Show less

Important: Mandatory Facebook Upgrade Arrives in 2018

The media world is ever-evolving, but one thing is abundantly clear: Facebook and Google, the almighty duopoly, have a firm grip on digital ad revenue. While successful media companies and brands struggle to meet revenue goals, the platforms are reaching new heights. As the state of digital media continues to puzzle publishers in 2017, it can be hard to strategize with all the changes and updates these mega platforms throw our way.

We often see media companies frantically trying to adopt a new strategy to monetize without knowing how to successfully execute. Case in point: The pivot-to-video trend, which has really been more like a pivot to ad-backed digital media, is causing editorial teams to take drastic measures prematurely.

RebelMouse is here to make life easier, and help you with your strategy along the way. Our team of experts live and breathe digital content. We stay ahead of all the algorithm updates, the platform changes, etc., so you can focus on producing great content. We help you take back control of your content and stay abreast of the best monetization strategies so you can bring in real revenue.

One of Facebook's recent updates makes it mandatory to switch to their Monetization Manager by February 2018. We'll walk you through this process so this change doesn't affect your monetization strategy.

Keep reading... Show less

RebelMouse vs. WordPress VIP

After building the product for Huffington Post, and owning the product and engineering groups at AOL after we were acquired, it was clear to me there was a huge gap between what the current CMS offering gave the world and what the world needed. Five years later we are at scale, moving the needle and doing to WordPress what Airbnb did to Craigslist.

Keep reading... Show less

NEW! Google Analytics Tracking for Facebook Instant Articles

We're a bunch of traffic junkies here at RebelMouse. We geek out over data, and we want our clients to geek out too over the insights we provide them. That's why we obsess over our clients' metrics on a daily basis. It's our belief that a clear understanding of data will drive strategy adjustments that lead to real audience growth. But this means that your traffic overview has to be as clear and easy to read as possible. Enter one of our latest updates.

A lot of our clients prefer to use a separate Google Analytics profile to track their Facebook Instant Articles traffic, and now this is incredibly easy to set up in our platform. We have a sophisticated Google Analytics integration that can accurately track every one of your UTM mediums, including Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, and traditional website traffic. It's a feature that, if we're honest, Google Analytics does very poorly on its own.

Keep reading... Show less

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

Strategy Services from Experts in Growth

At RebelMouse, we talk a lot about being born in the age of social. We went viral in 2012 as being the first content aggregator and the internet's first "social front page."

Keep reading... Show less

Meet the Investors Behind RebelMouse

RebelMouse founder and CEO, Paul Berry, was the former CTO of HuffPost where he led product development. Paul has managed small, agile teams for 20 years, but has also led teams of 450+ people. He understands how engineers, product, design, UX, and editorial teams can come together with chemistry that produces results.

RebelMouse is fortunate to be backed by an impressive list of investors, including Ken Lerer, Eric Hippeau, Jonah Peretti, Jordan Levy, Fred Harmon, and more. See the full list below.

Keep reading... Show less

Video Ads = Toxic

Facebook has implemented a ton of changes recently that have been affecting publishers' reach. And while it seems nearly impossible to figure out a winning strategy while juggling all of the platform's algorithm updates, one thing is abundantly clear:

Video ads are hurting your reach.

We're now finding that if you have a video ad on your site period, the Facebook gods are not going to favor you — and you'll most likely see a drop in reach.

Keep reading... Show less

The Reasons Why Indie Publishers Flourish on RebelMouse

We care about you. We care about you having a sustainable business.

And that means we care about everything — from revenue to traffic to how you can be sustainable long term. By using data across all our publishers, we can help you understand what's happening in the media world, how to leverage Facebook's algorithm changes, where your audience lives, and more. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and we are always studying its changes to help indie publishers break through the barriers of bureaucracy. Our goal is to give you an unfair advantage through badass tech that helps you understand how traffic distribution works. So you can get your voice heard. Loudly.

One of the best parts of living in the age of new media, and more importantly living within the social ecosystem, is that everyone has a chance to go viral. The chains surrounding public content that were once monopolized by corporations and agencies have now been put back into the hands of the users.

Keep reading... Show less