Learning about word of mouth from 50 Shades of Grey

Word of mouth… Some people just get it right. The recently famous author of 50 Shades of Gray, E. L. James definitely got the perfect ingredients to cook that. 

The first time I heard about the book was few month ago in the bus stop, then in my car while listening to Radio 1, friends, colleagues…. At some point it almost seemed like I was the only one who haven’t actually read the book. Well that wasn’t quite the case thanks God! But almost. No matter whoever I spoke with and mentioned the name they knew it! It was like it was everywhere. People were writing about it in their blogs, the social media was all over it. People just couldn’t stop talking about it… thinking about it they still can’t. 

So what can we learn from 50 Shades of Gray? What are the ingredients to cook the perfect word of mouth campaign?

1 – Make your product shareable – sell it Amazon, where people can add it to the their wish lists and share it with their friends when the holidays are around the corner. Tweet, use Instagram (which I personally fell in love with ), Facebook pages, YouTube… anything you can think of… But don’t forget to be relevant and make sure the tool/s fit in with your product.


2 – Don’t be scared to be controversial. Risk can pay for itself, of course I am talking about measured risk here. I’ve always said that we, people, are social animals and therefore we like to talk, discuss and argue. Just give people that and they’ll do the rest for you. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing.


3 – All big ideas start small. The 50 Shades (under a different name) was initially published on a fan-fiction website before James even thought about a book deal. People liked it and when they start talking about the book she moved it to her website. The more people talked about it the more e-Books and print-on-demand copies were sold. From there on the story is widely know – publishers from all over the world and now a movie deal. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that one can’t make a big hit and succeed straight away, but then I believe that measured risk is the way to go…


So those are the 3 main things I believe 50 Shades of Gray can teach us about word of mouth. So go on, go nuts and try them… they surely worked for E. L. James 🙂

Oh and one last thing – finally after all that pressure I did gave in and read 50 Shades of Gray 🙂 Not bad at all 🙂


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