A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funny Conference

So I’m sitting at Starbucks at 3, and I’ll be on stage in about 33 minutes. My presentation looks perhaps like a hotdog long before it takes that edible, if somewhat phallic, shape. Despite my morning’s panic attack, missing a flight and driving the 7 hours to Boston, I manage to catch YouTube Hall-of-Famer Michael Buckley as I pass his town. Sadly he has “a doctor’s appointment” that precludes a quick spanking or whatever YouTubers do when they meet.

It’s 3:03 as I reorder slides, fundamentally changing my entire presentation (shown below on Slideshare) I can’t help but get distracted by two nervous looking band members who appear to be meeting a new digital marketer consultant. “Our last guy, um, got really busy with school,” says Shaggy (his real name is being withheld because I don’t know it). The consultant begins to LAY IT ON THICK. Total bullshit, coated with a thick creamy topping of arrogance and a faux-pedantic snobbery crowning it all like an overly marinated cherry on top.

The topic of viral video comes up, and my face begins to literally contort as I hear the crap this guy’s advising. I couldn’t control my face. I could see some gal looking at me, and then over at them… making the connection. But I can’t help myself. When Shaggy says “I’m not willing to lose my integrity to get 3 million views on YouTube,” I think seriously about coming to his rescue. But something about this consultant strikes me as odd and dangerous. He’s far too assertive, simplistic, narcissistic, simplistic and repetitive (seems we loathe that in others that we resent in ourselves).

As I’ve finally shifted back to my presentation, literally changing the entire thesis at this point with minutes to spare, the consultant BARGES out the door of Starbucks leaving Shaggy and Scooby stunned. Again I decide to go to their rescue, hold their hand, and tell them that one need not compromise their virtues to go viral… I’ll even volunteer. But just like a dream ending abruptly, they vanish. Come to think of it, maybe it was a dream. No… I’m pretty sure it was real.

Then I gave this presentation below. To show that humor is hard to categorize because of its subjectivity, I did a live vlog (seen at the end of this video) where I followed the 102nd rule of “winning over an audience.” I secretly maligned them using a stage whisper. I was actually kinda bummed out they laughed, which is not what I expected after reading this Joel Warner Wired article that put this on my rader (and created an obsession for me).

Now for the preliminary findings, and a BIG thanks to Alexis, Kiddsock and Will Reese, as well as other contributors!


“Viral Video is Dead” Echos in Canada & Beyond

Nalts speaking in Toronto

If there’s one thing more fun than speaking to hundreds of marketers before a giant video of yourself like a “Rolling Stones” concert, it’s to read Twitter “tweets” after you speak.

By searching #mweek and @nalts after my talk on Wednesday, I learned what “stuck” with the Toronto “Canadian Marketing Association” audience. Canadians are nice, and apparently quite addicted to Twitter. They surprised me by almost making me sound intelligent in the quotes they shared.

Here are two of the things people most RT’d (aka retweeted, which here means posting on Twitter or sharing someone else’s Twitter post).

  • Viral is dead.
  • An impression isn’t an impression unless it makes one (see TechVibes coverage).

Marketing Magazine led with this article titled “Marketing Week Begins with ‘Viral is Dead’ Declaration.” IT Business was struck that a “viral is dead” statement woud come from “a person who owes his fame and fortune to tons of viewers on YouTube.” Then there’s the Canadian Star, which captured one of the most important points I hoped to make:

But advertisers don’t have to spend millions making YouTube videos, like the Evian Roller Babies, in hopes they go viral, Nalty said. The ad features digitally animated babies rollerskating to rock music. Instead, they can use existing YouTube stars, like Fred Figglehorn, the teenager with the annoying high-pitched voice and the online following bigger than Oprah’s TV audience, Nalty said. Fred makes a six-figure income from advertisers on his YouTube posts, Nalty said.

Certainly there’s a robust future of incredible clips that will gain “viral” fame. But my point was that marketers should not waste time and money investing in clips with hope that they go “viral.” It’s rare for a commercial clip to be shared wildly, although Evian’s babies is a recent exception.

Instead, I encourage marketers to chose the more efficient and guaranteed approach of partnering with online-video weblebrities. These individuals have large, recurring audiences and fans. So their sponsored videos are far more likely to travel the web and be seen by millions. I showed the Hitviews case study on Fox Broadcasting as proof. Two of my Fox videos alone have surpassed 1 million views each, which was half the targeted views of the campaign (for “Fringe” and “Lie to Me”).

I was encouraged to speak with a number of creative directors (or former creator directors) that seemed excited about the prospects. I had feared that they’d feel threatened by an online-video “weblebrity” creating videos that aren’t as easy to control. But they seemed to appreciate the idea of giving a popular creator a creative brief, and some room to tailor the message to his/her audience and style.

Here’s the deck, though most won’t make sense without context. Steal away. Spread the word.

But remember two things above all. US/Canada border guards require passports, and don’t care to be videotaped even if it’s on a Hello Kitty Flipcam. Trust me on those.

15 Tips for Giving A Killer Powerpoint Presentation

You’re days away from an important presentation on a subject. Like most people, public speaking makes you anxious. But you’re an expert on your subject — whether it’s social media, advertising, online video, consumer-generated media, new media, marketing, or some specific trend within. So if you believe in yourself, the audience will too. Trick yourself into believing your audience worships you (visually imaging success), and your confidence  — but not arrogance — will radiate your words and non-verbal behavior. If you’re not having fun, your audience will make grocery lists in their mind.

Maybe you’re a fellow procrastinator — our problem is that we have high expectations, so we delay because we want it to be perfect. In high school, we bought Cliff Notes the night before the final. That’s okay. This doesn’t have to take long (trust me, I’ve prepared many presentations using these tips in 30 minutes, and made it look like I spent days preparing).

You’re going to turn your presentation into THEATER. It will be the most memorable presentation your audience has seen, and will intrigue, inform, and persuades your audience. Getting some doubt about that? Don’t fight it, just set it aside for a moment. And no need to thank Uncle Nalts. He’s got your back. If you don’t look good, I don’t look good. I take pride in you. That’s a shampoo joke there, friends.

Note: Powerpoint is a useful and common tool for sharing ideas in person (and sometimes, but often poorly, electronically). But please don’t use it if you can avoid it. I’ve snoozed through many vendor capability presentations, but my brain goes technicolor if we’re discussing an idea that interests me. I like answering the “what keeps you up at night” question even if it’s a tired question. But I also loathe the “rapport building” script many follow. If you’ve followed these tips, however, then your computer can crash and you can still blow ’em away!

  1. Take 5 to write three things down: the target audience, the purpose of your presentation, and what the target will do or think when you’ve done your magic. If you have a broad audience (executives, marketers, eBusiness people, technologists) then specify the one that matters most or you risk being irrelevant to all of them.
  2. Create e a killer headline. “How x will impact our company” is  a start, but something like “experts agree a giant, razor-clawed bioengineered crabs pose no threat” is much better. Don’t be too outrageous or provocative, but I beg you not to bee too broad, abstract or boring. “An update on new media” is a loser. Put your name on it, but be sure to credit stakeholders so you don’t look like the presentation is about you. It’s not.
  3. Your introduction is best if it’s a story or anecdote that proceeds our intro slide, and then tell them the three things you’re going to discuss. No more.
  4. Vital one here… Avoid more than 20 words per slide, and no smaller than 20-40 point type. Seriously. This requires restraint, but you’ll simplify your message and dazzle your guests when they see you don’t need to read 4 bullets with subbullets. It’s okay if the deck makes no sense without your talking points, and if you can’t present without looking at your slide (reading bullets) you’re doooooomed. The BEST presentations I’ve seen from the masters (Covey, Blanchard, Peters) have a sentence, a picture, and a story. The worst have McKinsey slides, complex graphics, spreadsheets and look like a word document squished onto a screen.
  5. If you mention terms like “consumer-generated video” or “viral video,” don’t assume your audience knows what they mean. They won’t. Define words succinctly and use wikipedia for proper wording. Don’t say “Web 2.0” to senior executives without adding a simple definition like “technology that helps our customers and employees share and interact.” 
  6. Source each data point with small (14 point) text boxes, and not in the body copy. Don’t use a date that’s more than 2 years old if you’re talking about new technology. If it’s important, but dated… leave off the date or find a more recent source.
  7. If you’re citing more than 3 trends, then you’ll overwhelm them. Nothing bores and audience than 5-10 slides about the changing market. They need to see impact to their lives immediately, otherwise you’re academic. Trends set a foundation but can quickly bore or confuse.
  8. Analogies help people. If you’re talking about the evolution of online video, then provide an example… how radio and television progressed. People believe your predictions if you can liken them to realities they’ve seen and know.
  9. An eMarketer chart (free) will help show you’ve done your research but don’t let it live without a simple “so what” statement. If you have time, rebuild the chart in your own template. Don’t go nuts on these because they’re not as persuasive to your audience as you think. 
  10. Your hidden jewel is Slideshare. Some brilliant presentations are available for guidance and even download. Source them, so you reward this generous sharing. Slideshare is a wonderful example of social media’s power to accelerate ideas, and I plan to post more of my decks there. Once you find a good slide presentation, you’ll find related decks automatically (like Amazon’s “you may also like this product.”) Don’t get overwhelmed- just find a few important points, and avoid any cheesy clip art that screams amateur. You can also try searching Google and adding .ppt to your search (or .pdf). Be very, very specific with terms and you might find what you’re after. You could even add slideshare.com to your search. Remember- don’t get stuck here or download 10 decks. You’ll get overwhelmed.
  11. Pictures sell. Especially if they’re PEOPLE not company logos. Social media is about people not websites. You need visual examples that matter to your audience, and they’ll bring to life your data from eMarketer and other places. Don’t you dare “print screen” and import images into your deck (these make your file size huge). Grab images (or videos) with Snagit (which is a great tool for grabbing website images to support your case). I promise this software won’t overwhelm you if you can use basic Powerpoint, and it reduces file-size bloating. Google Images is a great resource, and if it’s a public presentation you can “go professional” with Getty One. If you register you can trial images for free (lower resolution), but you’ll want to buy/license them if the deck will be shared or used for commercial gain.
  12. Please don’t use any Powerpoint effects (moving objects or transition effects). They scream amateur, unless the movement has a purpose. If you’re considering clip art, then stop reading this post immediately. You cannot be saved.
  13. If you want to show a video clip, make it 30 seconds or less. I’ve made the mistake of playing a 2-3 minute video in a crowd, and it’s horrible (unless it’s customized for the audience and precedes your presentation).
  14. Have some “call to action” at the end, and list some simple baby steps. To help people appreciate social media, for example, I like to encourage audiences to find a topic they love (a hobby) and pursue it by searching blogs and videos on that subject. If they’re brave enough, I tell them to engage or create content around this hobby (even if anonymously). Otherwise you’re describing colors to a blind person.
  15. Close with a final statement or story. Use a dramatic pause before you share it (as if you’re searching spontaneously for it), and walk into your audience’s space. Don’t give them the “thanks for your attention” garbage. The best endings are those that point back to your introduction in a profound way. If you opened with a story of a problem or customer, then talk about how your solution will change that story (or did). Emotion here helps.

Good luck. I know you don’t like to comment, but please tell me how these tips work for you. And if you have some of your own ideas, please share!

The Secret Sauce of Viral Video? Falling Off a Stage. And Dressing Like a Dork in Public.

It’s now officially my Halmark. I like falling off the stage when I speak. This morning I did it at a Yahoo! conference in Toronto, and practically caused the organizer to go into labor early (sorry, Adina).

Here’s the highlights, and includes some footage for a future video called “Dork Runner.” Thanks to mugglesam for finding the costume store and working camera on this footage. Dork Runner will be in Philly’s YoTube event Friday, NYC on Monday, and LA on Wednesday. Stay tuned for a montage.

On Slideshare, you can download the presentation I showed here, which is called “The Secrets of Viral Video Marketing.” The embed is below, and you can click thru to get to the download page. Please attribute it to willvideoforfood.com per creative commons or whatever.

The Secrets of Viral Video (draft presentation)

As I mentioned previously, I’m presenting “The Secrets of Viral Video Marketing” at a Yahoo! event called “Big Screen, Little Screen.” It’s this Wednesday,  July 9 in Toronto, Canada.

Want to review the deck and provide any suggestions? Obviously it won’t be self explanatory, but I thought I’d give you loyal WVFF readers a sneak preview. Here’s the Powerpoint deck in Flash via Slideshare.net.

Any suggestions?

Oh- and thanks to David Bridges for designing the Nalts flavicon (that little icon on the left of the browser window before the WVFF URL). Thanks also to Jan for installing the little booger!