One of the most effective ways of promoting your content is to turn it into an event. Build up anticipation for it among your audience over time, so that it sticks in their mind, and make its ultimate release something they won’t want to miss.
So the question remains, how do you build up anticipation for your content? With more content, of course! One particularly effective form of content is the teaser. Movies have been doing this for years. A brief scene or a collection of footage, generally ambiguous or out of context, serves as an introduction to the film, and leaves audiences wondering what it means and wanting to know more. Which in turn encourages more people to see the film.
This method can also be used effectively for Internet content. Take the popular website Nerdist.com. They produce a wide variety of content, including reviews, podcasts, pop culture news and original videos. In October, they began preparing to release an 18-minute horror parody/homage called Monster Machine, about the creation of zombies for fun and entertainment. The video was quite an undertaking, so of course, they wanted it to do well. So how did they promote it? They used teasers.
The video had the framework of a spoof midnight horror movie showing, a la “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.” It even had its own goulish presenters, “The Terror Twins.” So in the weeks leading up to the video’s release, Nerdist put out three “Terror Twins Outtakes” videos. The videos, around three-and-a-half minutes each, featured “Tawny and Trixie Terror” (comedic actresses Olivia Taylor Dudley and Madeline Walter) attempting to do the introduction for the film, while things continually went chaotically and hilariously wrong.
Between the videos’ silly humor and scantily clad stars, they succeeded in gaining a fair amount of audience attention, and giving them the promise of more to come. The videos were promoted as a prelude to something bigger, and included “Monster Machine Coming October 24th” in each title, as well as further info in the descriptions.
As promotional content, the Terror Twins videos didn’t work as well as the creators might have hoped. While the three teasers each have between 16,000 and 20,000 views on YouTube, the actual Monster Machine short has managed to garner only a little over half that. However, that’s the beauty of content marketing. Every view counts. While Monster Machine didn’t gain the following that it could have (owing perhaps to its length—longer videos, no matter how good, tend to scare away viewers who don’t have that much time to commit), the Terror Twins still succeeded in bringing people to their channel. And perhaps further Terror Twins videos in the future could mean content gold for Nerdist.com.