A recurring question I’ve been asked this past week since this video launched, “Was that hard to do?”

Thought it might be useful to write about it. But in return, I’d like to ask readers to give their opinion on a question. I’ll ask the question first so you can be thinking about it.

In watching this video, how would you characterize the “commercial use” nature of it?

Yes, no doubt the intended purpose is to drive brand loyalty and attendance at future ICMG meetings. But the video is not ‘for sale’, not driving direct revenue, noone’s going to buy it, etc. In my mind, that would be a commercial use worthy of paying royalties. So if we used, for example, a U2 song as the music bed rather than the royalty free one, shouldn’t that be fine without jumping through all the IP hoops? No money is changing hands because of the song. Regardless of whether you are a legal expert or not, what do you think? What’s your gut feeling? Just curious… Plus it’s free publicity for the musical artist, too?

350+ bit.ly clicks in a week. Mission accomplished. A few tips without going into an exhaustive essay:

  1. Find a theme for the video. Funny, Short, True. If these are the three keys to a viral video, how can you follow a theme through the vid that accomplishes all three? In this case, the idea came to me based on a true story of what Mark Hill I believe once said about me taking pictures at insurance conferences. “Mike, it’s like you’re on a safari! You’re taking pictures of insurance people in their native habitats!” So funny. The coup-de-gras this time around though…? I must give credit to Craig Blake who encouraged me to get a safari hat on the way to the conference – brilliant because it reinforced the theme as I got pictures and sound-bites from people.
  2. Get some good media elements that support the theme – again Funny, Short, True. Good quality pictures and lots of them; sound bites and other audio elements. Of course we have to serve the ROI expectations of the vid, right? So you can’t lose focus on the economics of the thing – it’s got to serve the goal of the organization. So notice in the vid the opening question is, “What did you get out of the conference?” That serves the business purpose – simple enough. Don’t need a lot, just a representative sampling. Note that I probably got twice the number of comments that I ended up using. That’s cool. I set the expectations with the folks I interviewed. But the key to making it funny was to get them to do something funny – no small trick in a business setting – while still keeping things professional and not embarrassing, right? Thus the animal sounds. Had no idea that that would be as funny as it came out. IMHO, the really funny part is the laughter after.

What really generates “virality?”

  1. Of course humor. Be careful here though. Humor’s a fine line. Get a lot of eyes and ears on the thing before you ‘Go Live.’ Funny
  2. Lot’s of faces so people can say, “Hey, that’s me! I remember that! Hey Chris, look at this!” Share-able. Common sense – if you’re using public events and real people, places, and times, make sure your content positions the people in the video in a positive light. And again, get their approval all along the way. Critical.
  3. Makes or proves a point so that people can use the vid to reinforce or support their efforts. “Dude, I told you you shuda come. Check out this vid of the event. Make sure you plan to come next year…” Useful.
  4. Speed is everything with something like this. It’s either got to be released right away or wait until the selling season for the next event. Proximity to Event.
  5. Short and sweet – Nuf said … even at 3:45 this is a tad long, but the intro and outro are key ingredients and added a minute.

Do you have anything to add? What have you seen that works? What’s your favorite B2B viral video? Key word: B2B (as opposed to B2C – tons of those..)

Thanks for reading and Sharing. Appreciate any Shares on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. Spread the word. The world needs more stuff like this happening – very powerful communication tool for all sorts of messages.

Let me know if you want to do one for your business. I’m working on couple others as we speak. Don’t want to be the “viral video guy”, but want to help insurance folks get started.

“Thrive with Social”

Additional resources:

3 Examples of Awesome B2B Marketing Viral Videos

HubSpot… More good ones in the Comments on that post.

B2B Viral Campaigns that Delivered: 6 Examples

The Web Video Marketing Council – ignore the formatting issues – good content.

REELSEO – Great tips, nice source.

Live Search on Twitter

(results will vary depending on when you click through)

Comments MUCH appreciated in advance. Remember, Lurking is Lame. :-)
Picture of the Post
A homeless guy showed up at a Kairos prison ministry event I’m preparing for and started preaching to us. And he used my “life verse” as his teaching point. Glad I had my camera that day. Unforgettable. Ask me about it if you’re interested in what he said.