Steal this right now

by mandy on August 21, 2014

I was a lot happier for The ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge success before I actually felt that ice water hit my own head.

Holeee crap! That was reaaaaaalllllly cold.

No more afternoon energy slump over here.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is no longer “bucket size.”

It’s a bona fide “glacier size” campaign.


It’s raised $42 million as of this writing, with $8.6 million of that coming in last Tuesday alone. Facebook reports 28 million people have posted, commented, or Liked a post related to the ice bucket challenge.


All kidding aside, I am overjoyed and thrilled that patients and families suffering from ALS are feeling the love and support of millions of people.

About 30,000 people are currently diagnosed with ALS, and it will kill every one them in three to five years. ALS doesn’t get the investment in research and treatment that cancer, heart disease, and other health challenges get because the number of people affected are so much lower than those other diseases. Who knows, perhaps we will see a breakthrough in ALS treatment funded with this financial windfall.

I love that this campaign has shown the power of social media to raise awareness and especially raise money.

Steal this right now

You may or may not be able to capture this kind of lightning in a bottle yourself.

You can steal the same brilliant psychological triggers for your next email appeal, or your next campaign, and watch your response rates jump.

No, your next campaign isn’t going to bring in $41 million, but if you bump your results by even 5%, it’s worth trying these proven tips:

  • Tell an authentic story of ONE person with feelings and emotions that we can relate to - 30,000 people have ALS in America, but this challenge ignited with the story of one athlete, Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates– and we listened
  • Give your donors a choiceice or donation–it turns out that most people choose to do both ice *and* a donation
  • Create urgency24 hours to act
  • Most important, use the same psychological triggers that the #IceBucketChallenge leverages: give your donors a clear opportunity to reinforce their own self-identities as altruistic, adventurous, part of the “in” crowd, or whatever your donors want to feel

Here’s a secret: this email and campaign checklist doesn’t just apply to fundraising emails.

It works for sales campaigns too.

Try it.

I challenge *you* to steal these tips.

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Images work.

Images bolster your opens, clicks, shares… you name it.

Your audience loves images.

It’s why Instagram’s popularity is skyrocketing and Pinterest is a major source of retail traffic.

Pinterest refers up to 40 times more visitors to than other social networks.

Pinterest also dominates social media shares.

Sunset on mobile phone

Original images related to your post work best.

But you don’t always have original images on hand.

Neil Patel reported this week that Infographics, animated graphics, screenshots, graphs/charts, and even stock photography works for blog posts. He says that royalty free images performed the worst.

Stop spending your hard-earned cash on stale stock photography!

I thought you might like a list of some good great free or super-low-cost image sites that offer stunning images. Feast your eyes on these:

  • IM Free (requires attribution) (nice because it’s categorized, some of the images border on stock photography-looking)
  • Comfight  (yeah, it’s royalty-free and you must attribute, but you have so many images to choose from, you can usually find quality images)

You’re welcome.

Please share this post with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. They will love you for it.


“List posts” are a hot ticket to viral shares.

Pinterest is totally killing it in the percentage of social media shares. Who knew?

No wonder Buzzfeed has gone “all in” on Pinterest.

Only 11% of all content is ever shared more than 100 times. Ouch.

Pinterest is totally killing it

If you want your content to get shared, Coschedule, the company I use for my clicktotweet application, just made your life easier.

They analyzed almost 1 million headlines in their data bank to see what headlines got shared the most.

I didn’t find any surprises on the list other than Pinterest.

But, this is still good data to share with you if you’re looking build your following with share-able content.

Or, if you just need to turn a hot-headline around fast.

Top shared headline characteristics

  • List posts are still hugely popular (I find “big lists” to be the most popular) and do best on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • The word “you” gets clicks
  • Free, giveaway, and ‘how to’ get big clicks
  • Video is most popular on Facebook
  • Facebook is still king of social media (no matter how frustrated you are with their market research invasions and Mark Zuckerberg)
  • But Pinterest is huge too, especially for shares
  • Customize your headlines for each social media channel, e.g. business headlines play better on LinkedIn, Pinterest is home and fashion oriented
  • Emotional headlines get the most shares

I only touched on the highlights of this study.

Check it out yourself.

It’s all good advice if you want your content opened or shared.


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