Want your video to go viral? Start with great content. Then pour on the elbow grease.

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I recently attended the OMMA Video (#ommavideo) event at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. A lot of our customers ask us about viral video, so I hope this post sheds some light on the subject. The panel “The Art of Being Discovered: Is Viral Video a Strategy” was moderated by Bob Heyman, (Managing Director, The Digital Engagement Group) and included the following panelists: Andrew Budkofsky (SVP Sales and Partnerships, Break Media), Benjamin Carlson (Chief Strategy Officer, Bradley and Montgomery), Gregory Markel (Founder/President of Infuse Creative), Matt Martelli (CEO/Creative Director, Mad Media) and Bret Wilson (Co-Founder/CEO of TubeMogul). Here are some of the talking points I walked away with that I found interesting:

“¢Â The best techniques for driving “virality” starts with content. But it doesn’t end there. Then you have to promote your video via SEO, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace etc.), social bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon etc) and  getting bloggers to review and talk about your video.  Oh, and it can’t hurt to launch a full PR campaign to get a reaction from appropriate media outlets that are relevant to your audience.

“¢ Getting a video to go viral is getting harder and harder because there is currently a glut of video out there and it’s harder to stand out. Video is following the same trajectory as banner ads; at first everyone clicked on them and thought they were novel. But today, people pay less and less attention to them. The idea of going into a teen chat room and asking them to check out your video and expecting a response is kind of creepy and pretty much over.

“¢Â Want to spread your video effectively? Consider hiring a Weblebrity (a web celebrity that has a following of a million plus fans). Pay them to review your video. Or, even better yet, have them make a video in response to your video. This practice is becoming popular among viral video marketers and weblebrities seem more than willing to participate.

But at the end of the day, it still comes down to the quality of your content and being relevant to your audience. As one of the panelist said, “sites want good content. They’re going to start banning people who flood them with crap.” Woudn’t that be nice.  If you couldn’tt make the OMMA video event, you can see highlights at the MediaPost Raw >> OMMA Video .

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and now Tagged. Make it stop.

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I don’t know about you, but I am constantly going back and forth trying to decide which gets more of my life units”“Facebook or Twitter? It used to be a question of Facebook or MySpace, but since MySpace has been relegated to music lovers and individuals going through puberty, it doesn’t seem like there’s much there for an old fart like me. .I have to admit, a few years back my MySpace  was one social networking site that I visited frequently; mostly to listen to music and exchange banter with other music lovers. But then Facebook swept me away and I haven’t looked back since. I have looked sideways, though, at that shiny blue object in the corner of my browser that keeps me tweeting at all hours of the day. So now I split my time between Facebook and Twitter. But should I be dedicating that much time? According to a recent post on ReadWriteWeb. There’s reason to make room for a third slice. Check this out,

“Facebook and MySpace beat Twitter out for the top two spots, but you may be surprised to see who came in at #3: Tagged. Yes, Tagged, the social networking site that’s best known for getting busted in an email invite scam is beating out Twitter.”

So now, to make matters worse, Tagged is coming into the scene . Tagged boasts over 80 million subscribers and their numbers are growing. They probably don’t need one more. I just don’t know if I have the energy to add Tagged to the line-up.

Planting videos feet first.

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Video can enrich a users experience and serve as an important trigger during the purchasing process. They can be informative, entertaining and as professional or goofy as you see fit. It’s important to choose the right content for the audience that you are focusing on.  However, content isn’t the only factor to consider. Where you put your videos is almost as important as the content inside your video. Do you put them on your home page? How about product pages? Is Youtube a good place to start? The answer to the question of where to put your videos relies on what your strategy is for having them in the first place. For example, in recent Internet Retailer post Peter Leech, chief marketing officer of onlineshoes.com, said

“The biggest design issue we look at now is where to place the videos on the site in a way that’s going to create better optimization.”

Onlineshoes.com once displayed all of their videos on a separate site, OnlineShoesTV.com. Today they are placing their videos more strategically on their blog entries like this one,  and also on YouTube.  As video strategies change for companies, so will their methods of deploying their videos. One thing is for certain, SEO for video is a strategy that every company should look at before deciding how to launch a company video.

Content: Cheap, fast and good enough. Pick three.

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I am in the business of creating high-quality content for companies in order to help them drive qualified leads, establish an online brand footprint and to increase search engine rankings. The competition for content providers is enormous. In a recent Wired Magazine Article titled “The Answer Factory: Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell‘”writer Daniel Roth (daniel_roth [at] wired [dot] com)  uncovers the fast-paced world of cheap content creation by publisher Demand Media. To put it in perspective,

“By next summer, according to founder and CEO Richard Rosenblatt, Demand will be publishing 1 million items a month, the equivalent of four English-language Wikipedias a year.

Streaming video is about to go for overload. But there may be even more competition on the way. In a related post , clickz reports that AOL may be getting into the act. There goes the neighborhood.

Matt Cutts gets a cut.

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You gotta love a guy who follows up on a bet by posting a video of himself (below) getting a new hairdo by his fellow office mates on YouTube. It’s even more impressive when you are  Google’s SEO guru. Here’s the bet; Matt Cutts wagered with his team that they couldn’t keep up with an undisclosed turnaround time for a full quarter. Needless to say, Matt lost the bet.

The coiffure began as a chrome logo delicately chiseled into the back of Mr. Cutts’ head, but soon gave way to a full-fledged Telly Savalas … viola! It was an entertaining way to celebrate a milestone in a company; one million video views on the official Google webmaster video channel.  Again, nice work. Now maybe Matt would consider a future bet with the eyebrows included? Just a thought.

What’s all that tweeting doing to us?

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Do you ever wonder how many hours a day the average person spends tweeting? Blogging?Commenting on videos shown on YouTube? Do ever wonder if this has a positive or negative effect. Does it effect your productivity? Does it turn you into a social outcast? How do your tweeting habits compare to the guy in the next cubicle? Well, now you can get all the pros and cons on this subject via a website that focuses in on the issues to create thought, critical thinking and discussion on the subject. ProCon.org created the new website www.socialnetworking.procon.org to explore the core question “Are social networking sites good for our society?” On the site you can read a detailed overview of the issue, over 20 pro and con arguments, fun facts in the “Did You Know?” section, an image and video gallery, a reader survey, and a listing of all sources used. Oh yeah, and if you were wondering, you can also find factoids there like this nifty tid-bit:

“Russians spend more time on social networking sites than people in any other country, an average of 6.6 hours per month compared to the worldwide average of 3.7 hours per month.”

It doesn’t make you feel so bad now, does it?