These days everyone wants to go viral, by creating their own videos and hoping that they hit the gestalt just right and get passed about by millions of people. Sure, when something does go, it can be hugely helpful for your brand. But the chances of that are similar to winning Powerball – especially with so much content being created these days.
But that’s OK – there are many other ways to successfully harness video to drive recognition, intent and action for your brand, products and services. Below are some that you may have missed.
1) Create How-To Videos About Your Product
Sure, content farms like eHow and Associated Media are getting slammed. But that’s good news, because it leaves an opening for useful and actionable How-To videos. And who knows how to do more, better with your products that you! Instead of looking for the funny, ironic, or gross viral hit, make something of use. For example, let’s say you make outdoor equipment. Why not do a series of videos on how to set up a tent, or waterproof your boots, or build a snow cave? Or maybe you’re a bank. What about videos on how to balance your checkbook, or how to save for retirement. Then, when you’re done, create a YouTube channel to house your how-to videos (such as “How to Achieve Financial Independence, from Bill’s Bank). And don’t forget to syndicate your videos out to the how-to sites – including WonderHowTo, Howcast and 5min as well. While these videos will never get the kind of viewership of The Old Spice guy, they’ll deliver consistent value to your most important prospects.
2) Enlist YouTube Stars to Endorse Your Product
There are a wide range of YouTube stars out there who are looking to make a few more bucks. Find some that are complementary to your product, and have more than 50,000 subscribers. Reach out to their business managers / directly to see if they would consider a sponsorship from your company. Beware though – these sponsorships can vary greatly in quality and effectiveness. You are often better off working with a more established firm to match your product to the appropriate hosts and audiences.
3) Look for in-show sponsorship opportunities
That leads me to number three, which is somewhat self-serving, but valuable nonetheless. Team up with a company that specializes in introducing brands to shows and audiences. My company, Revision3, has been doing this successfully both on and off of YouTube for six years – we manage more than 25 video communities, built around authentic hosts and focused on a key and targeted demographic. We only work with appropriate products and services, and when there’s a real fit between product/brand, host and audience the results are spectacular. We’re not the only one’s doing it – but we’re among the best.
4) Enlist an Up and Coming YouTube star to become your YouTube spokesmodel
Another way to do this, albeit one with more risk, is to go out and find an emerging YouTube expert in your area, and partner with them for an extended period of time – essentially turning them into your spokesmodel. If you pick the right person, with the right talent and trajectory, you could end up with a home run. However, you may need to apply a portfolio model to this tactic, and there are still no guarantees.
5) Give away free products in return for a video
Check out Orabrush on YouTube. These guys are masters at this. They seeded their product to a wide range of YouTube stars, and then asked them to create a video about the experience. Or Big Skinny Wallet, who did something similar. By enlisting others to create video about your products, you seed the internet, and who knows – maybe one of them will go viral!
6) Team Up With Complimentary Products and Help Each Other Out
On Youtube and around the web cross promotion really works. Maybe you make killer ice cream, and you know a company that’s in the hot fudge sauce business. Combine forces, and cross promote each other’s videos. You can do this through joint appearances, annotations and baked-in promotions. Search for complimentary products and services that may already have a good online video presence and work with them.
7) Build a Custom OTT Channel for Your Videos
So let’s say you’ve taken my advice. You now have a bunch of how-to videos that promote your product. You’ve worked with Revision3 to sponsor a few shows, and ended up with some fantastic product integration videos. You’ve also ended up with a great group of user-generated videos from your free product giveaway program, and a couple of YouTube stars also endorsed your product. Now pull all those videos together, build an over the top / mobile channel, and start cranking out applications!
That’s right, you can actually have your very own channel on many of the popular emerging video platforms. Building Roku or Boxee channel is easy, and it’s not much harder to create your own Android, iPhone or iPad app. Build it, promote it, and then reward your loyal viewers. And don’t forget to make it easy for them to Like, Share and Tweet about your videos too!
Jim Louderback is CEO of online video network Revision3. Contact him about sponsorship opportunities, or other questions at Jim AT Revision3 DOT com – This post originally appeared on the Ad-Tech blog – Join me there in mid April 2011 in San Francisco!