Category Archives: Viral media math

Why this video is intentionally bad and tremendously good

Those two things seem contradictory, don’t they?

No.

A book, movie or TV show can be technically good and awesomely boring at the same time. Example: every CGI-crazed “blockbuster” in the last 10 years that cost $250 million to produce and generated $50 in ticket sales at theaters. Stuff like JOHN CARTER OF MARS and AVATAR (the cartoon, not the blue monkey saga) and five zillion other movies you don’t remember and didn’t see because they stank up the place.

So take a look at this, the Best Ad for a Restaurant in History:

The ad does a number of things badly on purpose.

  • The special effects look like they were put together by a 7th grader who started teaching himself Adobe After Effects yesterday.
  • The script itself put 1,792 grammar teachers in treatment.
  • This actor’s body language could not be more awkward.
  • Casting aside his accent, which I loved, the actor’s inflections keep going astray.
  • The editing and production values, let’s be honest, stink.

If the individual parts of this ad are so horrible, why is the whole thing so great? Continue reading

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Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Glowing Tube, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math

Age and size matter not — attitude is everything

The great thing about the Series of Tubes is that so many people are sifting through so much stuff, you’re bound to find random bits of awesomesauce. Things you would never intentionally seek out.

John Lindo is wonderfully random bit of awesomesauce, and I am happy to do a little Friendly Friday shout-out to him.

Watch this, then let’s talk about why it works, and why it went viral.

This works because there’s a massive gap between expectation and result.

As an audience, we’ve been trained to think of professional dancers as size zero models that come in male and female. They’re young, tanned and costumed. They dance with the stars, and sometimes date the stars.

John is proudly the opposite of all that. He looks like an average middle-aged dad from the suburbs and shatters your every expectation. He’s full of joy, competence and confidence. I’m not a dance expert or fan, and I’d happily watch more videos of him, and try to learn a bit from him. My wife would go nuts. If we men were crazy smart, we’d do Fight Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then get John to teach us to dance like this on Mondays and Wednesday while our bruises fade, then we’d surprise our wives or girlfriends on Friday nights. Continue reading

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Filed under 6 Friendly Friday, Old Media, The Glowing Tube, Viral media math, which is still Big and Strong

5 ways to make blog posts GO ALL VIRAL

There is no guaranteed method, no secret way, to make a blog post that causes the Series of Tubes to explode.

Anybody who says otherwise is a lying liar full of lying liaosity.

Because this is an art, not a science.

HOWEVER: There are things that are smart, and give you a chance.

yoda after the death star blows up

If your magical blog post causes the Series of Tubes to blow up like a Death Star orbiting the second moon of Yavin, then Yoda will celebrate by dropping it like it’s hot.

5) Swing for the fences

If all your blog posts are kinda the same — the same topic, the same length, the same tone — it’s a good bet none of them will ever magically shock the world.

Learn from PETA, which gets gobs and gobs of free ink and airtime by trying bold, crazy PR stunts.

Most of them fail. Sometimes, they get a little bad press for a stunt gone wrong.

But they keep swinging for the fences, because there is no real penalty for swinging and missing. Continue reading

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math

Handling bad news, making your message sticky and other penmonkey tricks

The New York Times

For two years or whatever, I blogged three times a week about publicity, speechwriting, public relations and scandals for The New York Times’about.com.  If you are an author, actor, director, politician, professional athlete, rock star, user of social media or otherwise in the public eye, THESE POSTS ARE USEFUL TO YOU. If you live in an ice cave, you can safely ignore all this stuff.

Not-so-basic publicity stuff

Handling Bad News and Scandals

How Effective Is Your Message? Achieving Stickiness

The Yin and Yang of Word Counts

Dialogue Versus Monologue in Public Relations

How to ID and Reach All of Your Audiences: Audience Analysis 101

Avoiding the Biggest Last-Minute Mistake in Public Relations: Scheduling Can Destroy the Best-Laid Plans

How to Find the Right Media Mix: Reaching a Mass Audience in Public Relations

3 Ways to Check Your Clips

4 Ways to Respond to Bad Press

Five Reasons to Monitor Your Media

The Care and Feeding of Media Lists: Building Different Lists for Different Purposes

How to Use Charts and Graphs in PR Presentations

How to Work a Room

How To Use a Story Kit

Taking Your Lumps in the Press: Not Every Bad Story Can Be Fixed, and That’s a Good Thing

The Media Prefers Raw Meat

How to Interpret and Use Polls in Public Relations

Who are Opinion Leaders, and Why Do They Matter? Shaping Public Opinion at the Grass Roots

Putting Opinion Leaders to Work: Opinion Leaders Can Be Vital to Any Public Relations Effort

What Do You Want Your Quote to Be? Soundbites Are Getting Shorter

Tips From The Field: Public Information Officer

Job Profile – Press Secretary

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, Viral media math

Social media and social networking ARE NOT THE SAME THING

For two years or whatever, I blogged three times a week about publicity, speechwriting, public relations and scandals for The New York Times’ about.com.

IT WAS INTERESTING. Also, I got checks every month from The New York-Frigging Times, which, as a journalism major, is pretty damn cool.

The New York Times

If you are an author, actor, director, politician, professional athlete, rock star, user of social media or otherwise in the public eye, THESE POSTS ARE USEFUL TO YOU. If you live in an ice cave, you can safely ignore all this stuff.

Social media and social networking ARE NOT THE SAME THING

Word of Mouth and Viral Public Relations: If Your Images Are Strong Enough, You Don’t Need Words

How to Maximize Social Media for Public Relations

Social Media 101: A Revolution in Public Relations

Social Media 201: Different Tools for Different PR Jobs

Are Bloggers Parasites on the Mainstream Media?

How Many Followers and Fans Do You Need?

How to Publish a Daily E-newspaper — Effortlessly

Social Networking Synergy for PR

The Trouble with Twitter

Click and Share — Is it a Smart Idea for Public Relations?

The Shift Toward News on Portable Devices

Mobile News Consumers Are Opinion Leaders

The Shift to Hyper-Local Media

All Public Relations Is Local: Hyper-Local News Is Changing Everything

News Collectors Are Turning Into News Gatherers

What Are News Aggregators, and How Will They Change Public Relations?

How Should PR pros Deal with News Aggregators?

Trends are important, people

Trends in Public Relations

Don’t Believe the Hype: Newspapers Are Alive and Kicking

Media May Be in Flux – But PR Business is Booming Again

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This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Viral media math

Why blog hits DON’T REALLY MATTER

Hear me now and believe me later in the week:

  • Blog hits don’t really matter.
  • People collecting thousands of Facebook “friends” are wasting everybody’s time, including their own.
  • Your number of Twitter followers doesn’t mean diddly.

For those of you catching up: (1) The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books, (2) Forget the Twitter: free ink and airtime are your MOST DANGEROUS WEAPONS and (3) Using free ink and airtime to BUST THROUGH

Just saying these things is heresy to Internet Fanboys, who believe nothing is more powerful than the series of tubes.

If they can only find a way to implant a USB 3.0 socket in the back of their skull, they’ll be able to jack into the Matrix, do insane kung fu kicks and stop bullets JUST BY THINKING ABOUT IT, but they’re too busy looking at the woman in the red dress that they never leave the keyboard, go out in the real world and, I don’t know, kiss an actual girl.

Am I saying unplug from the series of tubes entirely? No. The internets, they are useful for many things.

I’m saying the real world is ALSO useful for many more things.

Why blog hits don’t matter

Everybody wants to be read. I mean, it’s sad to start a blog, put time and effort into writing great posts and have virtually no traffic.

However: let’s get practical.

When I started my old blog, it was to serve a specific purpose: a permanent home for the craigslist ad to sell the Epic Black Car.

WordPress is free. My sister, who is a flipping genius, told me that she loved working with the WordPress, that it was easy and fun. So I popped the ad on there, threw some photos in the craigslist ad and thought nothing of it.

Did it really matter whether I had 50 visitors a day, 500 or 5,000?

No. Not at all.

Now, our brains aren’t wired to be that logical and practical. We all have egos, which like attention and get all sad if nobody shows up. WHO WILL PAY FOR OUR THERAPY? Continue reading

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, Viral media math

Using free ink and airtime to BUST THROUGH

Earned media — free ink and airtime — is worth a lot to reality stars like Snooki, The Situation and Kim Kardashian, who all extended their 15 minutes of fame into millions of dollars.

Ink and airtime are even MORE valuable for people with actual talent.

Yet if you’re trying to make it — as a writer, an actor, a director, rock star, whatever — it’s hard to get the mass media to pay any attention to you at all.

Read the first evil post: The Twitter, is it NOT for selling books

Getting serious ink and airtime is a great way to bust through, boost your name recognition and make a living at doing what you love. Whatever that may be.

If you haven’t read it, get educated with the second evil post: Forget the Twitter: free ink and airtime are your MOST DANGEROUS WEAPONS Continue reading

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math