Ricky Van Veen: How To Make Humorous Content Go Viral [PSFK 2014]
PSFK talks to CollegeHumor's Co-founder about how being able to relate is the key to making people share your content online.
PSFK is excited to have Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of CollegeHumor and the Chief Executive Officer of Notional, as a speaker at PSFK CONFERENCE 2014. On April 11th, Ricky will discuss the fickle nature of humorous viral content, and the best way to use social media and uploading platforms to your benefit. In the lead up to the event, we chatted with Van Veen to hear some of his keen insights on the webs greatest sharing mechanisms, and get a sneak peek at the content of his upcoming talk.
What inspired you to start CollegeHumor?
My best friend from high school, Josh, had a brother that worked at an internet advertising company during the first dot com bubble. We learned from him that if you could get people to go to a website, you could put ads on the site and make money. It was a really novel idea at the time that not many people knew about. We wanted to see if we could do it. Since we were in college and we thought we were funny (we weren’t), we started CollegeHumor.
What’s are the key points to remember when creating engaging, humorous content?
Make it relatable. That’s the most important thing. People will not only find it funnier, but they’ll tell their friends about it. And if it’s edgy, make sure it’s funnier than it is angry.
How have you evolved your content to match the constantly shifting Internet culture?
Now that things are shared socially, packaging of content is just as important as the content itself. If you don’t create excitement with an engaging headline, for example, nobody’s going to see what you made in the first place.
How have changing platforms affected the content you create?
Since our content now not only lives on our website, but every platform, we have to make platform specific content. For example, our YouTube videos are a lot more interactive than our site videos, just because that’s the nature of the YT platform.
What is the most surprising thing you have learned while running the site?
You can be 100% certain that a piece of content will do well, and you are frequently 100% wrong about that assertion.
What’s one thing we can look forward to (without giving too much away) in your talk at PSFK CONFERENCE 2014?
I think I’m going to talk about both human and technical reasons pieces of content go viral. If I can figure it out enough by then…
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