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Creating Viral Content – How a little passion project turned into 340,000 video views, 5,900 shares, 2000 comments, and 2000 followers in two weeks.

By | Films and Movies, Ideas, Social Media marketing, Video Production | No Comments



Backstory

So a couple of weeks back, I decided to do a little experiment and something that I had always wanted to do. I wanted to see if low resolution short films shot on mobile phones can go ‘viral’ if the right content is created for the right target audience using the right social media marketing strategies.

I guess the reason for wanting to do this small passion project stemmed from my desire to just create. Too many times, we have to wait for the ‘right’ project with the ‘right’ investor or the ‘right’ client. And also, too many people around me keep talking about wanting to shoot this thing and that thing and it’s all TALK TALK TALK, and no action. So I just didn’t wanna just talk but would rather have some action to show.

location scouting

A side note to all creators: Truth of the matter is. You have a phone. You got friends. You got creativity. That’s really all you need. Don’t keep over thinking and stressing and trying to get the perfect scenario or the right amount of money. If you want to shoot a film, just do it. And don’t give me crap about how I always have a big crew, big equipment and many actor friends to help me. This time round, I did it with just a phone, almost zero budget, and with help from my friends who are equally passionate to create.

Just Do It

I think I literally had the idea to do this on a Saturday night while chilling out with a friend and in the next weekend, we were shooting at my house. That’s it. One bloody week. From the time the ideas were conceptualized to the shoot date was literally less than a week.

For me I thrive on momentum and deadlines, so by literally giving myself very little time, I force myself to be extra creative not just in thinking of the stories, but also in getting the right people to help out to execute the project. The videos didn’t have to be perfect, but they have to tell the story well. And I don’t mean that there is no place for stylish, very well lit and well shot video. Movies, branding videos or commercials that showcases beauty all require very high quality production. But don’t be crippled by it. Just cause you don’t have the best DSLR or a good sound recording device is not a good reason to procrastinate. Go and make your video or your film! NOW!

creating viral content

Creating content that fits the target audience / Evoke the right emotions

I wanted to create content that specifically target people who like horror. The game plan was to create 3 short videos, about 2 minutes long, with a sudden twist/jump scare at the end. For horror fans, it was important to evoke that sense of shock and fear which is best achieved by creating a jump scare.

People share something when a very strong feeling is elicited. Whether it is happiness (good comedy), or rage (real life bullying etc.), wonderment (those cute puppy videos) or shock/fear (horror films). If the right emotion is created, people will tend to share.

shooting with whatever equipment you have

So I wrote 3 short stories. 2 are originals and 1 is based on an urban legend circulating on the internet, but I gave it a twist. All the 3 stories were shot within a day.

You can watch the 3 horror short films here.

Horror Short Film 1 – Ghost Festival 

Horror Short Film 2 – Are you alone? 

Horror Short Film 3 – Ma! 

Shooting with whatever resources you have

I made a clear decision that I was going to shoot with a mobile phone and a relatively old one at that. I also made a conscious decision to not use any artificial lighting or rather use existing light. Basically I wanted to prove a point that if you have got good stories to tell, you don’t need fanciful equipment. You just need creativity and a relentless desire to tell stories. Oh, and a mobile phone.

So I literally shot with an iphone5, but I did purchase an app called filmic pro. This app allows me to control the focus, ISO, shutter speed etc. on the phone. Sound was also recorded on the camera in the phone. I tried to keep dialogue minimal but one of the shorts was in the open and had a lot more dialogue so I had to use a audio recording device, which my friend graciously loaned me.

The only thing that I spent on was on props for one of the scenes which involved burning ‘hell money’ for the ‘hungry ghosts’. I spent 60 dollars on that and oh, also on some drinks and a supper treat for all after the shoot. So all in, I spent probably about a hundred dollars.

Again, I want to stress. Don’t be hampered by a lack of resources. You are only limited by how resourceful you are.

shooting on budget

Buying fb ads with the right target audience

Facebook has changed its algorithm and it will continue to change to ensure that the most relevant content will appear in the user’s feed. As a result, a lot of pages are not getting their content shown in their fans’s newsfeed. There are a lot of fb pages out there and every single day, it just keeps increasing so it is close to impossible that all the pages will be able to reach their fans organically.

buying facebook ads

So what happens is that facebook ad buying is increasingly important and the truth is, the cost of buying facebook ads now is still heavily underpriced for the kind of reach that it gets. If you have not tried facebook ads, please get into it! I promise you in another 3-5 years, the prices will sky rocket. Now is a time to get into it and get your hands dirty and understand the medium.

I am not going to go into the technical details of ad buying. Just understand that you need to write good copy, know how to target the right audience, and know what you want the user to do. Facebook is probably the best platform now with the best data on its users. You can laser target people based on their interests, hobbies, occupation or even their sexual orientation. The data is extremely powerful.

For the short films, I basically did a boosted post targeting horror fans. I spent about 50 dollars on each of the short films. So a total of 150 dollars. This paid reach will give your content the initial boost. Without it, you will need a much longer time and much more effort to promote it. If your content is very shareable, your paid reach will be totally eclipsed by the organic reach since people will start sharing and liking your content.

Such was the case with the film. The organic reach was almost five times more than the paid reach.

organic reach vs paid reach

organic reach vs paid reach

Understanding the psychology of the user and writing the right copy

The copy writing for your ad is extremely important. To write it well, you have to obviously have some talent in writing. But more than that, you must understand the psychology of the person reading or watching your content.

So in this case, I am obviously targeting horror fans. And what better way to get their attention that to use the idea of a ‘chain letter’? Or in this case ‘chain video’. The concept that you have to share and send the video, or the ghost will come after you was quite possibly the most appropriate title for this content and for this target audience. My title of the post basically reads “Share and Tag 3 Friends. If not, something TERRIBLE will happen. Oh, and watch till the end. I dare you.”

Do notice that I was quite deliberate not to ‘curse’ anyone cause I said something terrible will happen but not something terrible will happen to you. I varied another copy to say “Something will happen to you” instead of “Something terrible will happen to you”.

I also added a frame to the video with the title at the top which basically says “I dare you to watch till the end”.

copywriting for the facebook ad

Specify what you want the viewer to do

It is important that you know what you want the user to do. Whether it is to share your post, like it, sign up for something, go to your website, comment, or whatever. You must be clear and normally, you only want them to do one thing. Don’t over complicate and tell your audience to do too many things.

For my case, I wanted them to share and tag 3 friends. Very clear instructions. I made sure they are reminded at the end of the video as well.

share and tag

Responding and commenting with personality

One of the things that many page admin fails to do is to engage and interact with the fans on the page. And when they do, the comments or replies are boring and not engaging. As much as writing ‘thanks for the comment’ is a nice gesture, but it’s not going to get anyone excited or intrigued by your page or the brand.

In the case of the short films, within a day of posting, there were already hundreds of comments, ranging from “I got a shock” to “not scary at all”. But I made a decision to reply with the personality of a ‘ghost’. It was fun engaging and interacting with the comments. I even replied with pictures of the ghost that we took on set. Because of the high level of engagement, the fans were more willing to tell their friends about it and share the posts. Of course, a little scaring to make them share is kind of funny as well.

interacting with fans with personality

Patience and Hard Work

So after two weeks, for all the three shorts, I had a combined reach of 850,000 people. I had a total of 346,000 video views. The shares were pretty phenomenal. A total of close to 6,000 shares. A lot of people were commenting on the posts as well, generating a total of more than 2,000 comments. I also gained 2,000 followers during the two weeks’ window.

So what started as a small little experiment and a passion project taught me many valuable lessons. But the truth is, to grow a channel, or a page or your subscribers, you need patience and lot of hard work. You need to continue posting relevant and good content to engage your fans. Patience, hard work, and talent. If you have these 3, I guarantee you will succeed.

In the meantime, we are already planning a new series of videos which I feel will potentially be even more popular than the first. If you are a brand or a business and want to feature your products or services in the next series of video, drop me a DM. We are targeting a reach of at least one million and half a million views.

Or if you want to explore how we can help you with your digital and social media marketing, drop me an email as well. gil@redinkmedia.asia

Talk soon!

Doing this will crush ALL your competition

By | Business, Ideas, Life | No Comments

Recently, there seems to be a tremendous increase in the number of people selling manual shavers near the train stations. They would be wearing black t shirts, rather youthful looking and always ‘breaking the ice’ by asking “Do you use manual shavers or electric shavers?”

I happen to bump into them again yesterday. So this guy in black t shirt was walking with me and literally ‘chased’ me down to get me to answer his question and to get me interested in the shaver that he was trying to sell. First and foremost, much respect to this guy for the hustle. I mean it takes balls to approach people in the street and try to sell them stuff. You literally need balls of steel and a face as thick as a bible, because you are GUARANTEED to be rejected over and over and over again.

sales rejection

This sets me thinking. Are these people doing something right or something wrong? And what’s the best sales tactic that will not only crush all your competitors but annihilate them into oblivion? Does such a tactic even exist?

First, let’s look at what Mr Razor guy or the company is doing wrong. It boils down to one word. Context. People generally have a very poor impression of people approaching them randomly in the street. Firstly, it’s because you are stopping people from doing what they really want to do (most likely traveling to some other place). It’s similar to those annoying pop up ads that keep popping up when you are trying to watch a freaking youtube video. And people just tune out. They don’t even care if your ad is the most brilliant ad made in the history of men. The context of interrupting people is just extremely negatively frowned upon.

Next problem. Sales pitch in a matter of seconds. Most people are not going to stop for you. So when selling in such a setting, you have to let the person know the sales pitch in a matter of SECONDS. I would say the first sentence that comes out of your mouth has to be so enticing that it grabs someone’s attention immediately. In this case, the black shirt fellow has to probably convince me why the manual shaver that he is selling is the most brilliant shaver of all time and that it’s going to revolutionize shaving for me. Or basically give me the shaver for FREE to try it out. And truth be told, even if given for FREE, he might still have a hard time finding people to give to because people are also hard wired to believe that there is no free lunch in the world and a free gift in the street generally means a trade off in time and your contact details.

people in street rejecting selling tactics

So the odds are heavily stacked against Mr Shaver even before he opens his mouth. But is there something he is doing right?

Yes. Summarized in one word. Hustle. The way he approached and chased down potential clients, day in, day out, facing hundreds of rejection. That is fantastic. If he was to combine it with the two other things, he would be able to CRUSH all his competition. And the two things are: Context and Value.

The problem with approaching random strangers in the street about a manual shaver is that there is literally no context. Does the stranger need a shaver? Does he have a shaving problem? Is he dealing with financial difficulty? Is he rushing off for a business meeting that he is already fifteen minutes late? All these are questions that Mr Shaver won’t be able to answer.

context

Now let’s imagine if Mr Shaver set up his little shaving booth inside an electronics stall selling shavers. Now he knows that anyone who comes to this part of the shop is at the very least interested in looking at all kinds of shavers. There is already a context of the potential buyer being interested. His chances of making a sale if he is a good sales person sky rockets immediately.

Now imagine this. If he was to set up a website to sell his razors. And if he was to either buy google ads or facebook ads targetting people who are interested in shavers. Again, the context is set. Anyone who goes to his website is at the very least interested in the purchase of a shaver. Again, his chances of making a sale sky rockets and in today’s digital space, he can literally reach out not just in Singapore but all over the world.

If you get the context right, you have won half the battle. The other half lies in the sales pitch. I attend many sales pitches in a given week. People looking for investment, people looking for a job in the company, people trying to sell me their products and services. The list goes on. But let me tell you the people that ultimately will get a deal. Those are the people that comes into the meeting with the answer to this question. “What’s in it for me?”

value

Too many people or companies are trying to tell me how good they are. They have serviced big clients, they have won this and that award, they are the first in class, blah blah blah. It all comes across as bullshit boasting. You need to answer a simple question. “What’s in it for me?” which is translated to : What value are you bringing to the table? VALUE. You got to think of giving more than receiving.

If the case of Mr Shaver, he has got to convince me that his produce is the best in the market and only for today, it is sold at a super discounted price or even for FREE. Bring me the value before you try to sell me. Or better still, don’t try to sell me. Just tell me why your product or service will improve my life and bring me tremendous value.

Combine context with value. This is called working smart.

Then you got to have amazing work ethics which translate to hard work and hustling. That is called working hard.

Combine these two and I guarantee you will CRUSH and annihilate ALL your competition.

 

creative corporate video

The First Rule about making a corporate video. Do not make a corporate video.

By | Business, Ideas, Video Production | No Comments

The First Rule about making a corporate video. Do not make a corporate video.

Let me explain. What I really mean is you should stop making corporate videos that bore the shit out of your viewers. Let me elaborate.

Have you had the ‘pleasure’ of sitting next to a person during lunch and this person just cannot stop talking about himself and all his fantastic achievements? To top if off, he name-drops every five sentences. No, make that three.

guy talking non stop

guy talking non stop and boring you to tears but you still have to smile cause it’s the polite thing to do.

How did you feel? Absolutely bored out of your wits or incredibly disgusted? That’s what I thought.

So if most of us can’t stand people who rambles on about himself, what makes us think that people would want to watch a corporate video, that continually tells you how great the company is and how long its history dates back to?

Not only are you boring your viewers, you are pretty much destroying your brand as well.

So what’s the alternative or the solution? The first thing that we need to think about when making any kind of video, especially a corporate video, is to provide value or to entertain. And if the video production company that you choose to work with is really good, they will do both.

Entertain with your corporate video

So what do I mean by entertain? Take a look at this video that was done to promote a school.

When creating a marketing video for a school, it is very tempting to go academic and tell your viewers how awesome the school facilities are, and how great the achievements of the teachers and the students are. But in this video, it took a completely different direction that aims to entertain first. When someone is entertained, you have that person’s attention. And that is the key to any form of branding or marketing that the corporate video should do.

Another great example is this one.

A fantastic ‘spoof’ of the cat videos that go viral online. When you make an audience laugh, you can be assured that you have their attention and then some. Always remember this. Before you attempt to sell, market or push your agenda, you must first get the attention of the viewer.

Provide Value with your corporate video

Many companies believe that the sole purpose of creating a corporate video is to let the viewers know more about the company and how great it is doing. But this is actually very dangerous. You can easily lose the attention of the viewer by doing that.

Put yourself in the shoes of the viewer. What will make you want to continue watching a corporate video? Surely not a video that bombards you with the company’s achievements and awards.

If your video is able to scratch the itch of the viewer or bring some value or benefit, then you have successfully captured his or her attention.

For instance, take a look at this video.

It is inspiring and motivates the viewer to do something. It moves the viewer. This will in turn elevate your brand, or make the viewer sit up and pay attention. And most importantly, they will always remember your brand because of that short little corporate video that they had seen.

If you are keen to explore how to use creative corporate videos to help your brand or help your sales and marketing efforts, please have a chat with us. Drop us a message below. Or simply just drop us a line to say hi. We are nice people and we organize great parties.

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