In parts 1 & 2 of the 'promote' chapter of our series on running a successful online video contest, we looked at ways of utilizing paid media & owned media to promote your video contest while remaining on a budget. Today in Part 3, we look at ways of using earned media channels to increase awareness and drive users to your video contest site. Consider these ideas to promote your online video contest:
Not to be confused with the contest video, viral videos are entertaining content pieces designed to be spread virally throughout the web and should not blatantly promote the contest. From our experience, the following rules will help:
- Create Content, Not Ads – Try to refrain from creating a blatant ad for your contest and focus on creating a piece of content that entertains. It is ok to promote your contest somewhere, but do it subtly and organically (as if it is part of the story).
- Provoke a response – Humans are social beings and we naturally like to share positive experiences like laughter or happiness with our friends. Draw an emotional response from your viewer such as shock or laughter and they will naturally want to share it with their friends.
- Remove sharing barriers – Consider the points before (under premise) on shareable content. What does sharing your video say about the individual? Does this align with what they want to be saying about themselves?
- Seed your content – Before it can go viral, you need initial viewers. Identify influencers in your industry and get it in front of them, or use a viral seeding company such as Sharethrough or Unruly Media to do it for you. These services usually charge a per view fee so it's measureable and effective.
Consider partnering with an industry publication, suppliers, etc. and utilize their resources (social channels, email lists, in-store, etc.) to extend the reach of your promotional activities or share the costs of larger activities like TV or Radio campaigns. If your video contest platform supports the serving of advertising, you can use this advertising space as currency to trade for exposure.
Bloggers and influencers are becoming an increasingly powerful way of reaching and engaging your target market and can provide excellent reach into niche markets. Whilst engaging a blogger can be difficult as the popular ones are regularly approached, consider offering them ad space or branding opportunities in return for an article or tweet to their follower base. Try using Klout or Alltop to find influencers in your niche and reach out to them, if your contest is well designed and relevant to their audience chances are they'll be interested in promoting it.
It is human nature to form groups with others that share similar interests, beliefs or preferences and it is common for these groups to congregate both online and offline. Consider areas where your target audience congregates, including events, clubs, chatrooms etc. and consider reaching out into those micro-communities. However, it is generally not a good idea to overtly sell your contest within these communities. People are there to interact with likeminded individuals and generally resent overt brand involvement so respect the community and try to make your promotional activities subtle and valuable to the community.