6 Ways to Promote Your Non-Viral Video

By Georgia Daubert

As March comes to an end, and we wrap up our month of video posts (be sure to check out my predecessors with parts one, two, and three), we conclude with some tips on video promotion. If your business is trying to decide whether or not investing some time and money into a video strategy is worth it, let me answer that with one word: “absolutely!” Video is a growing trend in the SEO world right now, providing a great way to get unique content out there that can really appeal to the masses. As Tom Critchlow of Distilled says: “If by the end of 2012, you’re not doing video, you’ll be behind the curve.” And we wouldn’t want that now, would we?

So, you have already come up with a fantastic content strategy for your video; optimized it using the most relevant keywords, descriptions, and tags; allowed commenting and sharing (if you’re using WordPress, we recommend checking out the plugins Digg Digg and Shareaholic); made embedding your video a breeze, (check out these tips from Paddy Moogan and Geoff at Distilled); and then posted it to both your business’s website and your personal Youtube channel. Now you can just sit back, relax, and watch it go viral, right? Wrong! What comes next is promoting your video, and lucky for you, this isn’t a terribly complicated process.

Making your video go viral is not something that happens overnight and, in fact, it is not even a realistic goal that you should strive for. Instead, you should focus on building an engaged conversation around your video and making sure that the people who will actually benefit from your video have the opportunity to see it first. This is usually a slow process that takes patience and nurturing, but when done the right way, it will yield successful results for you and your business. Following are six tips for promoting your non-viral video.

1. Take Advantage of Your Social Networks

What are friends for, right? Use your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest to shamelessly promote yourself a bit. Starting with people who are already familiar with you and your business is always the best bet, because they are the most likely to help you spread the word. Also share your videos on any social bookmarking sites that you are a member of as well, like StumbleUpon. Ask your friends, fans, and contacts to share your video with their networks, and do the same for them when they share their links with you (when it is appropriate to do so). Sharing the love will help to make people more likely to share your content in the future. When promoting your video, make sure you never take a spammy approach. Of course you should post it to your own wall, but do not start posting your video to all of your friends’ and fans’ walls or tagging everyone you know in it. This will just annoy people and probably result in you losing a fan or two. Taking a more subtle approach will gain you more valuable links, shares, and views in the long run.

Image: Living With L.A.W’s

2. Build Your Video Sharing Networks Up

What good is posting your video to YouTube or Vimeo if you don’t have any friends or contacts in your networks? Building up a video site network takes a little bit more time and attention than Facebook, but it is definitely worth it. For example, if you run a fashion line, take some time to peruse the other fashion videos that are similar to yours and add the creators of those videos to your contacts. Comment on their videos, compliment their work and start building relationships with these people. After discovering video “mavens,” use your sleuthing skills to check out the rest of their online presence. If a website isn’t listed on their YouTube profile, search their YouTube username in KnowEm, and start connecting with them on other networks like Twitter and Facebook. Again, don’t get spammy! Do not immediately start promoting yourself and your video upon your first contact with these people. Be patient and let them get to know you first. You will discover that these creators will start watching your videos, commenting, liking, and sharing with their own networks as well. This will not only help boost your views, but it will also inevitably lead to creative inspiration and valuable relationships within the online video community.

Additionally, consider adding your video to other posted video sites that are similar to Vimeo and YouTube. ReelSEO compiled this list of video sharing websites that you can use when trying to decide where to post your video. Other great video hosting sites to consider are:

In addition to posting your video on these hosting sites, you should also submit it to video directories like:

3. “Piggyback” on Another Popular Video’s Success

A great feature on Youtube is the ability to promote your video through video responses. Find a video about a topic that is similar to yours with a large number of views and user engagement. Then, post your own video in the comment field. Your video will now appear directly below the popular video clip, and viewers visiting this clip might be inclined to click on yours as well. Make sure your video can actually shed some light on, or expand upon, the video you are responding to. Say for example, you have a video about African refugee camps and you posted it as a response to the recently viral KONY 2012 video (before the very public mental breakdown of Invisible Children co-founder, Jason Russell, of course!), your video response could have had the potential of being seen by millions. It is also important to point out that a video with millions of views will also encourage a high volume of comments, meaning your video comment will only stay towards the top for a short while, so post it strategically. Maybe it makes more sense to target an industry video with a couple hundred views and 15 thoughtful comments. Remember, it’s important to add value to the video conversation; proceed with caution!

4. Conduct Outreach to Bloggers

Search for bloggers that cover the sorts of topics you’re already making videos about, and start reaching out to them. Next month is all about link building and outreach on the Thunder blog, but for now, let’s walk through an example with our fashion line.

Perhaps all of your videos are about fashion tutorials, so you should contact fashion bloggers to let them know about your videos. You may end up sending over 100 emails and only hear back from a few, but if you are lucky, these few could end up writing a post about your business and embed some of your videos on their blog.

A really great tool we use for managing our email outreach is Tout. With Tout, you are able to see what happens to your outreach emails after you send them. You can track views, clicks and engagement, giving you a better idea of which emails are working and which recipients are worth following up with. However, make sure you personalize your emails. Bloggers can tell when you have just copy and pasted a form email, but if you seem to know something personal about them or the topics they cover on their blog, they will be more inclined to respond to you. This requires more research and time, but again, it will yield more successful results for your video promotion.

Below is an example of an optimized tout template. The first arrow points to the importance of having a great subject line. This is where your recipient will decide to open your email or not. Mention your company by name and tell them exactly why you are contacting them. In this case it is: “Local Fashion Design Company XXX Releases Line of Fashion Tutorial Videos”, which is short and to the point. The second arrow is your reminder to address your recipient by name. Do not forget to fill this part of your template out! If you do forget (it’s ok, it does happen to even the best of us), then be sure to write them back with a genuine and human response. This way, they know that you are not a computer sending out mass, automatically-generated spam. The third arrow speaks to personalization. Make sure to add in something specific about that awesome DIY project or makeup tutorial you saw on their blog last week! The fourth arrow is your reminder to include the link to your site where they can find your videos. Do not make your recipient do any work to find your videos; you should do all the heavy lifting for them.

5. Share Your Video Within Communities that Will Care

Just as you targeted fashion bloggers in your outreach emails, you should target fashion communities, groups, and forums to share your fashion tutorial videos with as well. Look for Facebook pages dedicated to fashion, and share a link to your videos when appropriate. Join the conversation and become a participating member in the community.

Finding the right people on Twitter is not quite as simple as on Facebook. We use Follower Wonk to search Twitter profiles and find people who may be interested in what we are promoting. This specialized Twitter search tool allows you to search based on any profile data and then sort those profiles based on their relevance, number of followers, and tweets.

So, let’s try the fashion example on Follower Wonk and search Twitter bios for the word “Fashion”. We can take it a step further using the vertical bar or pipe, which looks like this: | and represents an “OR” statement. Below you will see we searched: “fashion | couture blogger | writer | blog | editor”, which reads “fashion OR couture blogger OR writer OR blog OR editor”. We chose to limit our search to only profiles in the Los Angeles area by using the advanced search option. The user’s url for their personal blog or website is also provided, giving you the opportunity to research them a bit further.

6. Call Your Fans to Action

One of most overlooked (and easiest) ways to encourage people to share your videos is to simply ask. Whether you’re asking for likes, retweets, or shares, you’ll be surprised at how far a simple “please” and “thank you” will go. It never hurts to give your fans a little “extra nudge” to help inspire them to share your videos either.

Image: SodaHead

Giving them an incentive to share is important. Run a small contest with a prize (a free product, purchase discount, etc.), define the parameters of your campaign (the 25th person to share/like/retweet wins a gift card to your store), and select which social network you want to run it on. To get the most exposure, try running one on both Facebook and Twitter, with similar prizes. Unfortunately, I do have to point out that this kind of promotion violates Facebook’s terms of service if you’re not using an app, so check out these more complex sharing promotion apps: Offerpop, Wildfire, and Woobox. However, there are no restrictions to doing so on Twitter, Google+, and even Pinterest.

Although these tips are not guaranteed to make your video the next viral phenomenon, they will help you to promote your video, and have it be seen by the most influential people in your networks first, giving you a head start on those 85 million views.

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  • These are really helpful steps for getting the word out for a video, blog or any content. I like how you’ve broken it down, starting with social networks, then specific video hosting channels, then steps for outreach. Thanks too for listing (and linking to) the tools you use. Great post!

    • Thanks, Max! I really enjoyed writing this post! Now we just need an awesome video to start promoting!

  • Thank you for the helpful info. Very informative….

    • Thanks, Myke, for taking the time to read my post! I’m glad you found it helpful.

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