Tim Street on Producing Viral Video


Tim Street
Tim Street
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Tim Street is speaking about viral video. Viral video has some important things in common:

  • Easy to share
  • OK to share (no too explicit)
  • Controversial - takes risks
  • Emotionally engaging

The last point is the most important. Tim goes through a list of primary and secondary emotions. He shows different video clips (and their stats) for various emotions. Use emotion to engage.

Some critical advice: think about who the audience should root for. Who's the hero? Who's the antagonist. This is basic story telling and applies to blogging and podcasting as well as video.

Spectacle vs. story. Lots of video on the 'Net is spectacle. Think of the Mentos and Diet Coke videos. Pure spectacle. Lonelygirl (on YouTube) is an example of story with over 16 million combined views. Robert McKee's "Story" is a good resource.

Once the story is over, your audience leaves. He cites Howard Stern who had much larger audience numbers when he was "fighting the man."

What helps launch a viral video? What you'd expect: sex, violence, and comedy. Title and key art are also important. You've got a postage stamp to make your visual statement. Off-air promo (ads bought on other networks) can help. Build a launch spot for your podcast. Cut a cross promotion deal with other podcasts.

Tim references The Tipping Point and Word of Mouth Marketing as good references. Online communities like StumbleUpon, Second Life, fan sites, email, and so on are good places to promote.

Love the haters. You can't make everyone love you. But you can make people hate you. Love the haters and they will bring you the lovers. He references the NBC Promo as an example of feeding off negative reviews.