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Viral Promotion


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Hey

Viral Promotion, Viral advertising.... we have all heard the terms and have a loose grasp on what it means. In today's world it is a fact of life that viral advertising is thee way to go for indie musicians. But what is it?

The name implies it is something that spreads, on it's own. Related to advertising this is any content, be that text, flash, music, video, game etc (in fact even just a simple message!) that people want to pass on to their friends. this works in several ways:

  1. We naturally want to share stuff we like with our friends
  2. When a friend recommends something to us we are more likely to like it than something a stranger recommends (we often like a lot of the same music as our friends for example)

So when we create a viral campaign it first and foremost has to be something that we want to pass on to our friends, and they are likely to want to pass it on to their friends and so on.

To do that it does not need to be different!

For example, the viral campaign to beat X Factor for the UK Christmas Number One in favor of Rage Against The Machine. That was a viral message, passed on primarily through facebook. You can guarantee that publicity and promotion teams with Rage Against the machine's label were involved in making that campaign such a success, even though many peoplenot part of the business were involved.

With that they identified a feeling (Anti X Factor dominance) and hijacked it with a Rage Against The Machine track (for example, why that track, someone had to choose it). Very clever. Redirect an existing feeling and identify it with your product. In fact the Kylie video was the same thing in essence... she identified that men like women in stockings (duh) and women like to look sexy for men, ta on to that that men are very likely to share a video with their friends that has Kylie wearing stockings.... you get the drift.

Other musicians have opted for flash games. An interesting area, but many games fail to go successfully viral... because the games actually have to be good!

We as aspiring musicians don't have the following that Kylie has... so Thom i don't suggest you don stockings. We need an angle.

Another common viral is something funny (think of the vids of people crashing their bike into a tree or falling into a river etc that are often forwarded via email)

Then there is shocking, embarassing, informative and lastly, the one that is often exploited in chain letters... emotive. On the last think emails about cancer victims seeking help, or mails encouraging you to send on to people in your address book to ensure your own happiness and well being and it helps others at the same time.

So it seems that almost anything can be viral, it comes down to:

  1. Will the idea be likely to reach a lot of people?
  2. Will people identify with the idea, message or vehicle?
  3. Are people likely to want to send it on to their friends?
  4. Is it an idea or theme that we want to be associated with?
  5. How is our product associated with the viral?

For example:

We have a song about poverty that we want to promote. We look around and identify that people are shocked by poverty, some want to help, some view for purely voyeuristic reasons, some want to fight the cause, and some actually get angry at anti-poverty sentiment... all have a reason to send on an informative video, that uses stills images or moving footage of poverty in action, with facts and figures at the bottom, in the background it plays our track.. possibly at the end it gives credits for the maker of the video and the song that was playing...

Ok so lets look at that idea...

Will it reach a lot of people? Add it to facebook and twitter and it has the possibility to reach a lot of people, especially if we have taken time to build a list of friends!

Will people identify with the idea, message or vehicle? Most likely yes. It can be an emotive subject, and the images can be very emotive, especially combined with music. (Think of all those appeals for famine aid, and if you don't think record labels and publishing houses don't see the business implications you're kidding yourself... lots of free promo... duh)

Will people want to send it on to their friends? This is harder to call. It's a depressing subject, and currently not attached to any particular cause. If you attach it to a cause directly people are more likely to be sympathetic and feel a need to pass it on... for example approaching a famine charity and asking if it is ok to add their web address on to the end.

Is it an idea or theme we want to be associated with? Yet again it is a depressing topic. If you are a pop princess at the beginning of her career, possibly not. but generally any publicity is good publicity and after all it lets a lot of people hear your music and maybe ask... who wrote that fantastic song?

How is our product (the song) associated with the viral? Well being sneaky... it isn't really. What you do is you release a video for the song on YouTube just after you see the viral taking off. Chances are someone will make the association... if they don't then you or one of your promo people start posting "Who wrote that great song?" in message boards... and then posing as another person you reply and give the link to the YouTube vid and to the band's home page. Sneaky huh?

I'm not advocating you do exactly this, just giving an example of how these things can work.

Ok, over to you before I write a book... :)

Cheers

John

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Qite a lot of info there John

This is just a thought but i had someone come on my youtube page and have a pop at us saying

" Comment on your video: Sit Down (cover of the james hit)

F*** me !!

Now I know why you loooooosers didn't want to do cover versions.

That's just bloody terrible.

Don't give up the day jobs.....lol "

Now could i use this to my advantage by posting it to my friends and in turn getting them to post it to their friends to up the count making it more popular ?

Taking advantage of the fact ok it is a poor version of the song but look how much these guys have improved by compairing it to the soul on fire video

Edited by musicthom
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hey Thom

Hmmm.. ok let me work through it a bit. Immediately I'm thinking it's a cover version, so most fans of James will not like it right away. if it's NOT a great version I don't see any great value in drawing attention to that fact, and if it is a great version James fans will probably still not like it!

thinking of some of the stuff in my prevoius post:

Will the idea be likely to reach a lot of people? Possibly

Will people identify with the idea, message or vehicle? Probably not, as it stands ( you want this to be easy for them.... you wont be around to join dots)

Are people likely to want to send it on to their friends? Maybe, but what is their motivation?... if it isn't clear cut I doubt it will take off in any meaningful way unless the song is truly awful

Is it an idea or theme that we want to be associated with? Playing a song badly? probably not, particularly when you have a wealth of good originals... you don't want them overshadowed. The trouble here is the James fans...

How is our product associated with the viral? Possibly, likely even, In a bad light... the product we are pitching here is Soul on Fire... you are not around to connect the dots, you run the risk of people only hearing/seeing the cover and never even playing your song.

With only one post on the subject it is hardly a significant blip. I think it is better to ignore a single post, let your fans defend you (even if you ask a friend behind the scenes to start the ball rolling. Let your fans tackle this, possibly get your fans to point at Soul on fire... if that takes then come back and look at this again...

Better would be to focus on a purely positive campaign... what is the song about? what emotions does it evoke? what is the message of the song? what is the vehicle of the song? etc. Answer these questions and then start looking at the world around you for popular topics you can possibly latch your song onto, possibly even a short vid/flash animation on a related topic that has a lot of interested people and use only the chorus of the song... then you could treat it similarly to the famine example i gave.

look at your fans and think of a viral you could directly pitch at them... sure your fan list may be small just now but, give them something to talk about, something they will be more inclined to pass on to friends...

Like many indie bands, especially online, people can like individual songs etc, they may even like the band, but as you are not a mainstream label band for some reason they refer them on less often (probably the lack of advertising!)...ie, you release a song, and make a post on facebook... only some of your fans watch it, less share it on or comment... unless you have given them something worth talking about... the more you can weigh in on this factor, the more likely they will refer it on.... hence bands doing publicity stunts, a brute force way to get people talking about you!

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Ok not one of my better ideas huh.gif

ok start from scratch. I have a song with a video, i want as many hits as can on it, how do i do this?

I guess i have to get folk talking about this

I have to make it interesting enough that people will pass it on

Maby some self marketing

looking at the video as it is, it really has nothing unique enough to qualify to be honest, i would be tempted to click away from it unless i was into the band

As you say I could make a shorter video with part of the the song as backing maby leading the soul on fire official video .

I remembering watching a video that country singer Dave Caroll made about American Airlines damaging his guitar and he wrote a a song and made a video all about it i just went and checked it and to date it has 7,198,672 views

Looking at this it has a few qualitys that draw folk to watch it

1. Most of us at some point have been harshly dealt with by some company at some time so we feel empathy on the subject

2. the guy wrote a song about it so the little man gets his own back

3. It's a fun song

4. in the comments it leads to more debate on the subject so people come back to check out progress

ok so lets take a look at the song

Firstly the song is all about the " Boy meets girl and falls in love scenario "

Nothing unique there but attatch it to something that is popular or even diffirent it could be an option

attach it to something with that feel good factor it could work

and that is where i am at for the moment

Edited by musicthom
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Hey Thom

Sounds good for a first planned viral. Ok so you pitch the viral primarily at the female market. Valentines day is coming up... so, why not put together a valentines vid, say a slide show, cute young kittens and puppies looking lovingly at each other (use a stock photo site to get access to lots of quality images for free or paid) include some valentines type text, 30 seconds long max. The kind of thing people send as e-valentines cards... that way you leverage something that is happening (Valentines) it is created in a way that it's a personal valentines message "I love you" etc.

Might be better to tone the love you bit down actually... pitch it at friends.. like "Give your friend a hug today". Choosing the right images and a thread of a story for example... That way it could be more open to individuals sending to several on their list rather than just one. You can still attach it to Valentines day with a "share the love", or "On this day spare a big hug for your friends" kind of pitch.

You'll need to pull it together quickly though, but it does seem a good opportunity and an interesting first step into the viral world.

Cheers

John

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Sounds good John i have already done a short slide show i will upload it to my photobucket and put up a link soon

[url=http://s129.photobucket.com/albums/p234/musicthom/?action=view&current=val.flv]( image removed )

Edited by musicthom
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some of the main text at the end goes off screen, is that intentional?

Your slides i think could be better aligned to the song section transitions... aiming to have the full image fade completed on the beat of the change.

Image wise i think you need to look at the chorus and pick up on the words, for example a picture of a sunset in the first line of the chorus "sun never reached the sky..." etc.

I also think it's worth moving away from the direct valentine card message and focused on the fundamental notion that we love several people but are in love with one, and trying to use this as a more general thing... reason? I think has more scope because if you do the slideshow right people could relate to it on valentines, but also friends could do it to send "hugs".

Think of it like being sent a poke or a hug on facebook. In fact expanding that you could maybe make a simple facebook app that send this video as a "hug from a friend".

if it is only done for valentines then the rest of the year it is pretty useless, but make the focus broader you get longevity and broader appeal. That doesn't stop you leveraging valentines day.

If you cant make a small facebook app, maybe someone on the boards can help?

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some of the main text at the end goes off screen, is that intentional?

Your slides i think could be better aligned to the song section transitions... aiming to have the full image fade completed on the beat of the change.

Image wise i think you need to look at the chorus and pick up on the words, for example a picture of a sunset in the first line of the chorus "sun never reached the sky..." etc.

I also think it's worth moving away from the direct valentine card message and focused on the fundamental notion that we love several people but are in love with one, and trying to use this as a more general thing... reason? I think has more scope because if you do the slideshow right people could relate to it on valentines, but also friends could do it to send "hugs".

Think of it like being sent a poke or a hug on facebook. In fact expanding that you could maybe make a simple facebook app that send this video as a "hug from a friend".

if it is only done for valentines then the rest of the year it is pretty useless, but make the focus broader you get longevity and broader appeal. That doesn't stop you leveraging valentines day.

If you cant make a small facebook app, maybe someone on the boards can help?

I see what you are saying there are some minor problems most of the images that are free and royalty free are prytty poor not in quality but in subject but hay that was only a start

rolleyes.gif

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This is my 2nd try do the images work ?

The music (soul on fire ) i had cut and pasted on the clip using movie maker and had the two pieces well put together but after publishing it seems to jump at the joins i may have to consider using Adacity to produce a audio track rather than use the video software to edit the audio ( re did audio )

there is more to this than meets the eye even for a simple 1.5 min slideshow unsure.gif

Thank you for being my friend

Edited by musicthom
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Much better, although I'm not sure about the burning figure. It doesn't exactly help with evoking a warm fuzzy feeling.

What I do notice is that the words and video are now to some extent connected. It's a little bit lost to begin with. Keep working on it and it'll get there. Do you feel it is improving? Everything that is good and worthwhile usually takes effort.

One thought I had was that it would be good if you approached the clips much as you do with a song, you vary the pace, you accentuate key words, you vary the transitions etc.

Perhaps once you are finished you could solicit some support in getting the campaign going on the boards?

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  • 2 weeks later...

bump

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