Getting Others to Create Viral Videos for You

(¬©Online Dating Advertising)¬†In 2011, online relationship service launched a competition to get users to create “viral videos” promoting eHarmony. The idea came to them after the famous “eHarmony cat lady” video (see directly below) became an instant viral hit, taking the Internet by storm and racking up more than 36 million views along with countless spoofs.

eHarmony Video Bio

eHarmony Cat Lady Video

The eHarmony Cat Lady video, which eHarmony had nothing to do with, was an overnight sensation and received mass media publicity everywhere, resulting in great promotion for eHarmony. Moments like that, which a company doesn’t control, are rare. But is it possible to recreate that success in a controlled environment?

The 2011 contest offered by eHarmony came with an $8,000 top prize. You can see other details of the contest from their original contest blog post. Have you thought of offering a contest where others use their skills to promote your online dating service?

Skill contests are only as good as the promotion that goes into them. The better you market your contest, the more impact it will have (unless the prizes are really bad). Here are some things to keep in mind when offering a skills contest like creating a “viral video”:

1) Having first place decided by votes on Facebook (like eHarmony did) opens itself up to potential voting fraud. How? There are dozens sites/services that allow you to “buy votes” in order to help you win a prize.

2) Familiarize yourself with any state/federal laws that govern contests (a starting point example: An Introduction to Sweepstakes and Contest Law)

3) Make sure your contest rules are clear, concise, and cover you legally (consult your lawyer). Make sure the rules also hold submitters accountable for things like having model release forms for anyone that appears in the video they shoot.

4) Make the contest deadline far enough away (i.e. 3-4 months) to give you plenty of time to promote it and people plenty of time to enter it. Promote it via YouTube, social media, Facebook, Facebook ads, video sites, your email list, blogs, and Websites that list skill contests that people can enter. Be sure to put out several press releases too. Try to build an ongoing excitement for the contest. Be creative. Think outside of the box.

5) Heavily promote the winning video, using the same methods you did to promote the contest. Create press releases and send them directly to video production sites/blogs, online dating information sites (like Online Dating Magazine), etc.

If you feel uncomfortable running an entire viral video skills competition, then research different contest services, like memelabs, that can help you organize and execute your entire campaign.

In the end, your goal is to promote your online dating service. To do that you need to put 210% into the planning, promotion, and execution of your competition. Keep it fun and fair. And when you do, you should have some great videos that help promote your service. In fact, here’s the winning video from the eHarmony viral video competition:

2012 eHarmony Viral Video Contest Winner – Online Dating

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