The big day has come: You’ve been selected to give a TEDx talk. You’ve worked on it for weeks. Now, how do you ensure someone actually views it?
June 26, 2019 6 min read
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I recently gave my first TEDx talk, titled “Big Enough,” about my efforts to support international literacy for girls, and the talk is now live on YouTube.
I had worked on my remarks day in and day out for a month and couldn’t wait to share them with the world. Why? Because giving a TEDx talk is an unprecedented opportunity to share your findings, life’s work and fundamental beliefs publicly.
And, if it’s a good talk, it deserves to be seen, and often. But, in an age defined by quick tidbits of information and goldfish-equivalent attention spans, it’s hard to rack up views on a talk that’s nearly 18 minutes long.
So I had to get creative. Here then are a few of those ways I ran up my viewer count to more than 500 in the first week alone of my TEDx talk’s existence on the internet.
1. Don’t be shy on your social channels.
It’s all too easy to think that — post-TEDx talk — sharing one post on your channels is sufficient, but chances are, more than half of your followers or friends saw that your TEDx talk was live while they were at work, stuck in traffic or walking into a workout class, so they couldn’t take the time to watch it. Simply put, you’re going to have to post that talk more than once.
On an episode of the RISE podcast by Rachel Hollis, titled “How You Can Use Instagram to Sell a Product,” Hollis noted that, “You have to give your audience a chance to buy your product,” or as in my case, engage with your content. To do that, you have to post multiple times, not only to reach all of your followers, but also to make sure that each of them sees the reminder multiple times.
The way in which you share something multiple times does matter, however. Take a different angle each time. Perhaps the second post will be about your process of writing the TEDx talk, and your third, a general “thank you” to everyone who has watched it. Get creative, but keep that content coming.
2. Make a quiz based on your talk, and award the winners prizes!
One of the ideas I’m most proud of is a quiz I created for my Instagram story, with questions about my talk. Each question had two answers on the “poll” setting, and I looked through the responses to see who got all of them right. The purpose of this was twofold: The first was to spark intrigue around my talk for followers who maybe had no intention of ever watching it. So, here, I asked questions like, “What main symbolism did I use?” with the two-answer options being “moon phases” and “chairs.”
That was designed to pique interest.
My second purpose was to encourage those who hadn’t watched the talk to do so in order to take the quiz. If they wanted the “prize” (which for you might be anything from a free consultation call to a feature on your social page), they’d take the time to watch the talk.
Hello Fresh has similarly used quizzes on its company Instagram story to drive engagement, asking cute, food-related questions such as, “True / False: The peel of a kiwi is inedible.” To see the answer or continue the quiz, the user must “swipe up,” leading to the Hello Fresh website. Genius!
3. Take advantage of mailing lists.
Of course, I also put the talk into my weekly newsletter. Newsletters reach readers who are of an entirely different mindset. Someone who is taking the time to read through a long email likely has the time to watch a video — and it’s easily linked to right there! If you don’t have a mailing list, ask friends to include a link in their own lists.
Tyler Lessard, vice president of marketing at Vidyard, shared on that company’s blog that, “Emails with video content as the primary CTA generate higher click-through rates on average, and even using the word ‘video’ in the subject can boost open rates.” So, yes, you can use that tidbit of knowledge when asking your friends for a piece of their newsletter real estate.
4. Host a contest awarding the winner of the “nth” view.
Right around the 495 view mark, I had an idea: What if I awarded a cup of coffee to the 500th viewer? This person would send a screenshot of the video count confirming 500 views and win the prize. Well, not only did my plan work, but it worked too well — I got six messages with screenshots! So, I chose the person who sent the screenshot first. And then I repeated the same contest for the 600th view.
Gamifying social media engagement with contests like this has been all the rage, and can be done in a number of different ways, such as asking followers to tag three people for a chance to win, or having them post their own content with a hashtag you created.
5. Add the link to your email signature.
Finally, don’t discount the power of your email signature! I added a simple line: “Watch my TEDx talk, ‘Big Enough,’ here.” That also gave me a little boost in views. I chose to keep my signature line subtle, but you can highlight your new signature addition to make sure email recipients see it. And yes, it works. Richard Hanna is a marketing agency professor at Babson College, who said of the power of emails: “We’re actively engaged in reading material related to what we’re doing, and we pay more attention to the signature.”
So, when your big TEDx day arrives, be sure to follow up with some or all of these ideas. Using my five creative tips, your YouTube videos will start attracting views in no time. And, that’s the point, right? Here’s to your TEDx talk!