how to get video views

Case Study: How To Launch A Short Video Series

The following is part of my Case Study series of articles in which I offer specific advice to a Connected Comedy VIP member based on their personal goals. If you’re interested in being the subject of a Case Study article, email me.

Connected Comedy VIP member Justin Matson is a Los Angeles-based comedian who recently started a video web series with his sketch group Casual Mondays and reached out for some advice about how to make it successful.

Here’s how he described it:

“I just launched a daily Vine and Instagram series called Easier Movies and I’m trying to develop a marketing strategy/define my niche.

Every day we post a six-second video on both Vine and Instagram to our @EasierMovies account. We chose those platforms because we felt they worked well with our short, punchy comedic videos that work well as a loop.

We share the videos to our dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as our affiliated accounts (our sketch group’s Facebook page and all of our individual pages). We also embed the videos on our website.”

After checking out Justin’s series, I think he’s got a shot at something that could be very successful on his hands. There’s a lot about it that he’s doing right – they’re creating content that fits the platforms they’re using to distribute it, they have a clear audience who is likely to enjoy it (movie fans, and more specifically fans of the movie featured in each individual episode), and they seem committed to producing a large volume of content (daily new episodes) with a level of production (short videos) that make that kind of schedule feasible and not overly expensive.

But there are still a few things that are worth considering to help take the series – or any video series for that matter – to the next level. So, here’s my advice for Justin…

Set Your Goals

As with any project, the first thing to do is have a clear sense of what you hope to accomplish with it. Think about what you want to happen if you’re successful – what do you hope it leads to?

In your email to me, you referenced several goals including building a “huge Vine/Instagram following,” strengthening the acting of group members and giving them a large follower count that might help attract the attention of casting directors on other projects, and using it as a launching pad for your own personal standup and TV projects down the road.

Those are valid goals, but here’s how I would define the goals of this project if I were you. I’d have three main goals – these incorporate your stated goals and expand on them a bit.

Goal #1: Create a video series that functions as a calling card to the industry.

Note that this isn’t just tied to a large follower count – it includes the idea that this series can be a showcase for your writing/acting/producing abilities. Just because you don’t have a million followers doesn’t mean the work isn’t good, and it doesn’t mean there’s not value in doing something.

It only takes one follower who happens to have the power to give you a TV series or cast you in a project to make something a success. And a million followers doesn’t guarantee that any new opportunities will come from it.

In some ways you can think of this series like writing a spec script – the time you put into it gives you something to show to a wide variety of people in the industry that demonstrates your abilities.

It’s great to get a big following for something, but you shouldn’t deem something a success or failure solely on your follower/view count. Setting your goal in this way helps you avoid getting discouraged and giving up too soon.

Goal #2: Build something that has intellectual property value.

What you create may have value in a variety of ways that extend way beyond the initial videos themselves. You should keep that in mind as you develop it – just because something starts as a web series, doesn’t mean that’s all it can be.

Your goal should be to create something that becomes an asset – it’s almost as if you’re investing in real estate. Having more followers increases the value of that real estate, but it doesn’t define the only value of that real estate.

For example, as you do more of these episodes you might find other opportunities to expand the series in other ways – maybe they become a TV series pitch (or part of a bigger TV series pitch), or greeting cards, or t-shirts, or a book. Your goal should be to develop Easier Movies as a piece of intellectual property that can provide value in a number of ways.

Even if it’s just a video series to begin with (which it should be), just keep in mind that ultimately you’re building something that could become much more.

Goal #3: Build something that can be monetized.

This is a distant third goal, but it’s worth having as a goal nonetheless. While I don’t recommend trying to monetize anything when you’re first getting started, you want to keep in mind you can find success with a project like this without necessarily having somebody come pay you to do something with it.

You’re building an audience you can one day monetize directly in a variety of ways – advertising, sponsored content, merchandise, etc. You don’t need to figure out how now, but you should keep in mind that potentially monetizing what you’re creating is a goal for the future because that may influence some of your strategy as you grow your audience.

Choose One Brand To Build

Once you’ve got your goals in place, I’d take a moment  to think through exactly what brand you’re trying to build with this series. It sounds like you’ve thought about it some, but it may be a little convoluted because you have several different brands you’re trying to help with this project.

The way I see it, there are a few different potential brands in play here – Easier Movies, your Casual Mondays sketch group, and each of the personal brands of people in the group.

It doesn’t matter which you choose, but I’d strongly recommend choosing ONE brand to primarily associate with this series. The others will benefit regardless, but whatever brand you choose to emphasize should be the one your social accounts are titled and should be the hub for all your activities.

Personally, I’d strongly recommend focusing on the Easier Movies brand – it’s the name of the project and the name that most obviously conveys what this series is about. Because of that, it will be the easiest one to build up (no pun intended).

Obviously, you’d still have the Casual Mondays account and your personal accounts sharing and discussing the series and new videos (you don’t need to hide from it), but all promotion should be to reinforce the Easier Movies brand and social accounts.

It’s tough enough to get people to remember one thing (like “Easier Movies”) without confusing them by referencing other stuff in the posts about the videos. For example, “Check out the new Easier Movies video” is simpler than “Check out the new Easier Movies video by Casual Mondays.”

You want to make it as simple as possible for people to understand what they’re looking at, connect with it, and remember it.

It’s tough to build brands and you only make it tougher on yourself when you try to build multiple brands simultaneously. Pick one and emphasize it consistently.

Choose The Right Platforms

You’re off to a good start in terms of platforms – I think it makes sense to post these videos on Vine, Instagram and Facebook because those platforms should be a great fit for the kind of short videos you’re doing.

But I would recommend adding a couple additional platforms.

First, you should set up an Easier Movies YouTube channel (assuming that’s the brand you go with). Even if you don’t post every video to YouTube individually, it will be helpful for you to have a YouTube presence and you can also upload compilation videos featuring several of your episodes.

Even though you’re making very short videos, YouTube is still the place where most people go to watch video and you should be on there. I’d probably upload each episode there because you also can benefit from YouTube’s search results – especially when you’re making videos about movies that lots of other people are searching for on YouTube.

It’s a little extra effort, but it’s worth the time.

The other platform I’d recommend is buying a web domain specifically for Easier Movies and setting up a website for the series. Again, you don’t have to regularly post a ton of content to it (maybe just embed your YouTube playlist?), but it will help you to have a hub with basic information and an overview of what you’re doing.

You need someplace to send people you meet – especially industry and new fans – that makes it easy for them to get an overview of what Easier Movies is all about.

Plus, it gives you another thing that can be found in search engines and makes you look more professional. It also gives you a place to host an Easier Movies email list signup and you can drive people from all your social platforms there to sign up.

Optimize Your Content

Your content is good and you’ve got a clever concept that’s going to appeal to a specific audience. But there’s a couple things you might want to consider to optimize that content a bit.

I’d recommend focusing on specific movies as opposed to the episodes you’ve posted that have more generic themes. The generic themes confuse the concept a bit – they may be entertaining, but when you’re starting out it’s important to convey a consistent message in what your series is about and I think the generic ones skew that a bit.

Also, the movie-specific ones will be much easier to promote (more on that later) because it’s easy to target those specific audiences as opposed to targeting broader movie fans with the generic episodes.

My other recommendation is to consider doing episodes tied to some new movie releases because you know those movies are going to get a lot of attention each week when they’re released. For example, maybe every Friday or every Monday you do an episode based on a movie that just opened. This would be a way for you to tap into all the conversation online about those movies and get some extra attention for your work.

Promote Your Content

While each episode will be different, here’s four specific strategies I’d recommend for promoting your videos.

Hashtags

I see you’re using hashtags in your posts, but you probably could use them a little better. You want to make sure you use the right relevant hashtags to get your stuff seen.

For example, your Jurassic Park episode should have included Jurassic Park-related hashtags, but also more general film hashtags such as #Movies or #Film and comedy-related hashtags like #Funny #Sketch #Comedy or something like that. You can experiment with them, but you want to use hashtags that people are search for when they’re looking for a specific type of content. Even something like #Dinosaurs or #Trailers might have been worth trying.

Meanwhile, on Facebook you want to use @ tags when referencing movies as opposed to hashtags. When you do that, it will show your post to fans of that movie’s page and dramatically increase your targeted reach as opposed to the hashtag which doesn’t do that.

So rather than using #CitizenKane in your post, you should have tagged the @CitizenKane page to reach those fans.

Facebook Ads

I’m a huge fan of Facebook ads and they will work REALLY WELL for a project like this one. Because what you’re doing has such a specific niche for each episode (fans of the movie referenced in the episode), you’ll be able to target just those people and you’ll get a great reaction.

For example, most Jurassic Park fans will enjoy your episode about Jurassic Park so it will be cheap for you to reach them (because Facebook rewards well-targeted content in ads) and you know the people you reach will likely enjoy your videos.

Plus, video is huge on Facebook right now and pops out in people’s feeds. I’d strongly recommend experimenting with some ads and think you’ll be amazed at how successful they are for you. You never know, but I bet you could get targeted views at around 5 cents per view or less.

But the key is to run the ads only targeting fans of the movie in the episode – go specific and narrow, not broad.

Reach Out To Movie Blogs

Another benefit of the specific niche of your content is it should be easy to find blogs who might share your stuff. There’s a ton of movie blogs out there and you should reach out to them and tell them about what you’re doing.

Besides pitching them your content, you could offer to create some episodes specifically for them – maybe they would agree to post a series of episodes as a list where they could get a big content hit and you would get attention and views for the videos.

For example, you could pitch them the idea of creating a series of episodes about Steven Spielberg films that they could compile into a post titled “5 Spielberg Films In 5 Seconds Each” or something like that.

You can also reach out to popular movie podcasts and see if you can get booked as a guest or start interacting with them online. There are lots of possibilities, but you definitely want to start building relationships with the online movie fan community because they can help you reach a bigger audience.

Build Your Community

As you’re introducing more people to your content and growing your audience, you’ll also want to explore ways to turn that audience into a more active community. Again, you’ve got a great opportunity here since your concept lends itself to lots of interesting ways people could participate and it’s based around something that people naturally love to discuss.

For example, here’s a few things you might want to try:

Ask fans to suggest movies for you to feature in episodes.

Let fans create their own versions of Easier Movies which you feature on your site/channel.

Ask fans to send you Easier Movies scripts that you can then bring to life.

Create a contest where some of your Easier Movies crew create two different episodes based on the same movie and let the viewers vote to determine which one is their favorite – you could then build ongoing rivalry storylines around some of these amongst the people making them.

Offer local fans the chance to appear in one of your episodes.

On Twitter or Facebook, create text-based prompts that allow people to play along, similar to what happens with Hashtag Wars. Maybe something like #EasierMovieTitles?

There are tons of ways you can create opportunities for fans to interact with your series and feel a part of it so you should keep that in mind as you move forward and experiment with some of them.

One other note about this kind of community involvement – the added benefit of doing this is that any time you do an episode that a fan has some involvement with, it’s a safe bet that they’ll share it with their friends and spread the word.

More fan involvement equals more exposure for your series.

One More Important (But Slightly Less Fun) Thing To Consider

Whenever you start a project with a group of people, it’s worth having a quick conversation up front about who exactly owns what it is that you’re building.

You don’t need to formally get lawyers involved, but it’s worth talking it through and putting something in writing amongst yourselves, before things start to (hopefully) take off.

No matter how good your relationship is with the people you work with, issues may come up down the road and you never know what’s going to happen as your project gets more successful and more complicated.

Also, if you’re lucky enough to get industry attention and somebody wants to do something with what you’ve created, the first thing they’re going to want to know is who owns Easier Movies and who makes the decisions on its future.

For example, what happens if somebody wants to turn it into a TV series but only wants to use two of the group members on air? Or, what happens if somebody wants to buy the concept but not use any of the group members on air?

I have no idea if you guys have had a conversation about this or not at this point, but my strong recommendation would be that you get on the same page with everybody involved so it’s clear who “owns” Easier Movies and whatever everybody’s participation entitles them to in it.

It may seem like an unnecessary conversation to have at this point, but making sure you’re on the same page when you start something will make it infinitely easier to succeed later on down the road.

And I know this because I’ve seen first hand what can happen when a bunch of talented people start working on a project and then suddenly the whole world gets interested in them – it can get real complicated, real fast.

Good luck with the series – I’ll be watching and can’t wait to see where it goes!

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How To Pitch Your Content To Other Websites

I get asked all the time how best to approach other blogs and websites to get them to feature your newest video, blog post, or podcast episode.

There’s no one size fits all answer to that question, but there are definitely some strategies that can increase the chances other sites will share your stuff with their audiences. Here’s an overview of some things you’ll want to keep in mind and some tactics you can try…

You Have To Make Something Good

This should go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway because it’s really the most important thing. If you don’t create something good in the first place, it doesn’t matter how many strategies you use because nobody is going to share something that’s not good with their audience.

Making something good is a prerequisite – it’s not optional.

Now, assuming you’ve created something good, let’s move on to how you can approach websites to get them to share your stuff…

Go After The Right Audience

The first thing you need to do is identify the right targets. Think about what your content is about and which audiences are most likely to enjoy it, then find sites that cater to those audiences.

For example, if your video is about being a parent, then find popular parenting blogs. Or if your podcast is about life in Chicago, then reach out to local blogs about Chicago.

If you do a funny show about life in Chicago, don’t bother pitching it to a national comedy blog because the majority of their audience isn’t going to care about what’s happening in Chicago.

The more the audience of the websites you target matches the topic of your content, the more likely they will be to share your stuff.

Understand What’s Actually Best For You

It’s easy to get confused about what your actual goal is when you approach a website to share your newest creation. Most people tend to focus on that single piece of content and getting it featured on other sites – but that’s short term thinking.

You’re always better served thinking about the long term. In this case, that means what you really want is to develop a relationship with other sites that can last beyond just the single posting of that single piece of content.

There’s lots of different ways to build relationships and I’ll go into some of them later in this article, but for now just recognize that what ultimately will benefit you most is a relationship with these sites and not just a one-off favor.

Become A Part Of Their Community

Rather than just Googling some sites and blind-emailing them to ask that they share your stuff, you’ll be better served to become a part of their communities first.

Comment on their posts, share their articles on social media, interact with them on Twitter or Facebook – all BEFORE you ever actually pitch them your own content.

Doing this will get them familiar with you and who you are so that when you eventually reach out to them, they will already recognize you as a fan and active member of their community. They’ll be predisposed to think better of you and more likely to help you out.

The other benefit of this is that you wind up learning more about the sites you hope to pitch, you’ll understand their community, what kind of content they share and how best to position what you’ve created to fit their interests.

Offer To Help THEM Instead Of Asking Them To Help YOU

This may seem counterintuitive, but it works – and it’s also helpful for people who are uncomfortable promoting themselves.

Instead of emailing the people who run a website and asking them to share your new content, offer to create some content for them for free. You can let them know you’re a fan of their site and that you’d be willing to write some guest posts or make some videos for them if they’re interested.

Every website struggles to churn out content on a constant basis and many of them will be open to having somebody else contribute content for them (again, as long as it’s good).

And remember, what you’re really after is exposure to their audience – it shouldn’t matter whether the video you make lives on your YouTube channel or theirs, or whether the post you write lives on your website or theirs. As long as you get credit for it and a link where people can learn more about who you are, it’s valuable.

The other thing this does is start to form a relationship for you with the site which goes back to the initial goal of thinking bigger than just exposure for a single piece of content you created.

Offer To Give THEM Attention Instead Of Asking For Attention

Here’s another trick that almost always works. Instead of asking them to write about you and share your content, ask the people that run the website if you can interview them and tell your audience about them and their site.

No matter how small your own audience may be, just about anybody will be flattered that you want to interview them and will likely say yes.

Remember – they want attention for their creations every bit as much as you want attention for yours.

When they agree to be interviewed, this does a couple things. It starts a relationship for you with them that can potentially make them more likely to feature your content on their site down the road. And when you post the interview with them on your website or YouTube channel, they will most likely share a link to it with their audience.

So basically, you’ve managed to get them to drive their audience into your world without even having to ask them to.

The other great thing about this strategy is that you can easily scale it. For example, if you want a bunch of punk music blogs to tell their audiences about you then you could set up a series of Punk Music Blogger interviews and reach out to all those blogs to interview them.

It gives you an easy excuse to reach out and build relationships with all of them, with each then likely linking to your interview with them.

Ask Like A Real Person

Whether you choose to try any of the above strategies or just want to simply reach out and ask a site to share a single thing you’ve created, make sure that you ask like a regular person and not try to be overly formal.

Just email the person that runs the site, tell them you’re a fan of their site (which you should be since you hopefully have been reading it for a while before you reach out), explain who you are, and send them the content you think they (and, more importantly, their audience) will like.

Don’t try to make yourself sound like some kind of comedy superstar, don’t pretend to be a publicist, don’t act like your video is going viral when it isn’t, just be a regular person.

Or at least as close to a regular person as you’re capable of being.

And if they actually post it? Don’t forget to say thanks and share the link on all your social channels.

Good luck!

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5 Things You Can Learn From Vine Star King Bach

With more than 10 million followers, King Bach has become one of the most popular comedians on Vine.

In a recent appearance on The Champs podcast, he talked about how he got started on Vine, what he did before Vine that helped prepare him for success, and even broke down how he makes money from 6-second videos.

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

1. Overnight Success Is A Long Time In The Making

There’s a misconception that when stars emerge on a new platform like Vine that those people became instant sensations. But usually, those people have actually been developing their skills long before those platforms even formed.

At around the 7-minute mark, King Bach reveals that was the case for him. His original plan was “to be the biggest movie star ever created,” so he had gone to film school, experimented with YouTube videos, and put in a lot of time learning how to act and perform comedy.

One specific experience that turned out to be perfect training for his Vine work in retrospect was a college sketch group he was a part of called “30 in 60.” The concept was that they performed 30 sketches in 60 minutes, which basically taught him how to create quick jokes and premises.

2. You Have To Create Your Own Opportunities

At around the 29-minute mark, King Bach explains what led him to start putting content online in the first place – he saw YouTube as a place where he could get seen.

“I did it to show directors, producers, and casting directors that I could act because I couldn’t get any auditions,” he says.

3. Don’t Quit, But Be Willing To Adapt

At around the 49-minute mark, King Bach talks about how he made the transition from YouTube to Vine. He only joined Vine in May of last year, but had been posting videos to YouTube since 2008.

The transition was prompted by a realization – he was getting about 10,000 views max on his YouTube videos and spending as much as $3,000 per video he produced.

But on Vine, he realized he could just shoot the videos with his phone bringing his costs down and increasing the volume he was able to produce.

4. You Can Make A Living From Vine…

At around the 41-minute mark, he breaks down some of the economics of how he’s monetizing his Vine account. He says he’s able to make a good living off Vine primarily by incorporating product placement into his videos.

But he points out that the key is to not make it feel like an ad. “I don’t make it look like an ad – I just put a hashtag on it,” he says.

Since there’s no traditional advertising on Vine, King Bach doesn’t get paid anything for just getting views on his videos, though he is able to collect advertising money from when they get illegally uploaded to YouTube on other people’s channels where ads do run against them.

5. …But It Takes A Big Audience To Do So

At around the 46-minute mark, King Bach shares some of the economics of his Vine videos and reveals that he’s making a lot more than just “a living” from them. He says he’s getting paid between $30,000-$60,000 for each 6-second video that includes a brand or product placement in it.

Those are big numbers, but keep in mind he’s got more than 10 million followers at this point. He says that agencies started contacting him with opportunities once he had 3 million followers, but at this point he mostly deals directly with the brands themselves when it comes to product placement.

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How To Decide Where To Post Your Comedy Videos

You’ve finished producing your latest comedy masterpiece, but now what?

There’s a lot of options out there for uploading your video, but it can be confusing trying to figure out which platforms to use, whether you should upload it to multiple places, and how to give yourself the best shot of capitalizing on all the work you put into it.

To help point you in the right direction, I’ve put together a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of several video platforms to help you figure out where to post your latest creations.

The First Thing You Need To Figure Out…

Before I get into the specifics of each platform, I want to stress that there is ultimately no right or wrong place to post your videos. Each platform has different things to offer and that’s why the first thing you’re going to want to do is figure out exactly what your goal is for the videos you create.

Are you trying to grow a fanbase and build a community around a series of videos you plan to produce? Are you trying to get exposure for yourself with a certain audience? Is it a video that’s designed to be shared? Is it topical or does it more evergreen? Are you trying to reach a general audience or is it more geared toward industry? Are you trying to get somebody to sponsor future videos? Are you hoping to monetize your video?

It’s also worth thinking about what action you want people to take once they see your video, assuming they like it. Is it more important to you that they share it or subscribe to your channel? Or join your email list? Hire you as a writer? Or an actor? Or to do standup?

There will obviously be a lot of overlap and it’s likely that your goals will include several of these things, but it’s worth considering what single goal is most important to you when it comes to the videos you post and use that to guide the decision you make about where to post the video.

Once you have a sense of what you’re trying to accomplish with the videos you create it will be much easier for you to figure out the right platforms to use for it. To help you do that, here’s an overview of the pros and cons of different platforms…

20120525175105!Youtube_logo-Update-Hints

Strengths:

YouTube is by far the biggest video platform in the world and it’s also the second largest search engine of any kind, only behind Google (which owns YouTube and therefore also prominently features YouTube videos in its search results).

This means that without a doubt YouTube allows you to reach the largest possible audience. To be honest, I think it would be pretty foolish not to have your videos on YouTube even if you decide to use other platforms as well. Opting not to have your videos on YouTube is the equivalent of telling Google to pretend that you don’t exist – and that’s obviously not a good idea.

YouTube’s enormous audience also means that you have the opportunity to get discovered on YouTube by new people through search results relating to the things you are doing in your videos. In order to maximize this opportunity you’ll want to pay close attention to titles, descriptions, and tags on your videos – that’s a much bigger conversation, but check out the YouTube creators playbook for a crash course in how to get the most out of YouTube.

In addition to YouTube’s reach, another major advantage of the platform is the sense of community that can develop around channels on the site. YouTube’s subscription tools, comments, and interactivity really lends itself to building (and growing) a fan community on the site.

That’s not easy to do, but it can happen and is crucial to success on the platform. There’s a reason just about every “YouTube star” built their fanbase on the back of serious community interaction – it’s a big part of success on the platform.

It’s also easier to monetize your work on YouTube than any other platform. Ultimately, you will need to generate views to make money, but you can easily do so thanks to YouTube’s ad partner program without ever having to go chase down your own sponsors.

Weaknesses:

In some ways YouTube’s biggest strength can also be its biggest weakness. With so many videos being uploaded to the site constantly, it can be difficult to get attention and easy for your stuff to get lost in the shuffle. There’s a lot of competition for eyeballs on the site and you’ve really got to work to stand out.

You also have to be willing to post content regularly and be patient – it takes time to build a following and it’s unlikely that you’re ever going to get featured by YouTube’s editors until after you’ve gained some traction. That means that often times what you’re doing to promote your YouTube video outside of YouTube can be just as important to driving views as what you’re doing on the site.

Funny_or_Die_logo

Strengths:

Funny or Die is probably the king of the comedy sites at the moment and it’s also deeply connected to the comedy industry. The site may live on the Internet, but it’s become a talent factory for TV shows and films.

Arguably the quickest path from Internet comedy to offline comedy is to get on the radar of the Funny or Die team.

This means that exposure on Funny or Die can create opportunities for you without needing a million views of your video first. The site regularly hires comedy writers and actors for its productions – including a ton on a freelance basis – and is constantly trolling for new talent. So having your videos on their site can increase your chances of getting discovered by them. By contrast, it’s unlikely YouTube is ever going to hire you for anything.

Another strength of Funny or Die is that you know every view you get from the site is coming from somebody who is interested in comedy as opposed to YouTube where the majority of people who may come across your video are probably not even looking for comedy – remember, not all views are created equal.

The niche nature of Funny or Die’s audience should (theoretically) increase your chances of converting each viewer into a fan.

Weaknesses:

The huge majority of Funny or Die’s traffic comes from its celebrity videos and whatever they feature on their home page or share on social media. Unlike YouTube, where people tend to get lost surfing around the site, Funny or Die’s audience is much smaller and doesn’t function in that way.

That means that uploading your videos to the site isn’t really about reaching the public as much as it’s about catching the eyes of the site’s editors and producers. In some ways, it’s like uploading an audition tape more so than uploading a video for an audience.

This is a long way of saying that you’re probably not going to get much traction from what you post there, unless somebody who works at Funny or Die sees it and loves it.

Facebook-Vector-Icon

Strengths:

No matter how frustrated people may get with Facebook, they certainly don’t stop using it. Facebook has tons of users and its social nature makes it incredibly easy for good videos to spread quickly.

It’s also an easier place for people to connect and follow you if they like your video – as great as YouTube’s subscription functionality is, it’s still only a relatively small group of users who actually subscribe to channels. On Facebook, everybody that sees your video is used to the concept of “Liking” pages and connecting with people.

But perhaps the biggest strength of Facebook as a video platform is that it’s the best way to reach people on Facebook. If you share a YouTube video on Facebook, it will not get pushed into many people’s feeds because Facebook doesn’t really want you using the YouTube player – they’d rather have you use their video player. As a result, they “favor” videos uploaded into their own player and show them in more people’s news feeds.

Based on what I’ve seen, the exact same video uploaded into the Facebook player will reach at least five times as many people as that same videos shared in a YouTube player on Facebook. That’s a huge difference in exposure.

And not only do Facebook videos appear in more people’s feeds, but they appear as auto-play videos which really captures people’s attention in their feeds. If you’re a Facebook user, I’m sure you’ve noticed how many more videos are appearing in your feed and I’m sure most of them catch your eye because of the auto-play. That’s something you’ll want to take advantage of and you can only do that if you upload your video to the Facebook player.

Weaknesses:

The Facebook video platform is amazing for Facebook and it’s really powerful, but…it doesn’t really have any reach outside of Facebook. That means that choosing to only use the Facebook video player is the equivalent of ignoring every other platform, website, and social network, which isn’t a great idea.

I’m a big proponent of using the Facebook player for sharing on Facebook, but it really shouldn’t be the only player you use.

vine-logoStrengths:

Vine stars are the new YouTube stars. Ok, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but there actually are some similarities.

Vine has blossomed into its own little universe and has created a bunch of its own stars who are now starting to make big bucks as brands chase their huge followings. Also, comedy plays really well on the platform and since it’s basically built on a social platform (and owned by Twitter) it can be relatively easy for your creations to spread and to grow your following.

It’s also still pretty early in the Vine game – at least as compared to sites like YouTube and Facebook – so there’s slightly less competition for attention than there may be on some other platforms.

Vine’s 6-second format favors comedians whose material and approach works well in short bursts, and it can be easy to capitalize on hashtags and trending memes that surface on the platform constantly. Plus, let’s be honest – it’s a lot easier to get somebody to give you 6 seconds of their time to watch your new creation than it is to get them to give you 6 minutes.

Weaknesses:

You can only do so much in 6-second increments. Also, even though Vine has a large and growing audience, it’s still much smaller than a lot of other platforms. It’s more of a niche play – a great tool for a particular type of content, but it definitely has its limits.

Instagram-logo-4Strengths:

The strengths of Instagram are very similar to those of Vine, but Instagram gives you a little more time to work with as its video time limit is 15 seconds. But, a big advantage of Instagram is that it’s also baked into the regular Instagram app so you can benefit from the booming popularity of Instagram in general.

Even though Vine videos often surface on other platforms, it still has its own app and functions in its own separate universe. Instagram videos are much more integrated into the Instagram photos app which means a larger audience for your content and the opportunity to capitalize on your photos as well as your videos in the same place.

Also, since Instagram is owned by Facebook there is some nice synergy and cross-promotional opportunities there as well.

Weaknesses:

In addition to the 15-second time limit, Instagram videos won’t show up in-line if people share them on Twitter (because Facebook and Twitter aren’t the best of friends and don’t always play nice).

It’s not a huge deal, but if you’re somebody who focuses on Twitter a lot as a platform, it’s worth knowing that Vine videos will show up in-stream more prominently than Instagram videos which will just show up as a link on Twitter.

So…Where Should You Post?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer and it completely depends on your goals and the type of videos you’re producing, here’s what I would recommend you do with your videos in general.

I think you should upload your videos to YouTube no matter what, so that you have a presence there. Even if most of your videos are short Vines, I’d still compile them and upload them there as compilations (or as standalone short videos) to give you a presence on the site.

Then, if you have a Facebook presence, I’d recommend uploading to the Facebook player when you share your videos there because it will be worth the little extra effort it takes to do so.

Beyond that, I think it depends on your own interests, goals, and the time you have available to spend uploading and sharing videos.

But I’d love to hear how you’re  approaching it, so please let me know in the comments on this post. And if there’s another video platform you’d like me to write an overview for and add to this post, let me know that too. Thanks!

How A 15-Year-Old Got 66 Million Video Views And A 50 Cent Cameo

Many of you have probably never heard of Keenan Cahill, but the chances are good that somebody has sent you one of his videos to watch at some point in the past couple years. That’s because Cahill, aka BeenerKeeKee19952 on YouTube, has gotten more than 66 million views of the videos he’s posted on his channel since October 2009.

Cahill is a 15-year-old YouTube star, whose videos primarily consist of him either lip-syncing or actually singing along to popular songs from the webcam in his bedroom in Chicago. He’s gotten so much traction and built such a following for himself that he recently was booked as a guest on Chelsea Lately where he debuted his newest video – a video that happens to include a cameo from none other than 50 Cent.

So how did this kid do it? Well, for starters he actually created something and put it out there – something that so many comedians who claim to be trying to build a career don’t ever seem to actually do. Sure, his videos are simple, but he’s unique and they struck a chord with an audience.

But that’s not the only secret to Cahill’s success. In a recent interview, Cahill explains some of what he’s learned over the course of the past couple years. Here’s an excerpt:

What’s the key to making a viral video?
I would say just be funny with it, something totally unexpected, something nobody else would ever think of. What I do is, I pick a funny song, something that’s popular, and it’s funny for a guy to do a really upbeat girl song.

Here’s another interview with Cahill from a Chicago radio show where he talks a little more about his story:

And finally, for a little more inspiration here’s Keenan performing “Live Your Life”:

5 Tips For Stand Up Comedian Arbel Kodesh

In 5 Free Tips, I provide some advice specifically tailored to one person’s content. If you’d like me to give you 5 Free Tips, please send me an email and tell me a little about yourself.

Today’s free tips are for stand up comedian Arbel Kodesh, who sent me the following email:

Hi Josh,

My name is Arbel Kodesh. I’m a 21 year old stand up comedian currently living in Palo Alto California. I read your “5 Free Tips” and was wondering if you could help me out. I’ve been doing stand up for about a year and enjoy it a lot. I try to take advantage of every opportunity I get to perform but I still don’t feel like that’s enough. I really want to get a lot of people to see my material and what I’m about, and I don’t feel that performing once a week (normally in front of a lot of other comedians) is the way to get a following or get my name out.

Here are some links to some youtube videos of me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fm0ZyBpyQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUbQgc4rzp4&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbStFyATZu8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AssENJ8_OeM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpBC2GPrHWI&feature=related

I also have a facebook fanpage:

http://www.facebook.com/arbelkodesh

If you have any advice please let me know.

I really appreciate it!

-Arbel

I checked out Arbel’s work and came up with the following 5 Free Tips for him:

TIP #1: Pay Attention To Video Titles

If you’re looking to get more views of your videos, one simple thing you can do is title them in a way that will attract some views from people searching YouTube for similar stuff. For example, the videos on your channel are titled things like “Arbel on Celebrities,” and “Arbel on Coca Cola.” But it’s doubtful that anybody’s searching YouTube for “Arbel on…” anything because not many people know you yet.

I’d suggest instead titling the videos to include relevant words that people do search for. For example, your “Arbel on Celebrities” video includes a bit about the singer Pitbull who lots of people search for and those people will be most likely to “get” your joke. So titling your video something like “How Pitbull Records His Songs” might get you some extra views because it will show up as a related video when people are watching other Pitbull videos and the more interesting title might catch their eye and get you some easy clicks.

One more quick note about this. I would still include your name in the title, but you can put it after the headline. So the Pitbull video title would be, “How Pitbull Records His Songs – Arbel Kodesh.” I’d put your name after a hypen at the end of all of your videos because that will help them show up as related.

TIP #2: Start A Blog

You mentioned wanting to get your name out to more people and I’d highly recommend starting a blog of some sort. Whether you’re writing funny stuff on the blog, or even just sharing funny videos or links to interesting things you find, having a blog is a very easy way to give people a reason to start connecting with you. Making videos takes time and effort, but blogging can be much quicker and it starts to give people a reason to check out your site every day. They get in the habit of that, which comes in handy when you do have a new video or show you want to promote.

One more quick note about blogging: In general, I’d recommend posting stuff that will be of value to other people. Having a blog and just promoting your own stuff all the time is rarely compelling to readers so it’s much more effective if you’re sharing stuff that has real entertainment value to them. If you establish yourself as a source for funny or interesting content, people will definitely come back to see more.

TIP #3: Contribute To Other Sites

One of the most common traps I see comics fall into is that the content they create winds up only being seen by the same people that already follow them and as a result they’re never really adding new fans or growing their audience. One of the best ways to break out of this is to contribute to other sites or channels.

Don’t be afraid to do a guest post or video for somebody else and think of it as a way to introduce yourself to a new audience. And of course, the bigger the site, the more new fans you may be able to attract.

TIP #4: Post Things On Facebook That People Will Share

It’s great that you’ve got a Facebook fan page and it’s nice to see you’ve already got some good interaction on it. Just like with blogging, you can grow your Facbeook page by sharing valuable or entertaining content that people are going to want to share with their friends. All too often people think that the only stuff they should post on their Facebook page is their own creations and that’s just not true.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing a hilarious cat video that you’ve found online even if it has nothing specifically to do with you. As long as it’s entertaining, what will happen is your Facebook followers will share it with their friends and when they do those friends will see it as being shared “via Arbel Kodesh” which introduces you to a whole new audience.

Your goal on Facebook should be to post as much “shareable” content as possible, because the more people share what you post, the more people are introduced to your page, and the more people are likely to then follow you themselves.

TIP #5: Subscribe and Comment On Other YouTube Channels

YouTube is definitely a community and if you want to get more people subscribing and commenting on your videos, then you need to make yourself a part of that community. Right now, you’re not subscribed to any YouTube channels and I doubt that you comment on many videos. But think about this: Every time you comment on a video or subscribe to somebody’s channel, a link to your channel gets on their radar. It’s really free promotion for your channel.

In general, you’ll find that the more you become a part of the YouTube community, the more attention that community will pay to your own creations.

I hope this helps Arbel, and if anybody else would like to get 5 Free Tips, please let me know.