The trick to creating great viral video

Dan Ackerman Greenberg posted a great article to TechCrunch last week, sharing his insight into what makes a truely effective viral video. I like the article because it speaks to a lot of thinkgs I’d wondered recently about exploiting video sharing sites for publicity purposes.

**And before you all jump in and give me shit about siding with a spammer… Yes, I accept that a lot of what Dan talks about isn’t exactly ethical. As the saying goes, however, this ain’t show friends this is show business. Show me the money! Show me the money! Show me the money!

Sorry, must be having another one of them Jerry Maguire moments.

In terms of traffic generation, online video is a hugely underestimated opportunity. There is an entire industry dedicated to mastering the Google algorithm (for all its complexity), but promotion and dissemination of video content is still in its infancy by comparison. Given that contributors can assign their own tags and categories to video content (unlike web pages, which are assessed by the search engine and subjected to a veeeeeeeeeeeery complex classification algorithm), a little foresight and imagination can go a long way in terms of exposure and appeal.

Example: they’ve probably blocked this now, but about 6 months ago I got thousands of views on a stupid clip of my dog chasing a stick simply by applying the tags PORN SEX and NAKED when I uploaded it to YouTube. A rather inane experiment, I know, but you would get NOWHERE pulling that crap with traditional SEO.

Anyhoo, the article is a little long winded but I definitely recommend you make some time to take it all in. For those of you working on their next heart attack here’s the abridged version…

Secret #1: Not all viral videos are what they seem

2. Content is NOT King

Here are some guidelines we follow:

* Make it short
* Design for remixing
* Don’t make an outright ad
* Make it shocking
* Use fake headlines
* Appeal to sex

3. Core Strategy: Getting onto the “Most Viewed” page

So how do we get the first 50,000 views we need to get our videos onto the Most Viewed list?

* Blogs
* Forums
* MySpace
* Facebook
* Email lists
* Friends

4. Title Optimization

5. Thumbnail Optimization

6. Commenting: Having a conversation with yourself

7. Releasing all videos simultaneously

8. Strategic Tagging: Leading viewers down the rabbit hole

9. Metrics/Tracking: How we measure effectiveness

Have a great week!

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