In a guest post on TechCrunch, Stanford grad student Dan Ackerman Greenberg offered a fascinating expose of techniques for promoting videos on YouTube. Some are obvious, some are clever and some are downright sleazy.
- Make it short.
- Design for remixing, e.g. Dramatic Hamster.
- Don't make it an outright ad unless it;s as clever as the one for Sony Bravia.
- Make it shocking.
- Use fake headlines.
- Appeal to sex.
- Share the video with your friends on Facebook.
- Set up a Facebook event to promote your video.
- Send the video to a mailing list.
- Tell all your friends and get them to email and share it on Facebook.
- Pick a catchy thumbnail, preferably with a human face in it.
- Make sure the frame in the exact middle of the video is eye-catching, since it will be one of the three grabbed by YouTube.
- Change the thumbnail every few hours.
- If you have more than one video, release all of them simultaneously instead of dribbling them out one at a time.
- Pick unique tags for al you videos so they will show up in each other's "related" lists.
- Pay bloggers to post embedded videos.
- Have your own employees to set up multiple accounts on a forum and start fake conversations with each other.
- Delete negative comments that others make.
- Embed videos in the comments section of people's MySpace pages
- Use a misleading title, with terms such as “exclusive,” “behind the scenes,” and “leaked video.”
- Use an image of a half-naked woman in the thumbnail.
- Once the 48 hour window for "most viewed" expires, delete the video and reload it.
The original post provoked an uproar from people shocked that such things went on (515 comments last time I looked). Greenburg, in apparent ignorance of the First Law on Holes (When in one, stop digging) tried to "clarify" his intentions to say that he didn't personally engage in or endorse the tactics he described. I'll leave that to the investigative journalists to discover, but he did do all of us a favor by providing such an extensive catalog of techniques, some of which we can use and all of which we should be aware.