This guest post was written by Aditya Mahesh, founder of AMBeat.com, a complete resource for entrepreneurs complete with advice articles, start-up profiles, interviews, news analysis, and more.
It was about eight months ago that I was talking with a friend of mine who had been rapping recreationally for a few years and had built up a small group of local fans for his work. His lyrics and beats were great, but he had never had access to a medium that would allow him to attract a larger audience and build up a serious fan base for his work.
His primary promotional technique was to distribute mixtapes and MP3 files to friends and family and encourage them to share it with everyone they knew. While his content was good enough to get him some traction in the community, this strategy never allowed him to reach an audience beyond a limited geographic area.
It was only once he began to promote his work online that he was able to start to gain traction in the area. The first video we created an uploaded to YouTube, a remix to the hit song “I Love College” by Asher Roth, took off amassing over 450,000 views and leading to requests for concerts, interviews, possible recording deals, and countless messages from new found fans. This is how we did it:
There are hundreds of up and coming songs released by unsigned artists on YouTube every hour. Most of these songs never attract more than a few dozen views. In order to get past this barrier, we had to do something different. A look at the industry showed that “I Love College” was a song that was quickly gaining popularity, but hadn’t quite reached mainstream media. Realizing the opportunity, we created a remix to the song and posted it on YouTube. While there wasn’t a lot of competition that this point, we knew we had to promote the video a little to get it to appear near the top of YouTube search results for “I Love College”.
One of the easiest ways to spread a video at first is to leverage social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Seeing how most of our Facebook friends were college students, it was fairly easy to post links to the video on our friend’s profiles and have them spread around quickly through our personal network. You can also set up a page for yourself on Facebook and invite as many people to join as possible. (Invite all your friends and ask your close friends and family to invite all their friends)
Another very effective method is to find related forums and post links to your video. However, you have to be careful not to spam. Make sure your video is something the audience would be interested in and provide some background information on why people should watch it. Even though you are promoting your content, make it seem natural, not like a sales pitch.
It is important to get as many views as possible in the first 24 hours so that you can get your video on the “Most Viewed Page”. It may be difficult to get it on the main “Most Viewed Page”, but it is much easier to have your video featured on a specific category’s “Most Viewed Page”. This video was featured on the page for the subcategory Rap and Hip Hop under Music.
This allowed YouTube’s system to see that the video was related to “I Love College” and was something viewers were interested in. This allowed us to be ranked #2 in searches for “I Love College” behind the official video. The timing was perfect as it was just as the song began to get major radio play and the video amassed 100,000 views and then 200,000 views very quickly. Yet, YouTube search results are fickle and the video began to drop in ranking and eventually began to disappear and reappear from the first page. When this happened we had to take an alternate approach to keep the video growing.
While growth tapered off, we still amassed over 250,000 more views through our tags which allowed it to appear alongside more popular videos in the “related videos” sections, accepting video responses which placed a link to our video from other uploads, and continuing to comment which kept the discussion going and kept people talking about the video.
One thing we found after the process was that posting the video as a “video response” to a large related video was a good way to attract large quantities of targeted traffic.
To date the video has been viewed over 450,000 times and attracted over 575 comments. It was “favorited” 2000 times and was featured on Maxim.com. One of the things we did with the video was to put our phone number at the end of the video which has attracted hundreds of calls, mostly from new fans, but also from people interested in performing concerts, other artists interested in collaborating, and some possible production deals. Not bad for something which was simply a hobby and a video which was created with just a Macbook.
It was also the largest remix to “I Love College” on YouTube, which is especially remarkable considering remixes with well renowned rappers from Ludacris to Lil Wayne have been created.
While I know most of you may not be rappers, the situation is similar. Chances are you have quality content, but have trouble getting it out there. Video promotion is a great way to attract some publicity. As a few final recommendations, market to those you know through social networking and book marking websites in the first 24 hours to try and get on the “Most Viewed Page”. Always respond to comments and tag the videos so they are featured next to more popular related videos. As a last reminder, take a look at what is currently being talked about, or better yet will soon be talked about, in the industry and create a related video.
You can view the video below: