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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Can You Use Online Video To Effectively Market?

I hear people say over and over that you can't create viral videos. I say that's crap. You can create viral videos, you just need someone who knows what their doing.

Craigslist is a great place to find people who can operate video cameras at rock bottom prices or for free. You can also find people with knives for sale on Craigslist but you wouldn't hire anyone with a knife to perform your heart surgery and you shouldn't just hire anyone with a camera to create a viral video for you.

First and foremost if you want your marketing message to go viral you have to be willing to take a risk. You can't create a safe "TV Commercial" and expect it to go viral. It won't and you will be wasting your marketing budget. So if you work at a conservative company that won't take chances stop reading now. This post will not be of use to you at your current job. Or you can quit your job or get fired and keep reading.

By taking a risk I mean that you are going to have to do something that you can't do on regular television. You are going to have to do what I speak about at conferences:

1. Move 2 or more emotions
2. Have spectacle
3. Have Story

Take a look at the above video with Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens that was shot on location at the basecamp of Disney's High School Musical 3. Sure it has big stars in it but there are other Big Star behind the scenes videos that don't go viral. This video has spectacle, story and depending on who you are moves two or more emotions. Imagine doing a similar video at a political rally. It would go viral as well.

I know, it's easier said than done and that's why you need someone who knows what they are doing.

Well Tim, I don't have big stars and I don't want French Maids in my viral video.

You don't have to have big stars or French Maids in your viral video. Just ask yourself what audience you are trying to reach and what viral videos are already doing that. Chances are you could hire the creators of that video to create one for you or you could ask another viral video producer to create a video that fits your brand and reaches and your target audience.

How do I reach these viral video producers?

Other than sending an email to the producer you want to reach you could ask me or another online video producer who has millions of views if we know them. We have a close knit circle of friends in the viral video world and chances are if we don't know them we will know someone who does have their phone number.

There are also sites like Podtrac and Tubemogul where you can contact producers and advertise on their shows which may be a better way to test the waters in using online video to market your products and services.

It's a lot easier to jump on a moving train that it is to build a train and find the tracks to send it down. Shows that already have the targeted audience you are trying to reach could save you a lot of time and money and could build a stronger bond with your consumers because you are supporting a show that they care about.

If you are looking to reach girls and young women 15-24 I would seriously consider Abigail's Teen Diary. If you are looking to reach boys 12-18 I would consider Ask A Ninja or Retarded Policeman.

If you really want to start your own viral video I would suggest a long term strategy where you create a brand that is going to become it's own train. Take a look at Will It Blend. Blentec's Head of Marketing, George Wright created a online sensation where the cost of the first 5 episodes was $50 and as of a year ago had had over 70 million views and had increased sales 20-30%. Not bad for a video where a guy in a lab coat puts everyday items into a blender. The Will It Blend videos have even generated income from online advertising and DVD sales. Can you imagine having your marketing make you money? I love it.

If you are looking to reach Tweens right now fastest moving train out there is FRED. A quick look at Tubemoguls Top 40 reveals that the annoying high pitched voiced teen has over 105 Million views with 99% of those views coming from YouTube. What a monster.

That's fine Tim but I already have a video message and I just want to get it out there to as many people as possible I don't want to create a new video.

Well if you have a 30 second spot don't go buying any pre-roll time on advertising networks where you TV spot is going to play in front of a video that could be shorter than your ad. You might end up upsetting your consumers. If you are going to go the pre-roll route keep your message short 5, 10 or 15 seconds tops. People don't want to watch an ad when they are expecting their favorite video.

You know Tim, I want to do pre-roll advertising but I don't have a pre-roll video or the money to make one. What can I do?

If you have a good idea of what your video message is and you can create a Google Text Ad them maybe you should test a service called Ad Grinder. For $99 you can create a video ad by uploading your photos, graphics, video and voice over to the AdGrinder website and then you can place your finished ad as a pre-roll where ever you want to buy placement.

Bottom line is whether you build your own or use someone else's viral video series to get your message to your target audience, you will find online video very effective in engaging your consumers.

That's great Tim but online videos are cheap. I only want to spend $1000 and get millions of views.

Well, there's always Craigslist.

If you need some viral video consulting or would like to sponsor 1TimStreet contact 1timstreet at gmail dot com.

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