It is a struggle for everyone that is on the internet and has a video camera. What actually makes a video go viral? What brings your brand, blog, product in front of millions of YouTube visitors all looking to digest unique video content?

Real Life Examples of Viral Videos

As most of you know, I am obsessed with my Subaru WRX. I take pictures of it…take it apart on a weekly basis…and watch much of my income get dumped into it with upgrades. The sickness spreads beyond my car as I also pay attention to drivers out there that are behind the wheel of WRX’s and STi’s.

Ken Block is known throughout the car industry for producing viral videos that scream through YouTube like wildfire. His latest viral video shows off his new Fiesta RS WRC rally car with the “Monster Girls”. With 568,400+ views and counting…the video you see below is doing pretty well on YouTube.

(of course, when he made his Subaru STi video informercial…it is at 26,427,000 views and counting…maybe he should switch back to Subaru. See that video here.)

Ken is tapping into one of the oldest rules in viral videos…sex sells. In an attempt to one up Ken Block, fellow rally car driver and general nut case Travis Pastrana made is own version of “car and girls” video.

In this video…Pastrana says “car + girls = traffic”. And while Pastrana’s video is only at about 300 views when this article was published, I have a feeling it will eventually take off as more forums and Facebook pick it up.

What To Take From This And Viral Videos You Produce

Do you need to have dancing girls around your eBook or video review? No…absolutely not (but it might help).

Viral YouTube videos are a black art of sorts. You never really know what is going to take off and what sits in the graveyard never to be found. From my experience with YouTube as both a watcher and producer of content, there are several key things you need to keep in mind when producing your videos if you want them to go viral.

  1. They Must Be Entertaining – If you are going to put up some boring video and expect it to get a lot of views…you are going to be waiting awhile. People want to be entertained. Even with more boring subject matters and reviews, the entertainment value can still bring a lot of views to your video. I remember including me wrecking in one of my video reviews of a mountain bike and that video saw 10’s of thousands of views over the regular website views. It brought (and still brings) a lot of new visitors to my blog.
  2. Be Over The Top – This really goes with #1, but on video…everything looks flat. You really have to take facial expressions…wording…and tone to a new level for it to be caught on video. You will feel stupid during the execution, but it will come out better on video.
  3. It Has To Be Unique – Even with the videos above…there is nothing new about girls and cars…but there is a uniqueness to the editing and feel to the video that allows it to not be just another car video. Especially with the 25+ million views video from Ken Block, the uniqueness of his skill and the added effects (like drifting across light bulbs) add to the “wow factor” of the video.
  4. Keep It Short – When I used to work in video production, we were constantly looking for ways to keep people invested in the content while viewing. We found that shorter clips (around 6 minutes max) with multiple cuts through the clip (15 to 20 seconds) kept people’s attention. You do not have to have fancy editing techniques, simple cuts are fine but what you want to stay away from is your face infront of a camera for 6 minutes. People will get bored quickly and leave no matter what you are saying.
  5. Quality Wins – Take your time and do it right. Just slapping up subpar video quality with audio that people can hardly hear is not going to work. Also, use HD where ever possible.

At it’s heart…it really is a simple formula. It just takes time to execute it correctly. When you look back at the videos that you posted on YouTube, did they have these features that set you up for success? Or did you create a video that you wouldn’t even watch…


I was looking through my timeline on Facebook yesterday when I noticed something interesting.

Within my timeline, there was a poll by a friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook that read, “I am cleaning up my Facebook friends…let me know if you would like to stay?” Seems simple enough. This girl just wanted to clean up her Facebook account like many of us do from time to time. She saw the poll feature, thought it would be an efficient way to get the job done making sure she didn’t de-friend anyone she wasn’t supposed to…and she put up the poll.

However, she forgot the most powerful aspect of the new polling feature in Facebook…people that are not friends with you see if one of their friends answered the poll.

Facebook Polls - How To Use Them

Every time one of her 247 friends answered the poll, it showed up in their timeline to all of their friends who could also answer. Her one innocent poll went viral on Facebook to get over 3,242,283 votes, 136,650 followers of the poll and over 199,200 comments. I don’t think that is what she had in mind when she asked the simple question!

The Power Of Facebook Polls

Now…while this example provides a bit of humor, it does illustrate a very important point. The Facebook polling feature can be very powerful when growing your brand for your Facebook fan page.

Inviting user opinion and interaction is an incredible tool for building a following. Luckily, with the Facebook polling feature, you can get in front of the eyes of new, potential Facebook fans by asking your current followers to check a simple box to a simple question.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been testing out the polling feature within Facebook on the Bike198 Facebook fan page and I have noticed several things that will help you gain more followers and get more people to interact with your questions.

4 Facebook Poll Tips For Success
  1. Ask Polarizing Questions – You need to ask questions that people within your niche have a definite and passionate answer about. What are things that people argue about most in forums and to each other within your niche? Those are prime questions to ask on Facebook polls as your potential voters will be passionate about answering. If you ask bland, boring questions…expect terrible results.
  2. Invite Your Friends To Answer – Once you are finished making the poll within Facebook, you can invite your friends to answer the question. Only invite those friends that would actually care to answer (I don’t ask my friends that don’t ride bikes as an example). That will get the ball rolling and get you on their timeline for exposure to people that you might not have been in front of before. Just like with the girl’s example above…it gets the ball rolling.
  3. Respond To Comments Left On Your Poll – If you are having people comment on the poll, respond to the comments to show you are approachable and to start the dialog that turns into long time readers and followers. You want these people to like your fan page and visit your blog. Like most things in online community building, that process does not stop after you hit publish. Interact with these new people just as if they left a comment on your blog.
  4. Don’t Allow For User Generated Answers – I have seen polls go wrong when the voters are able to submit their own answers. What you end up with is a bunch of 1 vote answers that are pretty much the same and that discourages people from voting due to the massive amount of choices. Put up the available answers and lock it from there.

As long as you keep those key suggestions in mind, you can grow your fan base and bring more readers to your blog.

In my opinion, the Facebook poll feature is one of the most powerful tools available to fan page owners as we continue to try to grow that following. The viral nature built into the feature is the easiest way to get your brand in front of your fan base’s friends without being a spamming pain in the ass.



This past weekend, I did something really stupid. At the end of BlowWorld, my wife and I stayed in NYC for a couple of days to take a long weekend, mini vacation. On Friday, I came down with something terrible. Cold sweats, high fever, aching body, coughing like crazy…it was all there. For the next 10 days, the symptoms just ran over me like a Mack truck.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided after a week of feeling sick (and not feeling any better) that it would be a great idea to go on a 52 mile road bike ride with my friends. What harm could it do right?! By the end of the ride, I thought I was dead. I could barely hold on to the handlebars, my voice was completely gone and my throat felt like I had swallowed razorblades. What a dumb move…

Ironically enough, like most things in my life…it created inspiration for a blog post on Bike198.com. I wrote an article basically telling on myself and explaining how impatience as cyclists can take us backwards instead of forwards.

After the article went live (you can read it here: Riding Is More Than Just Spinning Wheels), I ended up getting emails from readers and calls from friends in and out of the industry telling me how spot on the article was and thank you for publishing it. Here is an example of one of the emails I received.

Hello Robb.

Thanks for the honesty of your reviews and insights.

It is always nice to read the articles as they genuinely have the human touch.

Keep up the good work

Many thanks

Reader of Bike198 (name removed)
(Brisbane Australia)

When the emails started coming in…I was floored. It completely made my day and energized the thought process for more related articles.

When we write our blog posts, I think it is easy to sometimes forget that we are connecting on a 1:1 basis with our readers. While you might be writing to an audience of thousands, each reader digests your content one at a time. The reason they do this is to connect with you and your thoughts. While they might agree or disagree, that connection is what separates blogging from other traditional forms of content publishing.

It is important…and that connection is what ultimately will grow you blog.

Top 7 Ways To Connect With Your Readers

So how can we, as bloggers, capitalize on this and make a stronger connection with our readers? Let’s take a look at this list and see if you are doing these on your blog.

  1. Tell On Yourself – No one is perfect and showing that you are human by displaying your mistakes along with your successes is a great way to connect with people. I have also always said, sometimes it is more valuable knowing what not to do as much as it is what to do. There is much to be learned in mistakes.
  2. Teach Them Something – Whether it is through one on one coaching or an article on your blog, if you can make your readers better at something in your niche, you are going to start that connection process that can go on for years. I will often times, ask my readers what they want to see covered on the blog, then actually write it! Make their voices heard and deliver.
  3. Answer Emails/Tweets/Comments – That one on one connection with your readers is extremely easy with blogging. By answering tweets, emails and comments, you are able to quickly and efficiently talk one on one with your audience. These are very powerful tools that many bloggers say they don’t have time for. Make the time and you will see the results.
  4. Attend Conferences and Meetups – Face to face interaction is the best way to get in touch with people. Shake your readers hand, meet new potential readers and continue to make that personal interaction.
  5. Be More Than Just A News Source – Your blog needs to be a resource for something other than the news. Your readers can get that from anywhere. Editorials and thought based articles will give your readers insight on what goes on in your head. Make that connection and keep it rolling.
  6. Hold Webinars – You can be everywhere and attend every conference…and neither can your readers. Just like I said with #4, the strongest connection you can make with your readers is face to face. With the widespread adoption of video conferencing, you can now host a webinar on UStream and other services to put the name with a face. The huge benefit to going this route is that you can also do Q&A.
  7. Video Posts – Not all of your readers want to schedule the time it takes to attend a webinar, but they do want to see that interaction with you. By doing video posts, you are able to bring your personal touch, attitude and personality to your content that will connect with your readers far beyond basic text.

The context of blogging was based on that connection between writer and reader that was not possible through conventional content publishing methods. By remembering that core ideal while you also try to increase business, you will be able to grow to new heights and attract raving fans of your blog.

How do you connect with your readers?




As many of you already know, last week was BlogWorld Expo East in New York City and I was invited to come talk about review blogging and how to capitalize on current buying trends to turn that into blogging profits. To be honest, I was a little bit nervous! I have presented in conferences before in the professional business to business world, but this was my first time jumping into the bloggers trade show arena. I was stoked for the opportunity and at the end of the day…everything went perfectly.

Speakers I Attended At BlogWorld East

Conferences like BlogWorld are a great chance to listen to varying opinions and suggestions of other successful bloggers and marketers throughout the industry. There were a couple on the list that I knew I was going to want to hear and since I arrived in the Big Apple on Monday and my talk wasn’t until Thursday, I had the time to network and hear others.

Lewis Howes – Webinars

For those of you that don’t know Lewis, he has quickly become the king of webinars in the industry (he also happens to know a ton about LinkedIn if you are interested in that as well). You can dig into his content at LewisHowes.com, but his talk was on “How to Turn Your Blogging Passion into a 6 Figure Business with Webinars”…and he isn’t kidding. In the first quarter of this year…he has cleared over $250k by doing webinars. I don’t know about you…but I think that is insane and you can see why I wanted to hear what he had to say.

This ex pro football player took himself from living in his sisters basement to killing it online by doing webinars. His first LinkedIn promotion ended up netting over $8k for an hours worth of work! Those are concrete results showing that the environment is changing for promoting digital and physical products online. My main interest in hearing him talk was to get the nuts and bolts on how to get this going on my end as I have been looking for a way to more personally interact with my online friends/audiences.

Lewis didn’t disappoint and there was a ton of great information included. I’ll be starting something up really soon.

Johnny B Truant – Radical Transparency

Johnny is one of those guys I have been quietly watching for some time. Honestly, I really respect how he presents himself online and how he is able to act like himself and attract raving fans at the same time. When I saw he would be doing a talk on this at BlogWorld, it was on my list of must do’s.

Out of all of the presentations at BlogWorld East this year, Johnny’s was the one that got me thinking the most. The way he brings himself into his content and his relationship with his readers is nothing short of amazing (and a lot of the time…hilarious). I think we find ourselves trying to get too “professional” with our tone and talk online, and Johnny is the in your face reminder that blog readers want to connect with bloggers…not some boring cardboard cutout. The more honest you are with your readers and bring as much of you to the table as you can…the more response you will get and the more success you will see.

Far too often, I try to be Mr. Business on here when I should let go a lot more. I don’t wear a suit to my office…I am sitting in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt with my dogs at my feet…and that is a good thing! Radical transparency is just that…being yourself at all cost and letting people connect with who you really are…not who you think they want to connect with. This one hour session will hopefully radically change how I speak online.

You can check out Johnny’s site here: The Internet Made Awesome

Syed Balkhi, John Chow and Zac Johnson

As you saw from an earlier post with David Risley’s intro of these three, there is never a dull moment when you get Syed and Chow together. While their talk was monetizing outside of banner ads, it was basically information that anyone already making a sum of money online knows. Things like why you need a newsletter and setting up a sales funnel were main topics in the conversation. Syed also highlighted the need to teach people how to use tools and complete things in your respective niche to create value and increase affiliate commissions (which I completely agree with). Zac illustrated how diversifying income streams can also open up your possibilities.

Again, all information I implement on my blogs and if you are not doing it now…you need to start today if you actually want to make any money online. It was fun hanging out with the guys over the course of the week and they even made me work “honk if you are horny” into my talk due to some horns they got from the book expo that was upstairs…yes…they literally said “honk if you are horny” on the horns themselves.

Here are the links so you can check them out for yourselves. John Chow (johnchow.com), Syed Balkhi (WPBeginner.com), Zac Johnson (zacjohnson.com) and David Risley (davidrisley.com)

Shane Ketterman – Rapid Success and Google’s Strong Hand

Shane is a newcomer to the block that has made HUGE strides in a very short period of time. After 7 months of blogging on his iPad blog (now sold), we was getting over 12,000 visitors a day and making thousands of dollars by capitalizing on events and teaching people how to use their new tablets.

The story is really a cool one as he went through the process and how he dealt with this rapid success. Unfortunately, he also got hit hard by the Panda update from Google (from what I can guess by what he was saying…the content scrapers are what did him in…not his content. He was writing five 1,000 word posts a day of unique content which is just insane!).

So there are two main things you need to take away from Shane (@rewirebusiness).

  1. Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Google traffic and Adsense can go away quickly if that is all you are relying on.
  2. Have a newsletter!! If Shane would have started a newsletter from day 1, he could have kept things rolling much better with a database of people that wanted his content.

When it was all said and done, Shane made out pretty good on the sale. It would have been much better without the Panda hit, but he is onto new things and I am excited to see what comes out of it.


Outside of hearing some great speakers, BlogWorld was also a great time to put faces with names of people that I talk to online all of the time. I wouldn’t call it networking…I call it solidifying friendships. It was great to be able to hang out with everyone and I am looking forward to doing it again soon.

Unfortunately I will not be making it to LA for BlogWorld West as I will be neck deep in having our first baby around that time. If that isn’t a good excuse to miss…I don’t know what is! Our first child, Daniel Merrill Sutton is due October 25th..so we will be just a little bit busy! 😉

Oh yeah…the Bonus!

Some of you probably scrolled all the way down to the bottom of this page before you read anything above. That’s ok…I do it to! Just make sure you scroll back up at some point. There is some good stuff up there from some great bloggers and internet people.

Anyways, I am going to be annoucing the bonus in my newsletter this week, so if you are not already subscribed, click here…enter your info…claim your free eBook and watch out for a very cool announcement on something I am going to do for you and do it for free this week. I’m stoked and there will be a lot of value to it…so stay on the edge of your chair for this one.

In case you missed it…click here —> Blogging Labs Newsletter and Free Problogging Is Dead eBook! and then watch out for a killer free deal this week.