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Floyd Hayes: How To Make A Viral Video

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Eight pointers on making and promoting content, based on lessons learned from the “John’s Phone un-boxing” video.

Floyd Hayes
  • 15 december 2010
Finally, I think I may have made a video that could, just about, be considered a “viral video.” At 500,000 views (and counting), my “John’s Phone un-boxing” video surprised me with its popularity. You can tell it was a surprise, I would have shaved the bad ‘tash beforehand otherwise.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the things I have learned during the process in the form of Eight Pointers:

1. Be Original: Your video content doesn’t have to be good, well-made, clever, cutting edge or sexy but it does have to be novel.

2. Be Yourself: You are one in a 6 billion. You are the USP. You don’t have to be gorgeous or smart, confident or a great presenter (these things can’t harm of course) just do your thing and have fun.

3. Turn up: Be a regular commenter and build a presence on the blogs you like and respect.

4. Be Relevant: Don’t send tech editors links to your beet soup recipes. Take an interest in what journalists like to write about and only contact them with relevant items.

5. Don’t Pretend To Be a PR Company: Most tech writers and bloggers I know dislike pushy PR people who hit their inboxes with jargon filled, hyperbolic Press Release nonsense.

6. Be Friendly: Sure you’re giving bloggers content, but they don’t need you, you need them. Be cool and respectful. Above all, be honest. If you’re trying to get them to post a link to promote one of your things, just say so!

7. Aim for the Top of The Pyramid: The link to my youtube video was included in a review I wrote for PSFK. They allowed me to do this because I’ve lurked around on their site for years in the comments section and hassle the editors quite often

PSFK is an excellent site that works exceptionally hard at promoting itself and as a result industry giants such as Gizmodo keep an eye on them. Gizmodo picked up on the video and this kicked off a cascade of blog responses across the world. The story trickled down to individual country blogs. Eventually, the old world media picked up on, feeding the story back into the loop.

8. Follow Up: Once the smaller blogs picked up on the video, write to the posters thanking them for their attention.

It takes a lot more time and effort but actually builds a relationship and perhaps next time you have something to show to the world, they’ll help you out.

Floyd Hayes

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