You’ve made your video and it’s finally up — but now you need the votes.
Getting them may not be as hard as you think. The key is using existing social networks and encouraging others to pass your video along. It’s called viral marketing and companies are increasing using it for all types of promotions. You can use the same concepts to help you win video contests — and get a crash course in online marketing at the same time.
Adrianna Bayer, the first Why I Deserve a Scholarship video contest winner said the key to her success was getting over her shyness and spreading the word about her video in every way she could. Bayer, a grad student at Humboldt State University, came from behind in a matter of weeks to win the contest.
“I asked my family and friends from all over the country to vote and to tell everyone they know… some distributed messages to hundreds of their coworkers,” Bayer said. “I posted bulletins on MySpace, journals, my online book clubs and I got on two radio stations.”
What’s most important is making sure as many people view your video as possible — and distributing it via several mediums. Here are a few tips you can use to make sure your video gets the most exposure.
Embed the video on your existing social networking pages like Myspace, Facebook or Friendster. Most video hosting sites and contests will provide you with an embed code that will easily allow you to post your video on other sites and link back to the original posting.
Once the video is embedded, post bulletins, send messages and write emails to friends and family encouraging them to check out your video and vote. Tell them to forward the messages on to others in their social and professional networks. Remember to clearly explain where to go and how to cast a vote. If voters can cast ballots frequently, send out reminder emails encouraging them to continue to vote for you regularly.
Post your video to other video hosting sites where strangers can view your video by searching for related topics. For example, post your video to YouTube, make the video accessible to everyone and explain how to vote.
Use local media outlets to get the word out like calling your local radio station or newspaper and getting them to feature you.
Use social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, digg and StumbleUpon to link web surfers back to your video. Social bookmarking allows users to save links to web pages to share with groups or the public. For example, if your local paper runs an article about you, bookmark that page with a link to the article and your video entry. Other members searching the site will come across it and be led back to your video to vote.
Use traditional methods such as your church, school list serves, bulletins boards, professional groups and anything else you can think of.
Cast a wide net by distributing your video through as many sources as possible, getting friends and family to use their networks to promote your video and encouraging voters to participate in voting as often as possible.
The key to a winning a video contest is encouraging people to circulate your video voluntarily. Following these steps will help you get started— having a great video will keep the ball rolling.
By Lauren Bayne Anderson