As a PR professional for over 25 years, trying diligently to keep up with everything that is going in the world of PR, with keeping up with social media being the biggest challenge, I am learning the most lessons from my 11 year-old niece. Let me preface this by saying that I spend at least one hour every day reading about what's new in social media today (which happens to be the exact title of one of my favorite blogs), along with every other piece I have time for on PR Daily, Linkedin, and other sites.
My 11 year-old niece is teaching me more. Forget the kywords, the promoted posts, the hashtags: my 11 year- old niece has a YouTube video that got 10,000 views in its first month.
As a PR professionals we strive to create Youtube videos and other posts that go viral. We try our best using every piece of technology that's available, every tidbit of SEO information we come across and every helpful hint shared by techies, and lo and behold, two eleven year-olds do it by accident. That's the beauty of the Internet.
My neice and her BFF Liv created a show on Youtube called The Liv and Ambo Show. They put up a few homemade videos. These include an introductory video on the two of them being BFF's, a parody of a Lady Gaga Video that was a class project, a few "Top Ten" kind of videos made in their basement, and a few others that really are not of much interest to anyone but other 11year-olds.
Then came the Carly Rae Jepson/Wassabie Productions video parody. Yes, it helps that they made a parody of a parody of the hottest song of the summer of 2012, but still, they are a couple of 11 year-olds with no video, acting or music experience albeit being the stars of their 5th grade play in a small suburban town in NJ.
The first time I watched the video I did not "get it". Then I realized I had to watch the paraody first to understand the beauty of it. Of course, being a baby boomer I am not on Youtube searching for parodies of songs so it was an introduction to me of what kids out there today are doing. I often tell my nieces how lucky they are to have such a vehicle. When I was a kid we made stories on a cassette recorder. The fun part was the sound effects, that was the most creative we could get with the technology we had back then. I remember a Halloween tape I made with a bunch of friends in which we used broken swing set chains to mimic ghostly chains... but I digress.
So after watching the original parody, which was extremely clever, I looked at my niece's video through another lens and realized just how creative it was. One has to look past the poor lighting, vertical positioning, scenery and camera angles, but that's what makes it so sincere. They followed the original parody quite well, and by accident made their parody even funnier. I often tell them that the Cody Simpson poster on the door is a work of genius, but they don't get it. They were just having fun.
My niece jests with me that I watch her video every day. I tell her that I watch it not just because of her, but it is like a little PR/science experiment that I am curiously and excitedly tracking.
For the first few weeks the views went up by about a hundred a day, then for the next few it went up by 200 a day. When it reached a few thousand, they were excited to have received an email from Youtube congratulating them on their successful post. Yes, it was a "form" email but exciting nonetheless. I talked with them about making some money and putting some ads on it, but my 15 year old son, a self-proclaimed YouTube expert, knocked down that idea, saying that kids would turn it off as soon as they saw the ad.
On the weekends it grew even more. My son said that it would reach a point where it would skyrocket. In about the 5th or 6th week, the views jumped drastically, and toppled 10,000. Three months from the post they have now surpassed a whopping 100,000 views.
Why did this happen? I know that the girls tagged it with some keywords. Also, just because they liked it and not because they wanted it to have the greatest chances of going viral, chose a very popular song and a very popular parody. But that's it. No promotion whatsoever. They just provided creative content and it went viral. They knew their market, so to speak.
One of these days I will beg my niece for her password so I can scrutinize the Youtube analytics to see what lessons I can learn. But for now, I learned just one lesson. Next time they do a video, I'm putting a client in it!
Suzanne Ordas Curry is a life-long PR professional and film producer of late with a curiosity about her profession, people, entertainment and education.