We're treading on turf of our marketing colleagues here, but marketing and PR are first cousins, and word-of-mouth attention ought to be a PR aim, too. It's an important aspect of reputation management. So here from Richard Becker are some helpful tips on generating word-of-mouth attention. "Generating"—that's something that you do and, hopefully, control.
Thus Richard makes an important distinction between word-of-mouth and going viral. Your aim ought to be the former, because you have a better chance of setting the terms of the conversation with information and contacts that you generate. "Viral," he says, "is an outcome, not an objective."
So Richard offers "Six segments for effective word-of-mouth campaigns":
• Find people who are early adopters within the niche.
• Find benefactors who could use the innovation.
• Find loyalists predisposed toward a favorable opinion.
• Find specific reviewers or other members of the media.
• Find well-known people who can offer testimonials.
• Find those who are disenfranchised with the status quo.
Richard elaborates on each point, and closes on this upbeat note: "Word of mouth, done correctly, can lead to a viral outcome." But it's one you will have initiated on your terms, via your chosen disseminators.