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Using YouTube Moderator as a PR/Marketing Tool

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Do you have your own YouTube channel? Have you used YouTube Moderator? If not, it may be worth checking out.

The tool, only available on channel pages, allows viewers to answer a question or participate in the conversation – with other viewers voting to push select comments to the top of the list.

Moderator allows any YouTube user to collect commentary, questions, or ideas on your YouTube channel and watch the best ones rise to the top. It’s easy – you bring a group of people together on a topic of your choice, and leverage their collective wisdom to vote on the best video and text submissions. You can respond to individual submissions, or the entire conversation, in a one-to-many dialogue.

You can use YouTube Moderator in a variety of ways as a PR/Marketing tool…

  • Gather comments/reviews on a new product/service. Create a video showcasing the product and ask for thoughts/inputs/ideas.
  • Gather questions for an interview. Obtain the most pressing questions for your executive staff or key personnel in your company.
  • Run a Contest. Create a contest based around creating slogans, taglines, asking the best question, and more.
  • Run a Promotion. Add a viral element to your promotion, enticing the audience to participate and vote.
  • Obtain New Content. Entice your followers to submit content, advice, or tips on your service.

How would you use YouTube Moderator?

YouTube Person Finder Helps Connect Missing People in Japan

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Last week YouTube launched Person Finder – a channel that aggregates video messages from those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Their goal is to process and add more than 80 video messages shot at shelters by TBS (a major television station). They plan to increase the videos by adding content from other stations and also individual videos.

The site links to the Google Person Finder (2011 Japan Earthquake) (which also launched last week) and together they hope to bring families back together. You can search by entering the names of a missing person, the name of the place they lived, or the name of the shelter locations.

The search box only supports the Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana character sets used in Japan.

Does it Matter How You Go Viral? Or Just If You Go Viral?

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Last week Rebecca Black was an unknown. This week she’s had over 10 million views of her YouTube video for her song, Friday.

The problem is … the reviews are not all positive. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any positive reviews. But the video has blown up across all social media veins – Facebook, Twitter, Google Trends, and YouTube. It went from 4000 views last Friday, to 2 million views on Monday, to nearly 10 million today.

How did that happen? Well, part of the rise may spring from Michael J. Nelson, who tweeted a backhanded compliment (and a link) last week. He wrote, “Let this be on your lips as you head into the weekend (it also answer the ? “what’s the worst video ever made?”)” Other networks, including Comedy Central, began talking about the video – watching it spiral out of control and onto iTunes.

Which begs the question – does it matter if you go viral for the wrong reasons? For Rebecca? Perhaps. But for Ark Music Factory (the company that launched the video), I’d guess it doesn’t matter to them at all! Because users who watch the video are very likely to click on their other videos … maybe to see if they’re all bad, or maybe to see if there’s a diamond in the rough. And it’s all exposure for them. Especially now that parodies are creeping out of the wood-work.

What do you think?

Be the Next YouTube Sensation With YouTube Creator Institute!

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Want to develop digital media skills and launch your career as a YouTube celeb? Now’s your chance! YouTube has created the YouTube Creator Institute, in partnership with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, and Columbia College of Chicago.

YouTube Creator Institute

Students at the two schools will have the opportunity to participate in a series of media programs – with applications being accepted nationwide through March 25.

The experience offers the ability to:

  • Earn a paid YouTube Creator Institute experience at a leading institution.
  • Learn broad new media skills and use unique creator tools.
  • Get promotional opportunities and build global audiences.
  • Engage with world-class faculty, industry leaders, and top YouTube stars.

Both schools will only select 10 students to take the class. The USC program runs from May 25 through June 2, while the Columbia College program runs May 31 through July 22.

The YouTube community will select the top applicants via a two-week online voting period between March 28 and April 8. The two colleges will then narrow those down – announcing the final list on April 20.

In order to apply, students will be expected to answer two questions and provide a two-minute demonstration of their craft.

A Lesson In Branding and Buzz: Darth Vader Versus Groupon

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The Super Bowl is more about branding than football these days. Not that I’m complaining – I laughed about the little Darth Vader kid just like the rest of you. I’m more of a Puppy Bowl girl than an NFL fan.

After the game is over, football fans go to sleep off the pizza/wing/beer binge and marketers start talking about the commercials. In fact, people everywhere are still talking about the commercials a few days later. The conversation seems to boil down to two points:

  1. Let’s talk about the funniest commercials, especially the little Darth Vader kid.
  2. Groupon’s commercials were horrendous.

Heck, I’m talking about those two points too. What was memorable? Who hurt their brand most?

But another question I think we need to ask is this: What will the end result be?

The entire point of a commercial is to raise awareness for your brand, hopefully in the positive light, so that you sell more. Funny commercials are usually memorable, so the Super Bowl is filled with them, but those aren’t the only kinds of commercials that can raise awareness for your brand. One campaign that sticks in my mind, for example, is Droid. (I didn’t see any Droid commercials during the Super Bowl, I just mean in general). They had a whole slew of weird alien/robot commercials last year that weren’t funny in the least, but they were certainly memorable. So commercials don’t have to be funny to be good.

Why, then, is there a push to make Super Bowl commercials funny? Because afterward, there are always ten billion people writing about and talking about which ones were funniest. You want your commercial to be part of those conversations so that it lives beyond its air time.

Except I wonder if that really matters. I’m starting to believe marketers need to think about branding and buzz a little differently.

Earlier today, I read an interesting post from Lawton Chiles called The Ugly Truth Behind the Darth Vader Superbowl Commercial (hat tip to @elijahryoung for tweeting the link). In this post, Lawton writes,

See how millions of folks are searching for the Darth Vader kid Superbowl commercial? Pretty nifty right? Seems like a lot of people are searching for that SPECIFIC video.

So, they watch the video, laugh, and then, move on. The fact is, I could not even remember what car company they were advertising. I’m sure 95% of the other folks looking for the commercial were in the same boat as me. I’m sure you were too, right?

What a great point. Does the Darth Vader commercial make you want to go out and buy that specific car? In actuality, no one is searching for that make and model of Volkswagen at all – and what did that commercial do to tell us about the car? It has a push-button start? Lots of cars have that these days. What in that commercial positively changed how I think of the Volkswagen brand? What in that commercial convinced me that I should buy this car over other cars I might be considering? At the end of the day, no one buys a car because the company had a funny commercial.

And as far as awareness goes? I’m more aware of that little kid, but I’m not really talking about Volkswagen. Like Lawton said, most people don’t even remember what car company was showcased in the commercial.

Not that brands shouldn’t have funny commercials. They can sometimes work. Doritos, for example, had some funny commercials that I think worked well to promote their brand. But we saw the same problem last year with Old Spice. While the Old Spice guy was hilarious and got a lot of buzz, sales for their Red Zone products – what he was actually promoting – actually fell.

I also saw an interesting tweet that I thought needed to be part of this conversation.

BobbyRettew: No offense…but those out there fussing bout Groupon Ad last night…they achieve their goal: Awareness. You are talking about #Groupon

Groupon offended me more than once during the Super Bowl, but Bobby is right – people are not only talking about the commercials, like with the Darth Vader kid, but they are actually talking about Groupon. Tons of brand awareness for that company. Even my mom, who is not an Internet person in the least, called me to ask what Groupon is exactly (she knew it had something to do with deals, and my mom can’t resist a coupon) and if she should sign up.

Of course, the flip side to this is that a lot of people are really upset with the Groupon ads, so they didn’t exactly raise brand awareness in a positive light. I think it will be interesting to see stats from the week after the Super Bowl for this company, but I predict that even with all the negativity and people boycotting, they’ll still have a spike in new users. Over time, those commercials might have a more damaging effect on their brand. Only time will tell I guess.

So the main question here, I think, is this: Who did a better job with branding and creating buzz? Volkswagen, a company with a commercial that has gone viral and is one of the highest-rated of the Super Bowl, but that created little brand or product awareness? Or Groupon, a company that pissed off a lot of people, but created tons of brand and product awareness?

Vlogging When You’re Shy

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Earlier this month, Nikki made the excellent point that we should all be including more video blogs – or vlogs – as part of our monthly posts. While it is true that vlogging can help you connect with the reader, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that vlogging still makes me a little…itchy. I’m just not 100% comfortable in front of a camera yet, and even though I’m pushing myself to be more and more outgoing, vlogging is tough for me.

Yet, I love making videos.

I find that not only are videos fun for the reader, but they get my creative juices flowing, stretching my innovation muscles in ways that traditional writing doesn’t do it for me anymore. I love all aspects of direction, editing, and producing videos, and I have since I was in high school. I’m just not a fan of being the star.

So what’s a girl to do? How can I vlog more often, even though I’m still shy in front of the camera? The answer is easier than you may think: Don’t be in the video.

Yeah, right. How could that possibly work? I know, I know, that’s what you must be thinking. But oddly enough, with a good starting concept, you don’t have to be the person speaking to the camera to create an awesome vlog for your website.

Point in case: This past weekend, as I’ve mentioned before, I was at a gaming conference, and while there, I did some freelance work for video game website Spawn Kill. As part of my post for that site, I created a video called What Is MAGFest, which I fully intended to actually be in…before I got sick and totally lost my voice. The content was getting less and less fresh each day that I was sitting on the project, waiting to feel better, so I decided to roll with it. I used the clips I had, created some transitional message slides, and finished the piece, all without being on camera for a single second. Take a moment to watch the video and you’ll see what I mean:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exAKOAiiR9c[/youtube]

This isn’t the first time I’ve created awesome video content for a website without being in the video at all. In fact, after BlogWorld Expo 2010, I created a video from the conference that didn’t have me in it at all:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hewbnk9K6I[/youtube]

I’ve done other such videos for various websites, all fairly well-received by my readers, none with me in them. What did all of these videos have in common though?

  • Faces: Mine wasn’t in them, but others’ were. It’s hard to make a video interesting when it doesn’t have any people in it. I should clarify – it is important to not just have people in your video, but people actually talking to the camera in some way. It just helps the viewer connect.
  • A Strong Concept: Before you begin filming, it is important to have a strong concept for your video. You won’t be on camera to lead the conversation, so you have to ask pointed questions and encourage people to answer in a way that restates the question when possible. Know the story you want to tell with your video, and filming will go much more smoothly.

Of course, this type of video typically includes many small pieces and not only takes a long time to film, but a very long time to piece together. Not counting filming or uploading at all, the MAGFest video, which was less than five minutes long, probably took about four hours to create. If you simply record yourself speaking to the camera, it takes a lot less time to create a vlog.

The bottom line? Don’t let your shy nature stop you from vlogging. With some creativity, you can create video content even if you don’t want to be in the actual video.

30 Days to a Better Blog: Add Images or Video to Each Post

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30 Days to a Better Blog: Add Images or Video to Each Blog Post

Images and video are important to blog posts and pages because they immediately draw in the reader’s attention and help break up the monotony of all that text! Today’s tip is to incorporate these visual elements into each and every blog post.

Adding Images To Your Post:

  • Upload the images to your blog. Don’t hotlink to other images because 1. It’s bad practice and 2. You never know when the hosting site will remove the image or replace it with something else altogether!
  • Make sure that you images are of a good quality and source them at the bottom of the post. Don’t steal! If you are searching for pictures online, make sure you look for the Creative Commons License (more on that on our Creative Commons 101). My favorite sites for free photos are SXC and Flickr (if you search correctly).
  • Align images properly. If you right or left align them, make sure the text wraps around the image, and I personally think it looks best if the image is less than half the width of your main container. If your image is going to be larger than that, I think its best to center the picture and not have the text wrap at all.
  • Resize your images. If you have a very large image, resize it to fit the container of your blog. This way you don’t have to worry about it breaking your computer or taking a long time to load!


Adding Videos to Your Post:

  • Search for the best quality of a video. Many people upload the same videos (from television, interview clips, etc) – but some are better than others!
  • Embed a size that fits your blog. You don’t want to break your container.

Image Source: SXC

Video: 3 New Year’s Resolutions for Blogging

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… by Wade Kwon

A new year, same old blog. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this video, I discuss three New Year’s resolutions we can make together to help our blogging improve and grow throughout 2011. Each resolution will challenge us to rethink our blog priorities and get focused.

But the payoffs will be great content, more traffic and a crystal clear goal.

Let’s go!

About Wade Kwon: Wade is a two-time speaker at BlogWorld and works as a communication consultant in Birmingham, Ala. Visit his site, Birmingham Blogging Academy, and follow him on Twitter at @WadeOnTweets.

Top 10 YouTube Videos of 2010 & Tips For You to Go Viral!

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YouTube released their Top 10 list of most watched videos of 2010 – and there’s definitely some viral madness going on. While you may not have the funds to produce a hugely anticipated film, you can certainly create a video that will reach the masses.

Below is the top 10 list (in reverse order) and I’ve included my tips for how you can use each video’s success to create your own viral video for 2011!

10. Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l’Autodrome, France.
Tip from this video: Work hard to be a professional rally racer and then drive an obscene obstacle course. Note: Don’t try this at home!

 

 

9. Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fans.
Tip from this video: Be a hugely successful talk show host – and then surprise young fans who are in love with a hugely successful teen pop singing sensation. Good luck fulfilling this tip!

 

 

8. The Twilight Saga – “Eclipse” trailer.
Tip from this video: Create a film based on a hugely successful Young Adult novel and throw Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner in the mix.

 

 


7. OK Go – This Too Shall Pass – Rube Goldberg Machine version.

Tip from this video: Take some music, some timing, and a huge Rube Goldberg machine. Mix, film, and film some more. This video took 60 takes over 2 days to create (after months of planning the machine). So my takeaways is patience, and lots of it!

 

 

6. Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10.
Tip from this video: Make interesting commentary when shooting a nature video. Without audio, this video would never have received this many views! But it does go to show, that anything … anything … can go viral!

 

 

5. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.
Tip from this video: Have an amazing staff to create an advertising campaign with just enough sex-ay and just enough funn-ay.

 

 


4. Annoying Orange – Whazzup?

Tip from this video: Be annoying. A little creativity helps, but honestly – everyone (at least everyone under the age of eighteen) loves to watch and rewatch and send their friends annoying videos!

 

 

3. Greyson Chance singing “Paparazzi.”
Tip from this video: Sing. Amazingly well. Just sing.

 

 

2. Tik Tok Ke$ha Parody.
Tip from this video: Take a song that begs for a funny parody, and then film said parody.

 

 

1. YouTube bed intruder song.
Tip from this video: I don’t even know what to say here. This video went viral for a variety of reasons – it is catchy, controversial, and Antoine Dodson has been able to use the funds (he received 50% of the proceeds) to move his family to a better area and continue to speak out in support of rape victims. I’m not sure if this idea could even be replicated!

 

 

Okay, so most of these tips aren’t necessarily obtainable! In fact, going viral on YouTube isn’t easy or formulaic. It takes a lot of luck and patience. But you can help your video to go viral by:

  • Producing quality content: Even if your video is meant to be amusing or simplistic, it should still be the best quality possible.
  • Producing something of interest: By appealing to the masses you’re more apt to push your video in front of others.
  • Promoting the video yourself: Push your video out to all of your social media contacts, and ask them to share it too.
  • Tagging and titling your video: People can’t find your video if you don’t tag and title it properly! Use appropriate tags and a catchy title.

What other tips do you have for going viral?

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