If you want a good tutorial and an in progress case study on creating viral web videos, than check out today’s New York Times’ article on political YouTube Ads. The article is about Ladd Ehlinger’s work on creating successful (aka viral) YouTube political ads. It particularly follows Ehlinger’s creation of an ad for Republican candidate Sean Bielat of Massachusetts. After reading the article there were four take-aways I gained on how to have a video go viral. With the November elections around the corner we will have to see if having a viral YouTube video makes any difference in winning! ~Paul
1. Creating Buzz Around the Buzz
I think the major ingredient Ehlinger capitalizes on is the political hot-spots that are going on right now. It’s not necessary to completely create your own buzz. It seems the videos that do the best are those which focus on current interest (think Obama Girl in 2008).
2. Holding Hands with Traditional Media
One aspect the New York Times pointed out (in the video accompanying the article) was that Ehlinger’s major goal for his video was to get it on TV. Not as a commercial, but rather as part of the news. I don’t live in Massachusetts and won’t be voting for either candidates, but I am compelled to make a personal note to watch Mr. Bielat’s ad when it comes out. It looks like the New York Times helped Ehlinger’s achieve his goal by writing about his goal Ü.
3. Slapping the Opposition
A metaphorical slap to the opposition seems to be an added benefit for virality. It is very unlikely a video’s detractors are going to aggressively share the video to their friends (they might). More importantly the opposition pushes the popularity of the video by firing up the supporters of the video. Ehlinger lightly covers this in the article, but truthfully I believe it is a major factor.
4. Enthralling the Internet Peeps
I think this quote from Ehlinger says it all for this tip: “A television ad, you’re buying all the fat, lazy people who are too stupid to change the channel or mute the television set during commercials. Your money on the Internet ad is going to make it interesting, exciting, something where people will say, ‘Hey, dude, take a look at this, man.’ ”
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Give yourself a time limit when writing a post and then publish it when you hit the deadline. Published imperfection is progress. Unpublished perfection is worthless. Vow to have flaws. Example: My Imperfect Plan
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