Silvia Li Sam is a marketing consultant who has worked with large brands and small startups from around the world. She has worked on campaigns for companies like Startup Weekend, Hostfully, and Startup Grind. She has written blog posts and articles about startups, marketing, and venture capital that have reached millions. She has been awarded the prestigious “Top writer” status four times by Medium Corporation, one of the largest blogging platforms in the world. How did this marketer get to where she is today, going from a recent graduate to becoming one of the most sought after marketers in Silicon Valley and running multimillion dollar marketing campaigns?
Li Sam started her marketing career when she met serial angel investor Chris Sacca, an early investor in Uber, Twitter, and Instagram. Inspired by their meeting, she wrote her first viral story on Medium the night of about the lessons she learned from hearing his story. That piece reached thousands of readers on the first day and encouraged her to continue writing more startup content, including stories that would eventually be consumed by millions. Sacca famously advises people to “just be helpful” and Li Sam has used that in every piece she has written since then. She tries to share resources and tips that can help entrepreneurs succeed.
Silvia created and led the marketing initiatives for the first Latinx Startup Weekend backed by the internationally recognized investment firms: Kapor Center for Social Impact and Techstars. This event was created to bring together Latinx folks to learn how to build tech products and close the educational gap for Latinx entrepreneurs. The competition was judged by top venture capitalists from Kapor Capital and 500 Startups.
What has she learned? Li Sam shares 3 tips on how to create viral campaigns:
Stories and emotions combined with facts
Storytelling should be at the core of everything you do. You need to use powerful stories to sell a product. “Storytelling is at the cornerstone of everything we do: raising money, hiring, press,” said Chris Sacca, serial investor of Uber and Instagram, on a interview with Li Sam. Just always remember that people remember how you make them feel and not what you tell them in any marketing campaign you create. “Don’t just mention who you are and how great your company is. Share why you care so much about what you’re doing. Share your backstory, your life theme, or your defining moments,” Li Sam advised in an interview for the Alaska News Desk.
Provide real value
Learn what your users truly want and give it to them as easy as possible. It shouldn’t take them 3 clicks to get to information that you promised them. Make the user experience as smooth as possible. When you start giving rather than selling, your return on investment grows. People will start helping you out. This is when partnerships start. When she ran Startup Grind’s Medium publication, she managed hundreds of writers which included New York Times best sellers and the most famous entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. How did she get to bring all these people together to write for the publication? She offered them a place where their words would get read, and it worked. The publication has seen viral growth and featured famous articles like “I Got Scammed by a Silicon Valley Startup,” by Penny Kim, which piece got syndicated by outlets like TechCrunch, New York Times, and more.
Content-market-fit: Pick the right content and battlefield
A good marketer knows the target audience very well including how they feel, what they do, what they dislike, etc. Have a spreadsheet where you can track your user’s persona, journey, and feedback. “According to Silvia Li Sam, a viral marketer and social media guru, user research is the secret to success on social platforms. ‘You need to figure out where your users spend the most time on and focus on that platform,’” Li Sam said on Forbes. Where should you put your content? Go where your users are. If they’re on Medium, go on Medium. If they are younger, they may be on Snapchat or Commaful. Find the right content. Pick the right platform. And then find the right strategies to help you stand out.
If you’re trying to build a viral campaign, don’t forget these 3 key lessons. It’s hard to reach consumers these days, but if you keep those things in mind, you’ll have a higher chance of succeeding.
Do you have any questions? Reach out to Li Sam directly via her Twitter @lisamsilvia
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