It has become an obsession of mine even since having delved into my new “profession” (I’m still using air quotes… Give me a few more months to get totally comfortable referring to myself as a “YouTuber” or “viral videographer”). It is indeed possible I am watching too much Gary Vaynerchuk, or drinking too much of my own Cool Aid. But when I get to, or happen on an event and see a photographer, but no “event vlographer” (I’m officially coining this term), I see a missed opportunity. And it drives me ballistic. If an event is important enough for an event photographer, it is necessarily important enough to an ‘event vlographer’.
For clarification, I am not talking about an event videographer – where you get a finely polished, highy edited video days, weeks or months later… That kind of product is nice for nostalgia, but useless for social media, where collective memory lasts days, if not hours. I am talking about an event vlographer who can produce compelling and highly shareable video content virtually in real-time.
A few months ago, I was walking to work and something out of the ordinary caught my attention: A cordoned-off street; a cherry-picker stretching 15 storeys into the sky; and a huge inflatable rescue pad. Thankfully, it was not a rescue mission, and no one was perched on a window ledge threatening to jump. Rather, it was a daredevil jumping as part of a fundraising campaign for Defi Canderel. I ran to the office, grabbed my GoPro, and recorded amazing content. Ran back to the office, and within 2 hours, I edited and uploaded to YouTube for entire world to share. And within a few more hours, the video had over 2,000 views.
But something even more impressive happened, above and beyond the 2,500 YouTube views (which I recognize is very modest by standard criteria). I successfully licensed the video through a licensing agency, and it got even more exposure via third-party platforms on Facebook and Instagram than it got on my YouTube channel. Through the spontaneous creation and upload of a highly shareable video that was virtually contemporaneous with the event itself, I was able to expand its digital “footprint” well beyond the then-and-there.
This was not a one-off fluke. It’s something I have been doing for a while. And while the result is not a guarantee, the creative and technical process itself maximizes the odds for social media success.
Back in November, we were on the Vegas Strip and happened upon a performance by a busker named Matthew Pretty (a.k.a. “Bucket Boy”). Feeling it was something special, I pulled out my iPhone, captured the performance, and put it up on YouTube, where it has garnered more than 2.1 million views (on YouTube alone!). It was licensed out multiple times. Massive exposure for the artist that extended well beyond Vegas. I repeatedly (and perhaps harassingly) tweeted it to the likes of Simon Cowell, and other people with an eye for talent. I saw from Bucket Boy’s Facebook page that he had since landed a advertisement with Verizon. I like to think it had something to do with the right person seeing this singularly unique performance which might have otherwise disappeared into the proverbial ether.
That being said, YouTube views are no indication of the success of this marketing / social media sharing model. Like I said in my last post, I have successfully licensed videos that had minimal viewership on YouTube. It’s not a question of a “fail” on YouTube, and I’m not ashamed when a video is a YouTube “dud”… There is quite literally a universe of videos being uploaded on YouTube on a minutely-basis. Rising above the fray is sometimes simply a question of timing, luck, or the one right person sharing the YouTube link.
Another example, and although admittedly it is not an “event”-based example: I licensed out this random video of me knocking a bottle of Smooth Meals off my head. It barely got a few hundred views on YouTube, but was licensed out and appeared in Daily Mail Online – and with that, it obtained a viewership that certainly exceeded my relatively modest YouTube reach. It may not have been the exposure that Smooth Meals wanted. They certainly didn’t ask for it… The bottle just had the most amazing concave bottom that balanced perfectly on my head! But it proves a point.
The point is that if someone is putting on a show or holding an event, they want to share their creation with the world. They want increased exposure. That’s why they’re doing it… If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth at least 32,000 words a second 🙂
If increased exposure is what you want, pictures are not enough. The content must be captured. The story must be told. In a compelling manner. It must be prepared and shared in virtual real time. And it must be distributed to the world through secondary and alternative means. These are cumulative, and not alternative conditions to maximizing the likelihood of efficient social media sharing.
And the beauty behind the model is this: Why pay for advertising when, if done properly, you can literally get paid for exposure that could otherwise never be bought.