This post is part of User Generated Tuesdays. If you want to be read by 1,000 new friends please go here. This is written by Andy Ratto who is starting a national holiday for college students called College Day.
Although this post is directed at people producing content for television, the message applies to everyone, from the mightiest CEO to the lowliest blogger. Some background: in an effort to figure out if it was worth it to attempt to make money with Adsense, I set up a simple blog where I could post funny videos from YouTube to see if people would a) visit the blog and b) click on the ads.
Whenever I saw an extra hilarious commercial on TV that I thought would work well on the blog, I would hop on YouTube and see if I could find it. Oftentimes I couldn’t. There are very few commercials on YouTube. Sometimes I could find the commercial on the company’s own website, but without the ability to embed it in my blog. A message to the people who are hiring ad agencies to promote your products: if your commercials aren’t on YouTube, fire that publicity company. Then, you can hire me for a day, and I’ll do nothing but yell at you for 8 hours about how important word of mouth advertising is. Then you can fire me, and hire a great marketing person who understands that and will make sure that all of your commercials are on YouTube. If you make good commercials, people will want to share them with their friends. Let them do this.
One example: Jack Link’s Beef Jerky made a series of hilarious commercials about a sasquatch being pranked by some hikers. They are great commercials, and people love them. Then, they went and stuck those commercials in a horrific flash website with obnoxious navigation, no permalinks, and a stupid animated introduction. If you like the commercials, there is no option to embed them on your site. If Jack Links Beef Jerky was attempting to get people to watch their commercials, I could not think of a worse way to go about it. Luckily, people put copies of the commercials on YouTube so that an intrepid young blogger could createa simple blog post so that the four commercials can easily be watched by anoyne who is interested. What do you know, people would rather link to the convenient blog post instead of Jack Link’s absurd website.
The lesson to entrepreneurs is simple: in almost every case, anything you do that impedes word of mouth advertising will directly harm hour business, and everything you do to facilitate it will benefit you. Mint beat Wasabe because it had great word of mouth and made it easier for people to share. Nothing is more powerful than word of mouth advertising. Now, us bloggers might not be selling a tangible product, but we are “selling” something, whether it is personality or knowledge or wisdom or credibility. If you want to succeed, give your readers the freedom and ability to promote you. Make it easy for them to favorite your stuff, tell their friends, and share your content as much as you can, and it will help your blog.
P.S. And I’ll end with a mini-rant: I took the time to watch one of the commercials on Jack Link’s website to see how bad the experience was, and after the video was finished a link popped up to tell a friend about the commercial. I clicked it, and it promptly crashed my browser, deleting the first version of this post. And this is what the e-mail that their website generated said, “you gotta check this out http://www.messinwithsasquatch.com.” I wanted to show my friends some funny commercial, not their stupid website, and they made that as difficult as possible. If they had done it right they could have funneled me (and a bunch of my friends) into their funnel marketing plan. Instead it just crashed.
P.P.S. I wrote this post back in 2006, but if you look now (as of June 2013) you’ll notice that Jacklink has put up their videos on YouTube and has made it very easy to share on their site.