how to get fans

How To Share And Tag Your Way To More Influential Twitter Followers

Everybody always wants more Twitter followers, but few people actually implement one of the simplest strategies to attract them.

I’ve gained a few new particularly influential followers of my personal Twitter account in the past couple weeks and thought I’d share how that happened. It’s a simple tactic that can be done by anybody and while it doesn’t work 100% of the time, it works often enough to make an impact on your Twitter success.

It’s a ridiculously simple two step process:

Step 1: Every time you come across something interesting, tweet a link to it or reference it in a tweet and recommend it to your followers.

Step 2: Look to see if the person who created it has a Twitter account, and reference their account name in the tweet you post, giving them credit for what they created.

That’s it. I know it seems obvious, but it’s amazing how few people actually do this and it really works.

What winds up happening when you do this is that the person you tagged in the tweet inevitably gets a notification when you’ve mentioned their name and it leads them to check out your tweet and your account.

Because you’ve sent some attention their way, they will likely be appreciative and usually will either favorite your tweet (good for you), reply to your tweet (better for you), retweet it (even better for you), or follow you (the best for you in the long term).

This can be a powerful tool not only because it can attract attention from more people to your tweets, but also because it allows you to target specific influential people who you might want to know that you exist.

For example, if there’s a booker, or journalist, or YouTube star that you want to be aware of you then look for opportunities to share things they’ve created and tag them in the tweets.

Here’s a few examples of tweets I’ve recently posted where I did this and what came of them.

Example 1: Drew Curtis and Fark

After listening to a recent episode of the James Altucher podcast in which he interviewed Fark founder Drew Curtis, I posted the following tweet.

Sure enough, Drew Curtis saw the tweet and retweeted it to his 12,000 followers. On top of that, the Fark account (with 25,000 followers!) also retweeted and favorited the tweet. Fark also followed me, which was great considering they only follow about 700 people at this point and hypothetically have the opportunity to share future things I post with a lot of people.

This reminds me of one more suggestion related to this. As a general rule, you’re better off tagging the individual author of an article as opposed to the publication because that person is more likely to see it than the overall publication.

For example, if you share a Buzzfeed article you’ll want to find the Twitter account of the author of that article instead of (or in addition to) just tagging @Buzzfeed.

Example 2: Gary Vaynerchuk

After reading an interesting blog post from Gary Vaynerchuk, I decided to share a link to it and reference Gary in the tweet. Here’s what I posted:

Sure enough, Gary wound up seeing that I had mentioned him, replied to my tweet and followed me. He’s following about 7,000 people, but I’m still honored to be in the mix and be followed by a guy with over a million followers and one of the leading voices in the world when it comes to digital marketing.

Example 3: Four Bands

I wrote a simple post on my blog highlighting a few songs from newer bands that I had recently discovered and decided to tag the bands when I shared a link to the post on Twitter. Here’s the tweet:

Sure enough, three of the bands favorited the tweet, one retweeted it, and one of them followed me.

The Point Is…

While these three examples are certainly random and they’re not the kind of thing that is suddenly going to catapult your career, the point is that there are really easy opportunities to get people’s attention and start building connections that can directly add value to whatever you’re trying to do.

The next time you come across something interesting in your travels, take a moment to share it on Twitter and take another moment to tag the person who created it in your tweet. Do that consistently and you’ll be surprised at what can happen.

And if you want to try it out, why not go ahead and tweet this article and tag me?

Case Study: How I Got Facebook Fans And Website Traffic For A Comedian

A few weeks ago I put out an offer to members of the Connected Comedians Facebook group – I offered to run some Facebook ads for a comedian to promote something they were working on for free.

All the comedian would have to do is cover the costs of a Facebook ad – as much or as little as they wanted to spend – and I’d lend my expertise for free as long as they were ok with me sharing how I did it and the results with other Connected Comedy readers.

I was happy to see there was lots of interest in my offer, and ultimately I chose to work with Chicago comedian Kyle Scanlan who wanted to promote his humor site The Whiskey Journal. (For those of you I didn’t choose, I’m likely to do this again so you’ll have another chance.)

Kyle had $50 to spend on the Facebook ads and didn’t have a specific goal beyond getting more attention for the site, so I decided to split the budget amongst two goals.

I’d spend half of it on an ad designed to get more fans for his site’s Facebook page, and the other half of it to drive traffic to a specific article on the site.

Here’s a breakdown of how I approached it and what happened (Spoiler Alert: It was VERY successful).

Please note that below I focus on the strategy behind running Facebook ads and not the nuts and bolts of how to technically set them up and run them – you can learn about that here.

Ad #1: How To Get More Facebook Fans

The first ad I set up was designed to get new fans for the Whiskey Journal Facebook page.

It can be challenging to get fans for a Facebook page – especially when it’s for a broad site like the Whiskey Journal, where the topics covered are really all over the place.

It was additionally challenging in this case because the name of the site doesn’t really convey what it is, and in fact can be misleading. If somebody sees a site called The Whiskey Journal in their feed, they don’t immediately think it’s a comedy site – they’re more likely to think it has something to do with liquor.

Regardless, we weren’t about to change the site’s name so I turned my attention to how best to play the hand I was dealt.

In creating a Facebook ad strategy, there’s really two key components to consider – who you’re going to target and what you’re going to target them with.

Step 1: Choosing Who To Target

I noticed that the page already had a couple thousand fans which was a great start and something that could be leveraged in the Facebook ad targeting. Also, even though the site’s content is pretty broad, there was still an underlying niche in that its tone was similar to some really popular news parody sites like The Onion.

I also assumed based on the content and its writers, that men might be more likely to enjoy the site than women so I figured I could focus the ad that way as well.

One other thing I always do when I run ads is have them run only in people’s news feed – by default Facebook runs ads in the news feed AND on the right sidebar of pages. But I personally believe that nobody pays attention to the sidebar and those ads are a waste of money, so I uncheck that box to ensure that my ads only run in the news feed itself.

So based on these thoughts, here’s the targeting I came up with for the ad:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.11.14 PMThis means that the only people who would ever see my ad would be people who I believe are most likely to actually like the page – they would be friends of people who already like the page, they would be men, they would be people who already like or talk about The Onion, and I’d only pay for ads that appeared in their news feed, where’s they’re most likely to notice them.

Step 2: Choosing The Ad Creative

With my targeting in mind, I then thought through what the ad should look like and say.

While you have somewhat limited options, there’s actually a lot you can control including the caption and image that runs with the Page name (which you can’t change when promoting a page).

Keeping my targeting in mind, I wanted to create something with an image that would grab people’s attention (they have to notice your post in order to even have a chance of getting them to like it) and convey something funny, combined with a caption that helped amplify what I thought were the key selling points of my targeting.

Here’s what I came up with:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.10.47 PMYou’ll notice that the image I chose (one which I found on a post on the site) is a joke in itself. My hope was that people would notice it, get a laugh, and that would encourage them to at least check the page out. And maybe some people might even hit the “Like Page” button thinking they were just liking the image – an honest mistake that could also get us some extra new fans.

I always try to keep captions as simple as possible – less is more.

In this case, I knew that most people seeing this ad will never have heard of The Whiskey Journal before, but I knew that because of my targeting they will be people whose friends already like the page. So, I tried to use that to my advantage – providing some social proof (your friend likes it, so it must be decent) as well as inspiring curiosity (don’t you want to know why your friend likes this thing you’ve never heard of?).

The resulting caption line I came up with – “Your friend thinks we’re funny. Like our page to find out why.” – accomplishes both of those things in as simple a way as possible.

The Results

So, how did it work? It wasn’t the most amazing performance I’ve ever had with an ad, but overall I was pretty happy with the results considering the inherent challenges in the title of the page and promoting a page for a website few people were familiar with.

Here’s the breakdown of how it performed:

$24.89 spent

2,442 people reached (this is the number of people who saw it in their news feed)

54 clicks (that represents a 1.7% clickthru rate)

42 Page Likes (this means it generated 42 new fans for the page)

59 cents cost per new fan

So basically, for $25, I got Kyle 42 new Facebook fans. Ultimately, it’s up to you/him to determine whether or not that was worth the spend, but personally I think that’s a solid, if not spectacular, performance.

Speaking of spectacular…let’s move on to the second ad I ran for Kyle.

Ad #2: How To Get More Website Traffic

The second ad I ran was designed to get people to visit the Whiskey Journal website who had never seen it before. Since I only had a $25 budget to work with, I decided to focus my efforts on a single ad leading to a single piece of content on the site.

Kyle didn’t have any specific post he wanted me to promote, so it was up to me to choose whatever I thought would work best. I surfed around the site looking for a post that I thought was not only funny, but would also appeal to a very specific (and targetable) audience.

I came across this article about Derrick Rose that I thought would be a great fit because it not only was funny and likely to appeal to a very specific (and easily targetable) audience, but it even was somewhat topical and controversial. I could see how it might be the kind of thing that people who are frustrated with Rose would want to share and people who are Rose defenders would want to comment on in disagreement.

Remember, there’s value to content that causes a reaction – even if that reaction isn’t necessarily agreement.

Step 1: Choosing Who To Target

After choosing the content I wanted to promote with the ad, I started to think through the audience I wanted to target with it. Since I chose a piece of content that led itself to a somewhat obvious audience, this was easier than determining the targeting for the more generic ad I previously ran for Facebook fans.

As a side note, it should almost always be easier for you to come up with specific targeting for a specific piece of content than it is for an entire website because each piece of content is usually about one specific thing as opposed to a website which may be more all over the map.

In determining who to target, you always want to go as specific as possible – the more specific you get, the better the ad will perform. Also, you want to think about what the content is about as opposed to what you (or your website) are about.

For example, even though Whiskey Journal is a comedy site, this article is about a sports figure – so instead of targeting comedy fans, I’d do better to target sports fans.

This may seem obvious when you think about it, but it’s a huge mistake that most comedians make when running Facebook ads – they think because they’re doing funny stuff that the only people interested in it will be people who are into comedy. You’ll have more success if you focus on the topic of the content, as opposed to comedy in general.

Another place where a lot of people would go wrong with targeting is they might just target people who like sports and be done with it. But again, you want to go as niche as possible and in this case Derrick Rose is a big enough star that I was able to target people who are specifically fans of his.

I even took it a step further by limiting it to men, and limiting it to people who live in Chicago – figuring that those would be hardcore Bulls fans with strong opinions on Derrick Rose.

Again, my goal was to drill down as specifically as possible to increase the chances that the people who saw my ad would be interested in it.

Here’s the targeting I settled on:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.10.15 PM

Step 2: Choosing The Ad Creative

The next step was to figure out what I wanted the ad to look like – again keeping in mind who I was targeting and trying to make it as compelling as possible to that audience to drive clicks.

Typically, people just paste in the link to their article and run the ad with whatever image, headline, and description happens to get auto-pulled from the site. That’s a huge mistake and a missed opportunity.

Each of those elements can (and should) be edited to match the people you’re targeting and the goals.

For example, here’s how the link to this article would show up on Facebook by default:

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 11.21.42 AM

This was ok, but I thought I could do better. Here’s what I created instead:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 2.09.37 PM

I changed the headline to something simpler that teased the article and made people curious to see what Rose had said.

It’s a little clickbait-y, but I’m trying to get clicks so that’s not a bad thing. Also, I wrote a short, simple headline that I thought would appeal to people who are frustrated with Rose (they were more likely to enjoy an article parodying him than people who are his fans).

The original headline also kind of functioned as a joke on its own, where my revised headline played more like the setup, with the joke being delivered on the page itself.

I also swapped out the photo with what I thought was a more compelling image I found on Google images. In general, close-up shots of people’s faces perform better than full body shots and I thought the face Rose is making in this image, when combined with the headline, was more attention grabbing than the more generic image of Rose on the court.

These are minor details, but they can make a difference.

Finally, I changed the description and caption to speak to the reader in a conversational tone as opposed to just auto-pulling the first few words of the article. As you can see, that’s a whole different tone and in my opinion makes it much more compelling.

Also, running it as an ad allowed me to add that “Learn More” button which gives an additional call to action to drive clicks. [FYI, I chose the Learn More button from a few pre-set options Facebook provides, it’s not the best language but it was the closest one that fit in this case.]

The Results

This ad wound up performing as good as any ad I’ve ever created. In fact, I’m not sure it’s even possible to have an ad do any better.

Here’s the breakdown of how it performed:

$26 spent

40,043 people reached

4,379 clicks to the website

13.5% clickthru rate (this is insanely high by the way)

1 cent cost per click

That’s right, this ad drove a targeted audience (Derrick Rose fans) to the Whiskey Journal’s Derrick Rose article at a cost of just a penny per click!

The post also generated 65 Likes and 31 shares from the people who saw the ad.

Now, I should mention that not everybody loved the post and some people found it misleading because they clicked expecting it to be a legitimate news story and not an Onion-style parody.

That led to some negative comments on the post pointing out that it was fake, and some other negative comments from people who didn’t get the joke and were mad at the press for ripping Derrick Rose (which is funny in a whole other way).

You can see all the comments on the post here.

But, there were lots of people who did get the joke and found it hilarious – they commented about that, they shared the post, and in some cases left comments calling other commenters dumb for not getting the joke.

Remember – it’s ok if not everybody likes what you do. In fact, they probably shouldn’t.

The “controversy’ of the post actually helped the post do well – remember, even a negative comment counts as engagement in Facebook’s eyes and therefore increases the chances it will show the post to more people.

The goal was to get noticed and to attract some new readers to The Whiskey Journal and this ad did just that.

If 50% of the people that clicked didn’t like what they saw, that doesn’t matter – what matters is the 50% of the people that did like it.

Any Questions?

Ultimately, every ad campaign is different because every person’s goals are different and so is the content they’re trying to promote. But hopefully, this example has helped you see how I think through what to do when I run Facebook ads and you can apply some of that thinking to your own efforts.

I should also add that this was just a small test with a small budget – in general, I always recommend testing different combinations of ads and the more you test, the more you can learn what works best.

These ads worked really well, but could they have been better with different images? With different headlines? With different targeting? Maybe.

That’s why Facebook ads are an ongoing challenge – no matter how great you do, there’s always that chance you could do better.

If you’ve got any questions about any of this or want some advice about promoting your own stuff with Facebook ads, post a comment below or tweet me.

The Best Audience For An Unknown Comedian To Connect With

I’ve been doing a series of Q&A posts over in the Connected Comedians Facebook group recently where I offer advice to anybody that’s got questions about the marketing or business side of comedy. There’s lots of great stuff in those conversations, but I wanted to share one in particular that I think many of you will find relevant.

Atlanta comedian Jamie Ward asked an interesting question about how to figure out what type of audience had the most potential for him to connect with as a relatively unknown comic.

Here was his specific question followed by my thoughts:

“I’m going to break comedy audiences down in to 3 primary groups:

Comedy nerds: Who know current comedians follow favorites and such.

General comedy audiences: Who somewhat regularly attend clubs but really only remember big names or those from TV or movies.

Casual entertainment audience: Who might attend a club once because there is a deal or they one tickets, they’re open to have a good time, but didn’t necessarily seek out comedy.

So given these three (and if there are things I haven’t thought of I’d be interested) which type of audience is the most potential for an unknown club comic to connect with? I’m not famous, not particularly unique but I do well.

And is there any advice how best to go about maximizing my connection with audiences based on their level of interest in comedy?”

It’s a good question, but I’d probably look at differently.

An audience member’s interest/connection to comedy isn’t as important as their interest/connection to the ideas/topics you discuss in your act. For example, a huge comedy fan who doesn’t have kids is less likely to connect with a comedian whose act revolves around parenting than a casual comedy fan who does have kids.

A person’s connection to comedy is a broad concept, whereas the real opportunities lie in the niches and more narrow topics. You want to figure out ways to identify who in the crowd relates to to subject matter of your comedy and/or find ways to get yourself in front of crowds that have a lot of those people in them.

Another thing I’d say is that if you approach it as how do you get people to be interested in YOU as opposed to just interested in your comedy, that can also help you build a stronger connection to people.

It’s one thing to be funny, it’s another to be interesting.

Funny is the minimum, but the way to really connect with people on a more long-term level is for them to become interested in you. There’s no one way to do that, but if you think about it, most comedians that build large, passionate, fanbases have done so with more than just their ability to make people laugh.

There was a lot of interesting stuff about George Carlin beyond just his jokes – people wanted to hear his take and opinion on things. He made them curious to what he had to say – even if it wasn’t always funny.

Chris Rock is like that as well. He’s funny, and he has a great act, but if he’s being interviewed somewhere, people probably are interested to hear what he has to say because they’re interested in him and his view of the world, not just his comedy.

I’ve said this before, but I think it always helps to think about things from the flipside of your perspective as a comedy creator – take a moment to think about what you respond to as a consumer of comedy.

You see a ton of comedians perform I’m sure – what is it about the ones that resonate with you, the ones that make you want to have a connection with them beyond the first time you see them perform? What is it about the ones that make you want to tell other people about them? What do they do that makes them stand out?

I’m sure you see tons of funny comics that you don’t really feel a need to follow or engage with beyond the moment you see them. But the ones that intrigue you – think about what they have that the others don’t and think about how you can incorporate your version of that into what you do.

One more note about your comment “I’m not particularly unique.” I barely know you and I completely disagree.

First of all, everybody is unique – it’s just that most people don’t understand what’s unique about them or they’re afraid to show it. Most people are wired to try to fit in, which is essentially another way of saying that human nature is designed to hide what’s unique about you.

The trick for a comedian is to do the opposite and share/focus on what’s different about you, not what makes you fit in. I guarantee that every show you do, there’s nobody else on that stage that has similar life experiences to you. You’re completely unique, but if you don’t perceive yourself in that way, how can you expect an audience to?

It’s got to start with you…

READ THIS NEXT: 4 Ways To Get Comedy Club Audiences To Remember Your Name

Embrace That Niche (Connected Comedy Podcast Episode 57)

Please subscribe and rate this podcast on iTunes!

On the “nichiest” episode of the podcast, Jordan Cooper and Josh Spector talk about narrowing the focus of your career towards a target audience, concentrating on that one thing that’s unique and different about you, how consumers have become fragmented and are gravitating to niches over broad media, how advertisers are putting more effort in reaching engaged audiences rather than large ones, and why ‘artisanal’ e-mail newsletters may be the next big wave of building and cultivating a fan base.

In addition, Jordan discusses the strategic plans of his podcast over the past two years, how it shows the power of placing yourself in the position to get opportunities, the importance of putting as much effort into community engagement as you do creating the content, and why setting goals with timeframes can help determine how you’re defining “success” in your comedic endeavors.


Links from this episode:

Blenderhead Podcast #39: Never Go Full Cougar
5by5 Broadcasting
1,000 True Fans – Kevin Kelly
Academy Originals – YouTube
Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days
5 Reasons Comedian Newsletters May Become Bigger Than Comedy Podcasts
Media ReDEFined
NextDraft: The Day’s Most Fascinating News
Tab Dump
Just Another Crowd
The Listserve
Tech Douchebags #14: The Overthinker

Participate with the community in our Connected Comedy Facebook group or post your questions, suggestions or topics to cover in the future on our Facebook page. We always welcome your comments!

How 5 Successful Comedians Used Their Websites Before They Were Famous

It’s easy to admire the comedy empires that people like Chris Hardwick and Aziz Ansari have built with the help of the Internet, but what often gets overlooked is the years worth of work they put into it before hitting it big.

That work doesn’t just involve what happens on stage, but their commitment to building an online presence and using it to put creative content out into the world has also contributed to their success.

With a little help from the Internet Archive, I thought I’d go back in time and show you some of the things that today’s biggest comics were doing years ago – when both their fanbases and the Internet audience as a whole was a fraction of what it is today. It’s a good reminder that success online doesn’t happen overnight and that most comics who have made it were putting in work years before you may have realized it.

Now let’s hop in a comedy time machine and see who was doing what when…

In 2008, Chris Hardwick was posting home theater reviews and joining Twitter.

Shortly after launching his Nerdist blog – and years before he would launch the Nerdist podcast – Chris Hardwick was blogging regularly on his site about all sorts of stuff that had nothing specifically to do with his standup act. He was regularly posting reviews of technology gadgets such as this home theater system review.

He also joined Twitter (as explained in this blog post) because he thought it was “just too damned adorable to ignore any more” and promised to give people “blog updates and who knows what kind of other tweets.” Little did he know the TV series and hashtag wars that it would lead to.

In 2005, Aziz Ansari was making short videos and uploading them in Quicktime to his site.

Aziz didn’t bother waiting around for YouTube to be invented to start posting videos online. As you can see here, he was making short comedy videos about how Wal-Mart put his Dad out of business and uploading them to his site as Quicktime files way back in 2005.

Another fun bit of back-in-the-day Aziz is a look at the bio that was on his website back then. As you’ll see, it’s honest and he didn’t try to make himself seem more successful than he was at the time – something that way too many comics today try to do. He even mocks the fact that he’s writing about himself in the third person, as opposed to pretending somebody else wrote it for him.

In 2002, Gabriel Iglesias was remixing articles for the 5,000 people that visited his website.

A look back at Gabriel’s site from 12 years ago reveals a fun little bit – a public stat counter that shows 5,018 people had visited his site up to that point in total. But that small audience didn’t stop him from still taking the time to occasionally post some content on the site.

For example, he posted this article from the El Paso Times with his own commentary about it incorporated into it.

In 2001, Doug Stanhope was trolling newsgroups and posting road stories.

Stanhope has done an incredible job building a fanbase outside of the traditional comedy club system, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that even 11 years ago he was already using his website to share content with fans and give them a chance to interact with him. For example, you can look back and see a collection of his road stories, or a bunch of examples of him trolling early Internet newsgroups.

In 2001, Louis CK was posting “bad jokes” on his site and trying to figure out his own name.

Louis CK may be the king of standup comedy at the moment, but 11 years ago he was quick to point out on his website that he was a “fellow who does a number of things.” In addition to details about his standup career, his site also featured uploaded videos of the short films he had made, cartoons he had made, and even a Bad Jokes page featuring bad jokes he had written.

Back then Louis wasn’t even quite sure what name he was using for his comedy. As he explained, “You may have noticed that I am refered to on this site sometimes as Louis, and other times as Louie. That is because I am stupid and have not figured out which one I am called yet.”

Why You Should Care About Any Of This…

Besides the fact that looking back at some old websites is a fun bit of nostalgia, I think it’s worth recognizing a couple things that all of these successful comics had in common. First, they had a website – in some cases years before other comics bothered to create one. But on top of that, each of these guys were putting some content on their sites – they were using them as a way to attract and engage fans.

These guys were also pretty open and honest about where they were in their career and who they were – they weren’t trying to pretend they were more successful than they were. They were transparent.

A lot has changed in the years since these guys launched their sites, but the underlying things that they embraced can benefit you just as much today as they did them years ago.

READ THIS NEXT: Why The Most Important Things You Can Learn From Louis CK Have Nothing To Do With His Act

5 Things You Can Learn From Gabriel Iglesias

Gabriel Iglesias recently appeared on an episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast where he discussed the evolution of his career and how he’s grown into one of the biggest headliners in the country.

But most importantly for up and coming comics, he explained how he approaches marketing and branding himself in a way that has helped separate him from the rest of the crowd.

You can listen to the full episode here, or read up on some of the highlights below.

1. Be Easy To Remember – And Consistent

At around the 17-minute mark, Iglesias explains that he embraced the nickname “Fluffy” early on because he realized that nobody that saw him was remembering his name. So, he decided to incorporate the nickname Fluffy into his act and into everything he did from a marketing perspective, recognizing that it was more memorable than his name. “It branded me,” he says.

Iglesias’ branding didn’t stop with his nickname. Early on he also made a conscious decision to maintain a consistent look – in his case it involved shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. He explains that it’s tough enough for people to remember specific comics in general, but comics who constantly change their look only make it harder on themselves.

2. If You’re Likeable, Be Likeable

At around the 40-minute mark, Iglesias shares what he calls the best piece of advice he’s ever received. While early on some of his material included profanity, he was advised to take the profanity out of his act because it was interfering with his biggest strength – he was a very likeable guy on stage.

He embraced that likeability factor and even though he has nothing against profanity, removed it from his act and concentrated on ensuring that everything he did played off of the likeability of his persona.

3. You Can Learn A Lot From A “Day Job”

When it comes to marketing and branding, Iglesias clearly knew more than the average comic when he started out- that’s because of his day job.

Around the 46-minute mark, he talks about how early in his career he worked at a Robinsons-May department store. While it may not have been his ideal job, he saw an opportunity to learn things that could help his comedy career. He didn’t work in the marketing department, but he befriended some guys who did and says he learned a ton from them about how to market and brand products.

He then took what he was learning and applied it to his comedy career.

4. Be Willing To Step Backwards To Move Forward

At around the 51-minute mark, Iglesias reveals that a couple years into his career he came to a bit of a crossroads – he had built a strong following among Latino audiences and in certain parts of the country, but was a virtual unknown elsewhere. He could have gone on to have a successful career just focusing on the audience he had, but instead decided that he wanted to push to reach a broader audience.

In order to do that, he had to be willing to abandon the theaters he had been playing and go back to playing smaller venues in front of tiny crowds who didn’t know who he was. And even worse, he discovered that much of the material he had developed didn’t play well with more mainstream crowds so he essentially had to reconstruct his entire act for those crowds.

But ultimately, that decision and his willingness to essentially start over in a mainstream world is what allowed him to improve and reach the level of success he’s at today.

5. You Can Learn From Wrestling

At around the 59-minute mark, Iglesias mentions that some of the most important things he’s learned about showmanship, marketing, and especially merchandising, he actually learned from pro wrestling. He explains that he studies wrestling and recognized how they merchandise their acts as well as how they add rock show elements to their matches.

And just like he did with the Robinsons-May marketing guys, he has adapted what he’s learned into his own comedy career.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things You Can Learn From Adam Carolla

Would You Rather Be The Comedy Store or The Improv?

NOTE: This article was written in 2011. A lot has changed since then, but the underlying principles remain true.

When people ask me how they should “do” social media, I usually tell them to think about the people they follow on social media and why they follow them. It can be especially helpful to look at two people or companies with similar goals and see how each of them try to accomplish those goals using social media. Inevitably, you can learn as much from somebody who’s doing a great job with social media as you can learn from somebody that’s not.

To illustrate my point, I thought I’d share with you a look at how two Los Angeles comedy clubs – The Comedy Store and The Hollywood Improv – are using Twitter at the moment. They both have the same basic goal of getting people to come to their clubs and see shows, but as you’ll see their approach to Twitter is completely different.

Here’s a look at the last 10 tweets from The Improv:

And here’s a look at the last 10 tweets from The Comedy Store:

Which one would you rather follow?

I’m guessing the choice is pretty clearly The Comedy Store (sorry, Improv – I still love you too). Here’s a few reasons why:

The Comedy Store tweets about more than just itself. Five out of the 10 Comedy Store tweets are actually retweets of other people and comics’ tweets. Even if they’re about the Comedy Store, there’s a feeling of a community and that they’re not just talking at you, they’re talking with you. By comparison, none of the Improv’s tweets were from anybody but themselves.

The Comedy Store gives me something, the Improv just asks me for something. Two of the Comedy Store’s tweets are links to things I may find interesting that have nothing to do with their shows. They’re giving me “content” that I might like and I’m getting something out of following them besides just show updates and requests for me to buy tickets. On the flipside, every single Improv tweet is about one of their shows and asking me to go to them.

The Comedy Store keeps it fresh, The Improv says the same thing over and over again. If you look at the Improv’s tweets, you’ll notice that in their last 10 tweets four of them are the exact same. And three more of them are also the same. That means that basically 50% of their last 10 tweets are just repeats of things they’ve already told me. Not only is that boring, it’s probably pretty annoying.

So why should you care?

Even if you don’t run a comedy club, you can probably look at the differences between how these two clubs are using Twitter and think about what you’re doing with your own tweets. Do you tweet more like The Comedy Store or The Improv? And which would you rather be? Just something to think about next time you’re crafting your 140 character bits of hilarity…

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6 Lessons You Can Learn From The Success Of “Jackass”

The latest Jackass movie crossed the $100 million mark at the box office last weekend as it continues the remarkable success streak for the franchise. But the reasons Jackass has become such a phenomenon goes beyond people’s fascination with guys tasering each other. Here’s a look at 6 Lessons You Can Learn From The Success Of Jackass that will help you create and market your own comedy creations.

You Don’t Need A Big Budget

The most common excuse I hear for why somebody’s content doesn’t work is because they don’t have enough money to make it work. While there’s truth to that excuse some times, it’s usually just a cop out.

The Jackass crew produces its movies on a miniscule budget compared to a typical feature film and it has absolutely no impact on the entertainment value of the final product. This is even more true online, where typically the videos that go “viral,” have little or no budget at all behind them. In fact, I’d even argue that in most cases online, the bigger the budget the less likely the video is to succeed.

There’s Strength In Numbers

One of the keys to the success of Jackass is that it revolves around a crew of guys doing the stunts and not just one individual. The competition between the guys drives them to do bigger and better stuff than they would on their own. Second, it allows the audience to connect with different members of the Jackass crew and accentuates their individual characteristics (i.e., Johnny Knoxville’s the ringleader, Bam Margera’s the one who messes with his parents, Steve-O is now the sober one, etc.). Third, having a group also creates natural marketing advantages because it allows more people to market to more audiences and bring their own niche followings into the fold.

From a comedy standpoint, I rarely ever see comedians take advantage of the strength in numbers – though I have noticed that many of the biggest stars on YouTube informally collaborate and work to grow each other’s followings. Even forming a loose coalition, can pay big dividends for comedians who are trying to break into the business.

What You Stand For Is As Important As What You Produce

The Jackass guys make some really funny movies, but that’s not what really drives the connection between them and their fans. That connection and loyalty comes from the ideology behind their brand. People aren’t just entertained by the Jackass world, they passionately connect with what it stands for – a balls-out, no fear, approach to life. There’s lots of videos of people hurting themselves out there, but there’s only one Jackass and that’s mainly because Jackass stands for more than just entertainment to its fans.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

People like things that are simple to understand and they like to share and  talk about things that are simple to explain. Jackass is both of these things. You don’t need a college degree to “get” a Jackass movie and you also don’t need to have seen anything else the Jackass guys have done to appreciate their latest masterpiece. These are two things that are completely opposite of what I see lots of creators doing when they roll out episode 14 of their obscure Napoleanic political satire series on YouTube.

Get More Bang For Your Buck

It’s always smart to develop multiple ways to monetize your content and Jackass do this on a large scale by essentially shooting enough bonus footage to release a straight-to-DVD sequel to their latest big screen productions. After Jackass 2, they followed it up with Jackass 2.5, a straight-to-DVD release that included enough new footage to stand on its own, even though it was all shot using the same budget they used to shoot the feature film. They’re planning to do the same thing with an upcoming Jackass 3.5 DVD release.

This is smart business and something I’d encourage you to consider on a smaller scale in your own projects. If you’re shooting a sketch video, what else can you get out of that? Maybe you can sell a song that you play in the video? Maybe you can shoot a funny “Making of” video and get two videos out of your one production?

Show People You’re Having Fun

It seems obvious, but if you’re creating comedy it should be fun. And that fun can be contagious because audiences want to connect with people who look like they’re having fun. The Jackass guys always look like they’re having the times of their lives and that’s why just about everybody that watches their work has that moment when they feel like they wish they were a part of the crew because they make it look like so much fun. Even though you know it would be torture, they make it look so fun that you want to be a part of it…by paying to go see the movie from the safety of the theater.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Questions You Should Consider Before Doing Anything Online.

The Story Behind “Stuff White People Like”

As most of you are probably aware at this point, a little blog about Stuff White People Like exploded across the Internet a couple years ago and rode a wave of success all the way to 73+ million web visitors and a book deal. What you probably don’t know, is how exactly that happened.

The blog’s author, Christian Lander, tries to explain the phenomenon in this presentation he gave back in 2008 at the offices of Google. Don’t be scared off by the 48-minute run time of this video – Christian’s speech only lasts about the first 20 minutes and he’s as entertaining as you might expect.