This year we worked on a destination video for the town of Northwich, which ended up being viewed over 50,000 times. Considering our videos shared from the same page were getting between 5,000-10,000 views before this, what is it that made this one stand out? And how many people did it take to hit that 50,000-view milestone? We were asking ourselves the same question, so decided to write this blog to share our thought process.
Virality on the Internet is a seemingly unpredictable thing. From Numa Numa kid, Kony 2012 and now the World Record Egg, projects can range from the solo and completely accidental, to the highly calculated team effort, to the throw-away joke post that captures everyone hearts and souls. There are nuances in each of these examples as to how virality works, and each of them was something we considered in the pre-production phase of the Visit Northwich project. In our case it took a large team of people to bring these concepts and ideas together, as intentionally ‘going viral’ takes a whole lot more effort than unintentionally.
Firstly, we needed a project lead. Someone to conceptualise an idea and bring all the components together. Our own recently departed Ben Harris took on this role, and set about figuring out how to create a video that would entertain the people of Northwich and speak to those potential visitors that we wanted to bring in.
Team total = 1
Like Numa Numa Kid, we knew that being down-to-earth and relatable was an important factor in the writing of the script for Visit Northwich. It was important to have the support of the townspeople, as the video would be distributed across Facebook groups made up mainly of those living in the town and we were relying on them sharing the video for our main marketing push. Having a finger on the pulse of the town, and knowing how the townspeople would react to certain turns of phrase is something that the PR team at Solutions 24-7 are highly skilled at, so Ben made sure to review the script with two of their best before sending it off for the clients approval.
Team total = 3
Despite a small budget, it was important for the video to have a high production value. Not only does this help to show off the town in it’s best light, but it also allowed Studio 24-7 to be shown in their best light to the 1000’s of people that saw the video. It pays to show that you know what you’re doing. To this end we opted for a two-man crew. This way we had a camera operator and a sound technician – the best quality visuals and audio for the minimum amount of cost. This was the sweet spot. We’re intentional at Studio 24-7 to only hire ‘flexperts’. That is, people who have an area of expertise, but are not afraid to work outside of it when needs must. Luckily, Ben doubled up as the project lead and camera operator, cutting down the cost of production. So our crew consisted of Ben and Josh, who was a new recruit at the time (this was actually the first project he worked on – exciting!).
Team total = 4
An easy way of boosting your production value and adding a little viral spice (also known as ’newsworthiness’) to your video is to hire some recognisable faces to be your talent. Except, with our client being a local company and us being based in Northwich, we thought it might be a good idea to keep it local. A little bit of research and a whole lot of phone calls lead to us having a cast that mixed a few locals, a local football team and a GB Rower with Olympians Beth Tweddle and Pete Mitchell, as well as BBC Radio DJ Mark Radcliffe. We had a larger cast lined up, however budget and time constraints meant that we had to make our choices. We were pretty pleased with the result!
Team total = 32
Having the talent on board is great, but you need different locations to film them in. Filming in locations usually means getting permission from whoever manages that location. Luckily, the business and landowners around Northwich were really keen to get in on this project and help out, so pretty much everyone we asked to be involved agreed! We owe a big thanks to all involved, as it would not have been possible to get this project off the ground without their help. As you can see, something of this scale slowly starts to stack up the numbers! Some of the locations were public areas owned by the town council, so required permission from the same people, but we still had a huge list of location release forms to deal with. Here’s a list of our locations:
Northwich Town Centre
Anderton Boat Lift
The Lion Salt Museum
Northwich Train Station
Bratt’s of Northwich
Marks & Spencer
Brio Leisure Centre
Northwich Rowing Club
Northwich Vixens Football Club
Hartford School of Gymnastics
The Penny Black – Weatherspoons
The Salty Dog
Team total = 55
In order to get the video signed off for release, it needed checking over by our in-house team, the MD of Studio 24-7 and, of course, the client. With various drafts, cuts and re-edits going on, these people invested a lot of time in making sure the video we released was as perfect as it could be.
Finally, the video needed to be distributed! Luckily for us, the Solutions 24-7 PR team manages the social accounts for our video client, so we went back to them in a nice circular way for the final release of the video. Afterwards, it was up to the public to like, share and comment on the video.
Final team total = 61
As you can see, there’s a lot more that goes into projects like this than meets the eye. Hundreds of hours went into the making of this project, and we didn’t even factor in Josh getting his PfCO drone qualification specifically for this project. Of course, there was always a chance that the video would be a flop and no-one would like it. But we were confident we knew what would encourage people to share. We were spot-on. Our 53,000 views came with over 1,000 shares. All in all, a successful project for Studio 24-7.