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How Aidan Brannigan Creates Viral Memes for The Marketing Millennials
Learn how this meme artist sparks radical growth on social
At ease, Captain!
Welcome to a free edition of the Content Captains Newsletter where I answer your questions about creating content, generating traction, and becoming a full-stack content marketer.
Aidan Brannigan is a content marketer and viral meme artist based out of Austin, Texas.
Over the last three years, Aidan has created viral content for companies like Overtime, Workweek, and now, The Marketing Millennials. In just over a year, he’s helped scale The Marketing Millennials LinkedIn page from 350k to 750k followers, generated over 1.6M views for their YouTube channel, and directed their social media strategy driving $100k+ in ticket sales.
When asked what makes memes such an effective medium for growth, he said:
“It’s not that memes themselves are effective, I lean into the fact that humor is incredibly effective for brands, and memes are the best way to convey humor. Humor shortens the pathway to connection with consumers and increases brand retention, two massive advantages to creating humor-based content.”
In today’s interview, we cover how Aidan got started, his secret formula for vitality, and why he believes humor is the key to growth.
1. Your LinkedIn bio is hilarious. Why’d you go with that?
“I create content that's viewed by 200 million people each year driving 7 figures in revenue, but my parents still think I'm unemployed.” - Aidan Brannigan’s LinkedIn bio
My bio is my little elevator pitch.
When someone comes to my profile and reads that, they immediately know what I do, my skill level, and get a sense of my personality. I’ve studied humor over the past few years and how effective it is in increasing brand retention. My Linkedin profile is my brand, so leveraging humor only made sense in my goal towards increasing brand retention, which in this case is people remembering who I am and what I do.
Humor is truth and the truth is so damn funny, that’s why my bio resonates with content marketers. Since I’m pulling from my own life experiences of my family having no idea what I do for a living, it resonates with others because I’m sure they feel the same way.
It’s another way for me to live what I preach, because you’re trying to be relatable, like I am, you need to talk about things you personally experience. Between that and humor, you’re golden.
2. How did you get started creating social media content?
While I was a Sophomore at The University of Maryland, the pandemic forced all classes to be online, so I had an insane amount of free time.
I decided I wanted to do something other than sit around and play Fifa with my roommates all day, so I applied to a crap ton of internships. Being that I didn’t have a degree and was just starting my college career, the only roles that were available to me were Social Media Intern/Manager roles at small startups.
I got my first gig at this startup called Impact Snacks where I legitimately just made memes. We had like 8,000 followers on Instagram and I was brought on to create content for those 8,000 followers. That eventually progressed into becoming the Head of Social for the brand and building an audience of close to 60k across IG and TikTok.
After 8 months I realized I really enjoyed the creative side of content creation and moved onto my next role at Overtime, a sports media company backed by Jeff Bezos and Drake. Sounds way cooler than it actually was, but I learned a lot there and that began the trend for me specializing in content creation.
3. What’s your preferred way to create content? Copy? Design? Memes?!
I freakin’ love to make memes, it’s therapy for me.
I say to myself all the time: “I have no idea how I get paid to do what I do.”
But to be honest my favorite content to create is the content that is relatable, whether that be memes, meme videos, or written copy. Being able to create content that has other people thinking, “Holy crap is Aidan inside of my head?” is one of the best feelings in the world.
That’s what relatable content is. You’re pulling on topics that others feel to their core but haven’t necessarily expressed, and you’re giving them a way to express it through your relatable content.
But if my life was on the line and I had to pick one, I’d go with memes.
4. Then I have to ask–why are memes so effective for growth?
It’s not that memes themselves are effective, I lean into the fact that humor is incredibly effective for brands, and memes are the best way to convey humor.
Humor shortens the pathway to connection with consumers and increases brand retention, two massive advantages to creating humor-based content. It’s not a coincidence that the biggest event of the year for marketers, the Super Bowl, is when brands pull out all the stops for their funniest commercials.
It’s because they know humor works.
Memes have turned The Marketing Millennials from a Linkedin page that curates content and a podcast, into a full on media brand dominating multiple channels with an audience of over 850k on socials. All because we create content (memes and otherwise) that is relatable and humorous.
5. What makes content go viral? And how do you increase your odds at something taking off?
If you want your content to go viral, you need your content to be shared.
Let me say that again–You NEED it to be shared.
To make people share your content, the content needs to be timely and novel. Timely meaning the topic or template, or both, are trending and relevant in the culture. Novel meaning the content is portrayed in a way that your target audience hasn’t seen before.
Think about it. Would you DM your friend a meme that you’ve seen 10 times already? Or a meme that you’re seeing for the first time? Probably a new one.
A perfect example of a timely and novel meme for The Marketing Millennials would be using the Kevin James meme and relating it to our niche of Marketers. For The Marketing Millennials this is one of the biggest factors in the type of content we create, I am always staying in touch with trending templates and thinking of unique ways to format them.
6. Talk to me about working for The Marketing Millennials. How’d you get started? And how have you been so successful?
The Marketing Millennials is like my adopted child.
Daniel and Ari Murray founded The Marketing Millennials over 3 years ago and I joined in August of 2022. Daniel found my TikTok where I was just making 3-4 videos per day talking about the most random Linkedin specific hacks. After he saw that, he DMed me on Linkedin to have a chat and within the week I was hired as a Content Creator.
My main role has been helping TMM expand from just being a Linkedin page with a podcast into a media brand with a presence everywhere. We have a newsletter with 90k+ subscribers and one of my biggest tasks is funneling our millions of viewers each month towards our newsletter.
When I started our Linkedin had roughly 350k followers, our newsletter had 20k subscribers, our Instagram had 19k followers, and our YouTube had 300 subscribers. Now our Linkedin is sitting at 750k followers, newsletter at 90k subscribers, Instagram at 82k followers, YouTube at 2k subscribers, and Threads at 18k followers.
A lot of it has been trial and error. That's what Daniel has taught me the best content marketers do. As weird as it sounds, consistently taking shots and missing has been an amazing teacher and continues to inform how we refine our approach to this day.
We also produce content like no other brand. Since I joined we have posted 1-2 times per day on Linkedin, 3-4 times per day on Instagram, 2-3 times per day on YouTube and TikTok, and send out 3 newsletters each week.
There’s not many things you can control in the content game, but you CAN control your input, so that’s always our area of focus. What’s worked? Memes, especially IG reels and meme videos as of late. What hasn’t worked? TikTok is the code we haven’t been able to crack, YET.
That is something we are constantly working on improving.
7. How can other content marketers spot and leverage trends and memes? What advice do you have for them?
X/Twitter and TikTok are the two best places to tap into the culture and spot trends.
There’s no secret sauce, just scroll on the timeline or the FYP and the topics that pop up most frequently are the ones trending.
I’ve heard the saying that not every trend is for your brand and that there’s some that you won’t be able to use. Well, with memes, I don’t think that’s true at all.
If you get someone who is damn good at making memes and truly understands your target audience, you can hop on nearly any trending meme template. Where companies go wrong is they create memes to try and go viral. That’s not the recipe for virality with memes.
To create viral memes you have to know your target audience just as well as they know themselves, study their day-to-day pain points, successes, and create memes around those, not around the idea of what will go viral or not.
My advice for content marketers is to become consistent.
Algorithms change all the time, new platforms launch all the time, but those are things you can’t control. Show up every damn day, outlast the competition by doing the boring things well.
Don’t even think about creating content if you know you don’t have the time and energy to stay consistent. You have to go all in. That’s how you get your business seen by more people.
Thank you, Aidan, for jumping aboard and sharing your story with us.
Follow me, Aidan Brannigan on Linkedin, and if you want to hop on a call feel free to book a meeting with the link in my bio! Peaceeeeee.
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Thanks for reading,