A Recipe to Churn Out Viral Sites, by the Creators of OMG Facts and MuggleNet

October 17, 2011

10:14 am

In two years – with no funding and no full-time developer until 2010 – entertainment company Spartz Media has built popular sites that attract over 115 million monthly page views: sites like MuggleNet, OMG Facts, and GivesMeHope. As they continue to launch one site a month watching for blockbusters, CEO and MuggleNet creator Emerson Spartz shares some insight on their winning formula.

“Our success is measured by our ability to determine what type of content our audience will like … and make it absurdly easy for them to join in the creation game,” he says. Based in Chicago, Spartz Media pushes out user-generated content through apps as well as websites.

Their first step to success is studying their target audience: 13-25-year-olds. The company identifies promising topics and focuses on short, sharable bits of content, like surprising facts and uplifting stories.

Next, they create a crowdsourcing platform for that audience to easily contribute. For example, Smartphowned showcases “fail autocorrects and awkward parent texts,” so Spartz Media created a tool for users to add text messages to a blank iPhone screenshot, if taking a real one is too difficult. Tools like this have led readers to create 4,000 pieces of content per day, with almost 60 percent visiting a Spartz site every day.

One final ingredient is knowing when to quit. “A site needs to receive one million monthly page views or we consider killing it,” Spartz says.

Spartz Media was showcased at our Tech Cocktail Chicago mixer last night, so if you missed it, be sure to check them out via their website.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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