(Catch up on last month's ingredient here.)
In 2006 I wrote a blog post on thinkjose.com about a small appliance company in Utah doing something dangerous and in turn creating a viral success selling $400 blenders that could turn a rake into sawdust. Several months later I wrote a feature article for Streaming Media entitled "Giant Web 2.0 Lies" highlighting BlendTec and their runaway video success. BlendTec continues to use the Will It Blend? videos to test their devices' power by blending phones, gaming consoles, cars, and even food over the last six years. With over 120 YouTube videos the company has racked up almost half a million subscribers and over 212 million views on their YouTube.com/Blendtec channel.
The first video the company launched in October of 2006 featured its commercial grade blender attacking a bag of marbles and currently sits at 6 million views. The latest video pits three blenders against the iPad mini, Nexus 7, and Kindle Fire HD, and while I may spoil the ending for you (the blenders win) it may surprise you that in 24 hours it has grabbed 250 thousand views. So what can BlendTec and their Will It Blend? videos add to our list of viral content ingredients? Keep on blending!
The third ingredient is about longevity. The winners in the viral content arena continue to crank out content day after day, year after year. So what is BlendTec doing to maintain their viral dominance and what can we add to our video cookbooks to help us achieve similar results?
The first key for longevity is (shocker) consistency. Those 120 videos Will It Blend? has created since 2006, work out to roughly a video every other week. The recipe for the videos has remained almost exactly the same since the beginning. Cue the cheesy game show music, get CEO Tom Dickson to ask the question, "Will it blend?", throw in a product or celebrity endorsement, and hit the blend button.
Sticking to what has worked for the brand has allowed the company to build a strong viewer base. People who watch the videos know what to expect and are guaranteed a similar viewing experience every time. This consistent platform has allowed BlendTec to be creative with the products it blends and the celebrity guests that have agreed to be on the show. Whether it's blending a toy drifitng car with Ken Block or basketballs with the Harlem Globetrotters, BlendTec's early success and consistency has given it the opportunity to expand the show into new areas.
In this case, longevity also provides for a low cost, simple, and memorable approach to creating content. For six years Will It Blend? has used the exact same theme song, video intro, and formula for creating videos. While it may have added a few lights to the set and put a few motion graphics in, it is obvious that the focus is on the content and not the production. Keeping it simple has saved money and kept the look and feel of the show consistent over the years. Any marketer will tell you about the value of repetition.
Hearing the first few notes of your favorite sitcom's theme song conjurs ideas of what to expect next. Intentional or not, BlendTec has created that same familiar feeling for its viewers. When I hear the cheesy 70's game show theme song and the most unlikely of hosts utter, "Will it blend? That is the question," I know I'm going to watch something get blended into a million pieces.
So if you want to add successful ingredients into your strategy for creating great viral content online, just remember these tips from our friends at BlendTec. Create consistent and regular content. Updates don't have to be every day but stick to a schedule and your viewers will grow to expect it. Use the same themes to provide memorable and long lasting experiences. Consistent content form, graphics, and music will help build your long term success. Using a consistent platform for your videos will allow you to be creative with the variables that you plug into it as you move along. And finally, whether you are blending a competitor's blender or Twilight DVD's, you can never go wrong with doing something a little bit dangerous. Until next time, keep on blending!