Imagine this – You’re trying to sell your house, but all you do is write a status update on Facebook that your house is for sale. That’s it. How many people are going to see that? 100… if you’re lucky. In all honesty, your house doesn’t have a fighting chance of being sold.
You need to “market” your house. The same thing goes for your web video.
Hire a realtor, put a sign in your yard, add it to Craigslist and Zillow, create a website, take photos, etc. Now you’re cookin’! The more people that see your house, the better chance you have of selling it.
If you’re looking to go “viral,” or at least to get your video in front of more than just your mom and a couple buddies from college, you need to market your video.
Many people assume that viral videos get millions of views just because they’re funny. Sometimes that’s the case. But what about all of the other videos that are just as funny but never break the 100-view mark? It happens often, and it’s likely due to the fact that someone uploaded the video and expected views to simply roll in.
Video seeding is a fairly new marketing tactic. Well, it’s not new – but it is gaining traction more quickly these days. Basically, it’s a way to get video views organically from video communities, word-of-mouth, blogs and through social networks. It’s used by major advertisers like GM, Nike, Coke, Gatorade, Microsoft and many more. You’d be surprised by the amount of “viral” content that has been professionally seeded when you thought it was just funny and successful on its own merits.
There are 2 ways to seed: the organic, free way or the paid way. Here, I’ll discuss both.
Free Seeding (What you should first do with a new video)
1. Tell the world
To begin telling the world about your video, you must choose the right distribution outlets to pull in the viewers you want – to the places you want. Some great places to start are YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Telly, and Pinterest. I think more is better with distribution, so I recommend that you upload to all of these channels by default. If you only care about view count, then YouTube is the best solution. However, if you want to drive viewers to your site, then YouTube may not be the best. If you’re a business I can’t recommend Wistia enough. Wistia is a professional paid hosting site with phenomenal SEO tools and analytics. Wistia will even host 3 of your videos for free to start – so give it a shot. We use it on all our videos and it’s amazing. With the great analytics insight, you can see what is working and what isn’t.
Also, depending on your content, consider posting to social news sites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Devour, etc. If your content gets popular on sites like these, it’s likely to be seen by hundreds of thousands of people and has a much better chance of going viral.
2. Post on your website
Posting your video on your website is a great way to get people to interact with your site! It is recommended that the video be placed at the top of your homepage (above the fold) and be at least 640×360 pixels in size. You put a lot into your video, so why would you hide it on a subpage or as a tiny hard-to-view video on a sidebar?
Video is the best way for people to quickly understand what you’re all about, so let them see it first. Encourage sharing by enabling social share links within the embed code.
Include a short description and a play button like the ones below.
Tip: Minimize the amount of text on your homepage (at least above the fold). Draw the attention to your video and your main messaging. Use an enticing thumbnail. Tell people to watch the video and consider mentioning how short it is.
3. Blog about it
Write a post around your new video. Talk about your product/service/message, include the video, and share the post on your social channels. In doing so, you will drive better search engine results to your blog. You may even draw in some business leads. Encourage other blogs to share the content as well (more about this in #6 below).
4. Email blast
This is a great time to reintroduce yourself to your clients/customers/leads through your new video! Send out an email promoting your video, encouraging viewership and urging your loyal client base to share it through their different social channels as well. You can even add a link to your video through your email signature – and you should!
5. Video SEO
There’s really a lot to this subject, so I’ll just touch on a few things.
The name of your video file should reflect the topic of the video itself. So, let’s say Zappos is uploading a video on “5 Ways to Cuff Your Jeans”. Their video filename should be something like “zappos-5-ways-to-cuff-your-jeans.mp4.” The same goes for the video title. In this case, it would be (and as this is a real life example from Kissmetrics – it is) 5 Ways to Cuff Your Jeans! Be sure to include this same phrase as a keyword. That helps too.
This sounds obvious, but many people upload video files with names such as “untitled.mov” or “MOV123.MP4”. Although this filename is not visible to the public, YouTube and Google will give search preference to video files whose names include topic keywords.
It is very important when posting your video that you know who your target audience is. Once you have established that, make sure you use keywords to increase search results and tagging options.
Examples: zappos, how to, jeans, denim, cuff, how to cuff your jeans, five ways to cuff your jeans, cuffing jeans, fashion.
There are plenty of keyword research tools out there. A really great free one is YouTube. You know how results start to fill in as you are searching on YouTube? These results are the top searched keywords and phrases. Use this to your advantage to see how people are searching for related videos and mimic them.
6. Find influencers
Don’t expect your video to go viral without this step. Making the video should not be a strategy or the objective. You want to identify with influencers who will love your video! This means that you don’t necessarily need to get it out to millions of people, but to key influencers that will get it out to their group and so on.
Make sure that you choose your category accordingly. This is very important to draw the right audience. For example, if you’re a bakery, you’d want to get bloggers that write about food and desserts on board to seed your video. They can create content around your video and share with their large follower-base, who will then share with theirs.
Don’t stop there. Think of places your audience hangs out on the web. Other blogs, forums, Facebook groups, YouTube channels, websites, etc. Seek them out and share where they’re at. You want people talking about your video, campaign or business. Make sure you keep them talking!
ReelSEO has some great tips on this: http://www.reelseo.com/seeding-your-video/
Paid Seeding (If you’re an agency or have the money)
Sometimes you can do it all yourself, but when you can’t, there’s the option of hiring a seeding company like ViralGains, often used for big-time branded videos to get a viral kickstart.
You need a strategic plan, and that’s what seeding companies will give you. Comprehensive media planning includes demographics, geographics, psychographics and vertical markets.
A typical video advertising agency will treat your video as an ad. It’s much less likely you’ll share an ad from the TV, radio, etc, right? A seeding company will seed your video socially, utilizing YouTube, social media, blogs, mobile, social games and influencers. Because it’s easy to pass around, this ensures the message gets shared by more users than a traditional ad.
To break it down, let’s say you pay for 100k views (paid media). Either will get you 100k views. But with the seeded content there’s now conversation around your content and you can maximize on the extra views you get from it (earned media).
Most work as CPV (Cost per view) placements. You only pay for real engagements, not just a computer bumping up numbers. There are companies that do that. You don’t want them.
Samsung is a great example of how successful you can be with paid media. They’re officially the most viral brand in video ads for 2012.
Whether you’re paying for views or not, you must captivate people. If your video doesn’t do that, then there’s a great possibility it will never go viral and reach the people you want. It must be entertaining. And that doesn’t necessarily mean funny. Remember – there’s a lot of noise on the web (over 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every single minute) so your video has to appeal to the reasons why humans share content.
Be strategic and work hard to get your video seen! People will listen and believe in what you do. Show them your passion and watch your business, message or campaign thrive!