There are some nice nuggets in this piece by Robyn Tippins in AllBusiness.com. It’s titled “10 Ways to Succeed at Viral Video.” I especially like Robyn’s advice to gain student “thought leaders” to test and gain initial traction. And her willingness to “start over” if something doesn’t get a good early response. I rarely do that, but it would be a good way to quality control. That said, I’ve found some of my most popular videos tobe met with a luke warm response by friends. And likewise some of my worst stuff sometimes gets laughs by friend/family and then tanks.
I do feel differently about 2 of her points. First, she says don’t promote it. It’s certainly better to have others promote it, but don’t count on good content rising. There’s too much competition. You need to jump start it with a little self promotion. More importantly, I object to her first method (“You Don’t Have to Tie it To Your Company”) because I think companies need to be transparent when they promote something. I assume Robyn’s point is that it’s okay to be subtle. But please don’t feed the market with advertising trying to guise as something else.
The best advice that comes from this is engaging a group of students (or target audience members) to vett the content first. There’s probably an excellent business in this for college students. We’ll give you feedback on your viral campaign before you embarass yourself.