How to Become a TV Star

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Last week, in yet another low point for humanity, two staffers from the online publisher Buzzfeed, livestreamed their own TV show on Facebook. The challenge? Figuring out how many rubber bands it would take to wrap around a watermelon before it exploded. Of course! Who the heck would watch this for 45 minutes? Oh, you know, like 800,000 people. And since then there have been close to 8 million views. Sad? Yes. Reality? Most definitely. You better get used to it. Particularly if you want to grow your business.

Video is the thing this year, and will be for many years to come. Just consider these facts:

  • 70% of the Internet is already gobbled up by video and audio streaming–mostly YouTube and Netflix.
  • The 2015 Winter X Games brought in more than 30 million online viewers in just 24 hours according to this report. No, not the Olympics. The X Games!
  • Periscope, the live streaming tool you can use to broadcast to your Twitter followers saw ten million accounts created in just a few months and continues to “double” its metrics since last year.
  • Facebook had 8 billion video views a day which has doubled since April. And many of these had nothing to do with cats. Just last week, Facebook announced moreinvestment and features into its live video service in an effort to bring in more ad dollars.
  • And speaking of ad dollars, research firm Forrester Research projects digital ad revenues to touch $12.6 billion by 2019.
  • YouTube has over a billion users–almost one-third of all people on the Internet–and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours and generate billions of views.
  • The number of videos viewed on messaging app Snapchat every day has tripled since May to 6 billion, according to people close to the company.
  • And although statistics on Google’s Hangouts on Air platform are hard to come by (not sure why that is), anecdotally the live-streaming service is used by many companies I know (as well as my own) as a way to broadcast their own content and then automatically save their sessions directly to their YouTube pages.

It’s time for you to become a TV star.

And it’s time to embrace video as a marketing tool to help you increase your cash flow. The question is…how? And I have the answer, in just three steps. Not easy steps, because as you and I know nothing about running a business is easy. But effective steps.

Step 1. Hire someone.

You’re not going to do this alone. You have a business to run. Your content strategy is going to be done by someone else who’s smarter and better than you at this. Maybe this is someone you already have internally. Or someone that you decide to hire part time. Go to your local university and look for a marketing student- they’re cheap and looking to build resumes. Or advertise on one of the contracting sites like UpWork or Freelancer. You want someone who’s energetic, enthusiastic and independent. Cough up a few bucks and buy a nice video camera. Have that person be your producer, just like a regular TV show. Or, if you’re feeling magnanimous, tell that young kid you’re going “make her a star!” Marketing isn’t about technology. It’s about people using technology. Bottom line: invest in a person who will own this project or it will go nowhere.

Step 2: Commit and consistently deliver.

Choose a platform (Facebook, Snapchat, Periscope, Google Hangouts on Air) based on where your community is. Then deliver a 20-30 minute “show” at least every month. Believe me, you’ve got content. Here’s some help. Have your customer service manager share with your producer some good customer service tips. Do the same with someone in sales, operations, finance. Or show how that new machine in the plant works. Make it a show about safety training. Or product usage. Or technical certification. Go out in the field and visit customers and have them tell the camera how great your company is and how they use your expertise to better their business. Don’t forget your key suppliers and partners too–they’ve got some advice to share I’m sure. Make the content educational and helpful to your audience. No matter how boring your company is (and if it’s like mine it’s probably boring) your products and services are of interest to someone: your prospects, customers and partners.

Step 3. Shamelessly promote both before and after.

Now here’s the thing: no one’s going to watch your live “show.” OK, maybe your mother will because she loves and supports you. But don’t worry. As soon as you’re done make sure you’re saving that show to your YouTube channel. And make sure before and after the show your “producer” is tweeting out promotions, updating your Facebook page and writing a blog or two about it. And also make sure your sales and customer service people have a link to the latest show so they can send it out to prospects and customers as a potential conversation starter.

The results? The more creative and energetic your “producer” is, the better quality your show will be. And if you stick to this over the coming months you’ll start building a library of videos on YouTube that will not only educate anyone who visits but give them a sense of your company’s culture, its products and more importantly–it’s people. Prospects and potential partners will have a deeper understanding about your organization and will feel more comfortable doing business with you. Your “producer” may evolve into an important part of your future marketing (or at least blaze a trail for future marketing help). And–I’m not kidding–you’ll be shocked to see that people actually viewed these videos. OK, maybe not 8 million–but a few hundred views could mean a few dozen prospects and that’s not so shabby.

And you? Who knows? I heard Kunal Nayyar gets $1 million per episode for the TV show he’s on. And you probably don’t even know who that guy is. So anything’s possible!

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