Comedy is about what people can relate to. Last year my sketch comedy group, Train of Thought, decided to make a video series about MySpace. This led us to the question, “What does everyone on MySpace have in common?” The answer was simple: Tom. So we created Puppet Tom.
With the fast growing popularity of Facebook we asked the same question: “What does everyone on Facebook have in common?” The answer is the core of Facebook: the News Feed.
With that we created FNN: The Facebook News Network. FNN has taken off and has been featured on CollegeHumor, iFilm, Crackle, VH1’s Best Week Ever.tv, NewTeeVee, Download Squad, Mashable, Valleywag and more. I wanted to share how we made this with the idea of creating a viral video.
Keep it Short: Facebook News Network is only 1:33 including intro and credits. Most viral videos come in under 2:00.
Keep it Fun: My co-troupe mates, Ryan and Kaci, did an amazing job bringing this sketch to life. I think it came out very funny. Also many of our friends are the examples in the video (except for Derrick Richardson, I didn't want to call any of our friends a douche!). Also check the ticker for status updates by Mark Lisanti and Michael Arrington.
Brand It: Instead of adding our URL to the bottom we created a short intro for us as well as URLs for our Facebook group and YouTube account. This way, even if people steal it and put their own URLs on it our intro / ending are still there to let people know who really created it.
Facebook URL Workaround: I posted previously about how Facebook’s lack of customizable URLs make it tough to include them in marketing materials. On this I was really stuck because we’re creating a sketch about Facebook and I wanted people to know Train of Thought has a Facebook group but I can’t put - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10785050283 -at the end of the video! SoI made a simple redirect on my own site: www.trainofthought.info/facebook. This will forward people to our Facebook group and is easy to type and include in the credits.
Brand It II: Whenever we create a new (potential) series we buy domains associated with it. For example we bought PuppetTom.com for The Puppet Tom Show. For this video we did buy FacebookNewsNetwork.com and I put it in the scrolling ticker below the video. FacebookNewsNetwork.com includes links to our Facebook group and our homepage too in case someone isn’t part of Facebook. I love seeing this URL in my site’s referral data because if they put this URL in their browser then they really watched that video closely.
Use Video Responses: A great way to push our newest video is to make it a video response to our last one. We have a lot of incoming links to FNN on YouTube so we made our new sketch, Common Wisdom, a related video to expose it to people viewing Facebook News Network.