How to create content for the junkweb

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As much as I don’t like it, the junkweb (as termed by Chris Brogan) is supremely powerful. It’s one of those concepts that’s like pop-ups – you hate it, yet you cannot deny its effectiveness. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s the phenomenon of slapping words on top of images and sharing them on social networks.

In a recent look at some of my stats and some client stats on Facebook alone, junkweb posts accounted for 8 of the top 10 most shared, most engaged items on Facebook pages. If things like EdgeRank are of concern or interest to you, then you have to consider the junkweb as one of your content generation tactics.

Here’s a simple way to get started with creating for the junkweb. First, find yourself a list of quotes or sayings about your field, about your industry, or anything else that’s on-brand. Next, go to the Commons on Flickr or the Creative Commons By Attribution, for Commercial Use section. Find an image for each quote that’s appropriate and has relatively empty or neutral space in it that can accommodate the quote. Using a program like Over on a mobile device or Skitch on a desktop, slap the quote on top of the image, and you’ve got a piece of content for the junkweb.

Here’s an example. We start with this quote:

“Obedience keeps the rules. Love knows when to break them.” – Anthony de Mello

And now we find a picture on the Commons, in this case from the State Library of New South Wales:

Artist and dog arrive by Melbourne Express (taken for J.C. Williamson), 10/12/1937 / byTed hood

We use Skitch to put up the words, and here’s our junkweb piece.

All sizes | Artist and dog arrive by Melbourne Express (taken for J.C. Williamson), 10/12/1937 / byTed hood | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

If you don’t believe in the power of the junkweb, I’d challenge you to try it for two weeks. Create a piece of interesting junkweb content every day that is relevant, targeted, and on-brand, and see how it performs in terms of engagement and sharing on networks like Facebook and Google+. Remember that these are not memes per se, and certainly don’t create anything that is inappropriate for your brand’s tone. Try it out for two weeks and see if it makes an impact on your audience.

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