How one blog post generated 1000’s of tweets, 100’s of online articles and 200 active campaigners for a great non-profit cause.

This is the story of a blog post that went viral.

Just one blog post that took the online travel community by storm, prompting over 200 bloggers to rally behind a great charity cause.

Read on to find out how it was done…
Initiating the Blog Meme*

In November 2009, an article was published on the Tripbase Travel Blog revealing “My Three Best Kept Travel Secrets”. Five bloggers were invited to share their own secrets on their blogs and “tag” another five bloggers to do the same.

Described as an “an excellent example of how to go viral gracefully,” the blog meme spread quickly with 100 bloggers participating after just two months.

The “tag tree” ran 13 levels deep with 33% of all “tagged” bloggers taking part.

By May 2010 the “Best Kept Travel Secrets” blog meme had swept across 200 travel blogs. The online travel community and social media sites were buzzing with excitement about the travel secrets “blog tag” phenomenon.

Harnessing the Online Momentum

Conquering un-chartered territory in Kyrgystan, eating live octopus in South Korea and booking airline tickets on a Wednesday morning are just a few of the travel secrets that were too good not to share.

What to do with all this great content? The next phase of the project involved compiling all 500 secrets into a series of free travel eBooks for Charity.

Tripbase decided to donate $1 to Charity: Water for every person who downloads a Travel Secrets eBook and all 200 participating bloggers were enlisted to support the campaign.

Celebrity bloggers, including TV travel expert Peter Greenberg, also came on-board, adding to the buzz surrounding the campaign.

A Dedicated Group of Online Campaigners

The group of participating bloggers were delighted to support the campaign – publishing articles about the project, encouraging their readers to download the eBooks and spreading the word feverishly across the social media universe.

The result? Just two weeks after launch, over 10,000 eBooks had been downloaded and 65% of the campaign’s three month donation target had been achieved.

All seven travel secrets eBooks are available for download from the Tripbase site and new bloggers are continuing to contribute their travel secrets every day.

Lessons to be Learned

What can be learned from this case study re. starting a viral trend on your blog?

Engage people through topics they’re passionate about
– Get them talking about things that are personal to them
– Tap into existing online networks
– Unite members together as a community
– Focus on giving rather than taking

*Meme: a catchphrase or concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet.

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