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Getting and delivering a TEDx Talk (or any type of fantastic video content) is only the beginning of the journey for that video. What comes next is how you get more people to watch the incredible thing you’ve created.

Other content creators will often ask what I did to get my TEDx talk on the skill of humor to over 5 million views. I wish I could tell you that I had a specific process with exacting results, but the truth is I tried a bunch of things and also just got lucky. I delivered a talk I was proud of that seems to resonate with people and has steadily grown in popularity over time.

With that said, I think there are some strategies you can use to get the video in front of more people.

Ideas for Promoting Your TEDx Video

  1. Watch the talk! Yes, you should watch your own talk so you remind yourself of how you did AND how the video came across (plus every view helps, especially early on). While watching, be on the lookout for short snippets you can use for promotional posts (see #3).
  2. Share the video with your friends, family, and fans. Think of your dearest fans and share it with them. They’ll be excited to see you in action and won’t care if your talk only has a few hundred or thousand views. Encourage them to like and comment on the video so that the video shows engagement early on.
  3. Share the video on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn). Your first couple of posts can be, “Check out my talk!” Pin one of those posts so that it’s the top social media post on each profile. Then schedule out a series of posts that include snippets of your content (see #1). This could be in the form of a picture quote, a short clip from the talk, or positive/funny comments on the video. I also included a picture from my TEDx talk on my online dating profiles at the time and know it led to at least a couple of additional views because of it.
  4. Publish a post or a newsletter about your video. Share the release of the talk with your followers. However, instead of just saying “here it is,” add some value. Either include the story about the experience, give the transcript, or share key takeaways from the talk.
  5. Suggest the video to sites that align with your talk. Submit it to the appropriate subreddit (such as the one for TED Talks), email it to editors of sites like Upworthy, and share it with bloggers who write on the topic you speak about.
  6. Add the link to your email signature. After your name and whatever other signature details you want to include, add a link along the lines of “Check out my TEDx talk on TOPIC.”
  7. Post the video to your website. If it makes sense, add the video as the first thing people see when they visit your site. Don’t make the video autoplay because nobody likes that, but create a compelling image / call-to-action so that people want to click play to hear the talk. Note: One exception to autoplay is if you use the video (muted) as the background on one of those fancy parallax sites, then definitely have it autoplay.
  8. Send the video to previous clients. If you run a business (such as speaking or coaching) related to your talk, reach out to former clients to let them know you’ve given a TEDx talk on the topic. Mention that you wanted to share the talk as it could serve as a refresher for their attendees (and may be a good reminder for that client to book you again).
  9. Send the video to potential clients. When you start interacting with potential clients, send them your video so that they can “see you in action.” This works for incoming inquiries or people you’ve met at a networking event (assuming they express interest in learning more about what you do).
  10. Post about the “aftermath” of the video coming out. Share with people what’s happened since the talk. It could be an analysis of the impact the talk has had or you reacting to the comments on the video. You can also post when the video hits certain milestones. This will remind people that they can check it out and starts to give social proof that other people like the video. Milestones to consider: 1,000 views, 10,000 views, 100,000 views, 250,000 views, 500,000 views, and/or 1,000,000+ views. No, a single new view or comment is not a milestone.

You’ve done the hard work of creating a compelling piece of content, don’t let it go to waste by not doing the hard work of sharing it with more people. Have your own idea of how to promote your video? Share it in the comments!

 

Two years ago today, my TEDx talk on the skill of humor was uploaded to the TEDx YouTube Channel. To say it has changed my life is both an exaggeration and an understatement. It’s an exaggeration because regardless of how it was received, I would have continued on my mission to make the world funnier so that it may be effective-r. And it’s an understatement because I could not have predicted what would happen once the video went live.

To celebrate the two year anniversary, I decided to take a look at why humor is an idea worth spreading through the lens of what’s happened with the video. I already believed humor had the ability to create change, that’s why I gave the talk and what we’ve been working on for the last ten years at Humor That Works, but I wanted to look at the impact the TEDx talk has had, not on me, but on other people around the world. (To see a personal look at the experience, you can see last year’s post on The Process of Giving a TEDx Talk.)

The YouTube Video

The easiest place to start is with the YouTube video itself. After all, that’s where the viewing happens (unless you’re big into pirating already free TEDx videos). As of the writing of these words (June 12, 2019), the video has 4,702,914 views, 89,637 likes, 2,351 dislikes, and 2,256 comments.

For a little context, 136,389 talks have been uploaded to the TEDx YouTube channel, with the skill of humor currently being the 76th most viewed talk (top 0.6%). But that comes with an important caveat: some TEDx talks are also elevated to the TED brand.

For example, Thomas Suarez’s talk on app development has 3 million views on the TEDx YouTube Channel, good for #134. But his talk is also on the TED YouTube Channel with 6.8 million views and the TED website with another 9 million, so the TEDx channel ranking comes with a grain of salt. Still, 4.7 million views suggests that perhaps there’s something to the idea of humor.

I also think it’s fair to say that the talk has been well-received. The percentage of likes (89,637) to dislikes (2,351) is at 97.44%, comparable to the top five talks on TEDx. The percentage of likes compared to the overall number of views is also the highest (1.91%) among the most viewed.

Top TEDx Videos

That same table shows that the engagement on the skill of humor–in this case the number of comments compared to the number of views–is also pretty solid and is on-par with the top five as well (0.05%). If we believe these other talks to be worth sharing, numerically the skill of humor belongs there as well.

Of course, if an idea is worth spreading, it should actually be spread to others. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the YouTube analytics for the talk so I can’t give exact numbers, but some Google searching shows that the video has indeed been shared. It has been embedded on a number of websites (including the World Economic Forum), discussed on podcasts, included in lists of TEDx talks to watch, and posted on most forms of social media, including nearly 5,000 shares on Facebook:

number of facebook shares

This suggests the idea has spread, though I am still waiting for it to get popular on MySpace and Google+ to confirm its legitimacy.

The YouTube Comments

While views are a great metric to follow (and fantastic for the ego), they don’t tell the whole story. Another interesting place to explore is the YouTube comments. People are often wary of exploring the depths of YouTube comments as they can be a harrowing place, but I’ve found most of the comments on the talk encouraging, enlightening, and/or hilarious.

The comments range from positive compliments about the talk to utter disbelief that so many people could possibly enjoy this “unfunny, waste of time.” There’s also a subset of comments dedicated to additional celebrities I’m similar to (including Neil Patrick Harris, Chandler Bing, and SpongeBob SquarePants).

Of the 2,256 comments, the most popular one (by likes) is:

The mark of something funny on the internet

A true compliment in the days of internet to be sure. The most popular comment (by replies) is:

Isosceles Triangle pickup line

Not to be outdone, a number of the replies are additional math pickup lines, including this great combo of math puns:

Math replies

Of the positive comments, there are people praising the talk and sharing how it’s helped them broaden their perspective:

Phenomenal speech

There are those who said it spoke to them:

Straight up love this

Side note: I’m not sure even my mom would watch the talk five times on repeat, so I appreciate the support Raul.

And there were others who were very enthusiastic (i.e. ALL CAPS) in their praise:

Video is genius

The neutral comments consists of quotes from the talk:

Human Error Messages Quote

Lots of love for my grandma (and rightfully so):

Grandmother is savage

And some pretty hilarious digs at me:

You can hear the nerd in his voice
Forehead is so big it has its own sense of humor

And my personal favorite:

I would pay to hear how this guy sounds on helium.

The negative comments are mostly about how unfunny I am:

Staged and Forced

Though luckily I do have some supporters defending me:

I thought he was pretty okay

Thank you for the backup, Jack ;).

In fact, you can see a parallel between some of the positive comments and some of the negative:

Positive and Negative Comments

Going through the comments helped me realize something important: my ego wants to be liked by everyone, to be heralded as a hilarious person by all humans, get elevated to TED.com, and maybe even have a Netflix humor special someday. While the last two desires are tangible goals that may one day come true, the first two are impossible.

By looking at the comments on what, by many metrics, is a “successful” talk, I realized my goal is not to please everyone because I can’t. If you have an idea worth spreading, some people are going to be against it, or going to be against your way of doing it, no matter what you say or do.

Instead, my goal is to provide value to the people who resonate with my message. Every ounce of energy I devote to the haters is an ounce of energy I could have been using to serve the believers (even the ones that think I’m just pretty okay).

The Direct Messages

All of the stats above speak to a quantified look at why the skill of humor is an idea worth spreading, or rather, how it has spread. But the biggest indicator that humor is worth spreading comes from the messages I’ve received since the talk came out–the emails, DMs, and in-person conversations I’ve had with folks who felt compelled to reach out because of a 19-minute video on the internet.

That people would take the time to seek me out, write a message, and hit send, is incredibly humbling to me. I’ve never watched a video on YouTube and then taken the time to contact the person who created it (though I am going to start). The willingness to reach out speaks to their willingness to express gratitude, the impact of the talk, or more likely, a combination of the two.

Over the last two years, I’ve received 256 messages via email and social media that directly quote the TEDx talk as their reason for reaching out. That’s just 0.005% of the number of views the talk has received, but it is an average of more than one message every three days.

And the messages have come from all range of services:

Messages from all forms of media.

I’ve yet to receive a shout out via messenger pigeon or smoke signal, but I am holding out hope.

And they’ve come from all over the world, representing 44 countries, 28 states, and six continents (what’s going on Antarctica?!?):

Messages from all over the world

The fact that messages have come from around the globe speaks to the fact that humor is a universal value, something that isn’t specific to one region or type of person, but rather is a fundamental human experience. And that we live in a cool time where the world is more connected.

A majority (58%) of the 200+ messages were just quick shout outs and thank yous to say how they enjoyed the talk:

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

How they needed some good humor:

You put a smile on my face for 19 minutes straight

Or how it’s prompted more humor:

Some of the messages were words of encouragement for my self-proclaimed nerdery:

Go on wichyo nerdy self

And offers to partake in nerdy activities:

Are you interested in joining our D&D session?

The answer is yes, I’m always down for D&D (unless it’s Season 8 of Game of Thrones).

The Events

There were two other types of messages that further suggest there is value in spreading the idea of humor. The first were inquiries about my work, including one from a surprising source:

Your TEDx talk was fantastic and I feel FBI employees could really benefit from hearing from you.

39 of the 256 messages I received were like the one above, asking me to come speak to an organization. Another 12 were to be on a podcast. I really enjoy seeing these types of messages because I’m passionate about what I do and love any opportunity to talk about the value of humor in our work and lives.

But moreso (or maybe equally so), requesting a talk or interview is direct evidence that the idea is worth spreading because it’s literally asking me to spread the message. It means that event organizers and podcast hosts saw the talk and thought, “I want my audience to hear this message.”

Those 39 inquiries have led to 18 events in three countries, plus four more coming up within the next year and four more that are still being discussed. It’s resulted in me sharing the message of humor in front of ~5,000 people live.

It’s also generated 12 appearances on podcasts ranging in topic from sales to training to work-life balance. If you add in an estimated number of listens from podcasts I was a guest on, along with the views from videos that were posted from the aforementioned events, my best guess for total people impacted from extensions of the TEDx talk is ~50,000. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 4.7 million views on the talk itself, but evidence that the idea is spreading.

But there is one last type of message I want to explore further, one that truly speaks to what has happened since the video went live.

The Impact

Everything written above has been fun to explore. Doing a deep dive into the statistics of the YouTube video, exploring the comments, analyzing the messages, and thinking about the additional events the talk has led to all touch on the value of humor (and is perhaps a tiny bit vain).

But the greatest indicator that the skill of humor is an idea worth spreading comes from one last category of messages I’ve received.

I was watching your TED talk and I have never been more inspired about comedy than today. I went to your website as soon as I finished watching the video. Thank you for inspiring the uninspired.

They are the messages from people talking about how they’ve been inspired by the talk. Or how they’re going to make a change:

I've just watched your TED video by chance and I had to tell you that it made my day. I've been taken life too seriously lately and your speech is going to make a difference starting tomorrow. You have no idea how much you helped me

I’ve received notes about how it’s provided them encouragement:

just watched your skill of humor video on youtube and just wanted to tell you how genuinely enlightening it was.

And that it’s given them inspiration:

Deeply resonated and inspired by your Ted talk.

Or motivation:

Anyway I just wanted to say your TedTalk set it off for me this year. And it’s the reason I bought your audiobook. It is very inspiring and I have added your tips to a passion project I am working on to make a Behavior Design game.

For others, they felt a sense of validation:

Andrew - I watched your TedX talk and really enjoyed it - found it really validating, in fact. Just thought you might like to connect with an INFP... or a socially-anxious clown, if you will ;)

Or that it helped them in some way:

Hey, I know you're probably pretty busy so sorry if I'm bothering you, but I just wanted to say thank you.

Side Note: It is never a bother to hear from someone who reaches out; I respond to every single one of these messages.

To hear from people how you have positively impacted them is one of the greatest gifts you can receive. It puts into perspective why you do what you do and justifies the (metaphorical) blood, (figurative) sweat, and (occasionally literal) tears that go into it. But people don’t send these messages because of me, they send them because of the idea, the value and power of humor that is so desperately needed, and too often forgotten, in today’s world.

Perhaps the best articulation of this comes from an email I received from a former coaching client after the talk came out:

After watching your Ted Talk I realized a large part of why I am enjoying myself and my work so much is because my team and I laugh almost literally all day long. We are a small team that gets along so well and we love to laugh! My plan is never to leave :)

So many people assume that work has to feel like “work.” That it’s something you have to do just to survive. But what if, by using the skill of humor, we could enjoy not just our work but all parts of our lives a little bit more. What if we could better connect with the humans around us and better manage the ups and downs of daily life? What if we could all be a little funnier and have a lot more fun? To me, and quite a few others, that is an idea worth spreading.

If you haven’t watched the talk yet, you can do that here: the skill of humor. If you want to learn more about humor, check our site at Humor That Works or pick up the Humor That Works Book.

I had the privilege of speaking at TEDxOhioStateUniversity in February of this year. The video is finally available online:

TEDxEast. by Keith Bendis

I attended the 2012 TEDxEast event last week and I was blown away–the variety and quality of the speakers was incredible. Here are my notes from the awesome event. You can also check out some pictures on the Humor That Works Facebook Page.

SESSION 1 – THE LEFT BRAIN

The Other Side of Separation (Keith Yamashita)

Keith Yamashita, a business innovator and consultant, talked about surviving separation after a loss and what it means for how we live now.

  • On the other side of separation is connection.
  • Life is what we choose. Fear or love.

Titan: A World of Both Strange and Familiar (Oded Ahronson)

Planetary Scientist Oded Ahronson shared the story of the Cassini mission to Titan.

  • Titan–a moon around Saturn.
  • Create a test to find out if there is water underneath Titan’s ice surface by reapplying spinning egg test of soft or hard boiled egg.
  • Life in the Universe? The Drake Equation

The Golden Ratio (Matthew Cross)

Business Consultant Matthew Cross introduced the idea of the Golden Ratio.

  • Also known as Phi and the Divine Proportion.
  • The ratio: ~1.618:1.
  • Camera Awesome App — uses golden ratio to frame picture.

Unlikely Targets of Modern Day Vaccines (Dr. Kim Janda)

Dr. Kim Janda presented his work on using vaccinations for more than the “typical” diseases.

  • First lab vaccine came from Pasteur, came about by chance because of an extended vacation.
  • Addiction isn’t a moral failure of the individual but a brain problem.
  • Trying to find vaccines for drug addiction. The vaccine works by blunting the rewarding effect (no pleasure from using the drug)

The Muslims are Coming! (Dean Obeidallah)

Comedian Dean Obeidallah gave a stand-up performance and discussed his work using stand up comedy to counter Islamaphobia.

Resolving the Health Care Crisis (T. Colin Campbell)

Dr. T Colin Campbell discussed his take on how the health care system in the US could be improved.

  • Whats missing from our health care? Nutrition.
  • 80-10-10 diet is the best diet in his view (80% carbs, 10% fat, 10% protein).

Gillian Grassie. By Keith Bendis

Musical Performance (Gillian Grassie)

Gillian Grassie, a singer / songwriter / harpist, gave the background of the inspiration for one of her songs and then performed it.

You Are Not an Ape (Jon Marks)

Dr. Jon Marks discussed evolution and racism.

  • Decades ago we distinguished between what we are and what we were.
  • You are not your ancestry, nor are your DNA. Your genetics are simply who you were, not who you are.

SESSION 2 – THE RIGHT BRAIN

The Creation: Plus 40 (Carmen deLavallade)

Dancer Carmen deLavallade performed a piece titled The Creation: Plus 40.

Between Art, Architecture, and Monument (Maya Lin)

Maya Lin, an artist and architect, talked about her creative process and her current projects fusing art and architecture. See more of Maya’s work on Artsy.

  • There is tension between the straight and the curve.
  • Her work is a tripod of all three, can’t have one without the other.
  • Memorials are between art and architecture
  • “I do research for months, years, then put it away and try to create.”
  • Whatismissing.net

The Gap (Julian Crouch)

Keith Yamashita interviewed Designer / Director Julian Crouch about his work.

  • Success is tricky because people want you to repeat THAT success (the same thing you already did).
  • Failure can be an amazing cleansing.
  • Be yourself more. Do the thing you loved when you were 8.

Nix, Nada, Nameless (Peter Wegner)

Artist Peter Wegner talked about his work and projects.

  • Zero, Nameless, Speck are all real towns in the US.
  • What makes the buildings possible is the “city in the sky” (buildings made of sky in the space between 2 buildings on the street.)
  • Making the invisible visible.

How to Pass, Kick, Film and Run (Charles Atlas)

Charles Atlas, filmmaker and video artist, shared how he captures dance on film.

A Public Place (Oskar Eustis)

Oskar Eustis, an artistic director, talked about his work on Angels in America.

  • Change can feel like death.
  • You have to give time and space for creativity (like blocking downfield for a running back).
  • Art and creativity is not a commodity. One way to keep something from being a commodity is by making it free.

Meet Wendy (Matthias Hollwich)

Architect Matthias Hollwich shared the process of how he created his most recent project.

  • Creativity is about an exhaustion of ideas… and then one idea after that.
  • After generating a list ideas that didn’t work, went back through them and selected what they like about each idea. Molded them together into something new.

The Song Makes a Space (Michael Friedman)

Michael Friedman, composer and lyricist, talked about his creative process and shared a song from his upcoming musical.

  • Fortress of Solitude, the telling of a story told through pop songs.
  • Which comes first, the music or the lyrics? Both. Neither. Depends.
  • Why is this person singing? (Its not good enough to say, “because its a musical.”)
  • Make it simple, not simplistic.

SESSION 3 – FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Excerpts from Beauty (Jane Comfort)

Jane Comfort and Company, a dance company, performed excerpts from an upcoming performance.

Estranged Labour (Samantha Sleeper)

Fashion Designer Samantha Sleeper shared insights from her clothing line and explained why she uses local labor.

Musical Performance (PS22 Chorus)

The boys and girls choir from PS22 sang a collection of songs.

PS22 Chorus

Biology of the Mind: Who We Love (Helen Fisher)

Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, talked about the biology of love.

  • 2 aspects of personality: nurture and nature; estimate 40-60% decided by nature.
  • 4 groups of personalities: explorers, builders, directors, negotiatiors.
    • Explorers: Dopamine/Norepherine, sensation seeking, live in big cities
    • Builders: Serotonin, conventional, numeric creativity, “more close friends”,
    • Director: Testosterone, analytic, rule based, direct. Use “Real”
    • Negotiators: Estrogen/Oxytocin, big picture, empathetic, indecisive, unforgiving
  • Love: Explorers and Builders want people like themselves. Directors and Negotiators want opposites of themselves.

Defining Photography (Antonio Bolfo)

Photographer Antonio Bolfo shared his worked and discussed the importance of perspective in art.

  • How do we make photos stand out? Finding a personal perspective.
  • Perspective is the key to photography. What did the photgrapher want you to believe?

Be Your Own Superman (Cassandra Lin)

Cassandra Lin, a 13 year-old social entrepreneur, shared how she was able to impact change in her community.

  • Steps to getting things done: 1) identify your allies; 2) Find adults to the work; 3) make sure everyone makes money; 4) keep it simple.
  • Do things for people (create the first draft, start the project, etc) instead of asking them to do it from scratch.

Dirty Minds (David Pizarro)

Psychologist David Pizarro talked about the emotion of disgust.

  • Disgust is one of the easiest emotions to elicit.
  • When something disgusting touches something clean that thing becomes disgusting (not clean).
  • Thus it can be used for politics and linking disgusting things with your target.
  • Signs reminding of washing hands increases political and moral conservatism.

SESSION 4 – REFRAME

Musical Performance (Julie Reumert)

Opera Singer Julie Reumert performed with an orchestra.

Julie Reumert

City as Platform (Beth Coleman)

Dr. Beth Coleman shared her dream of engaging strangers in urban areas.

  • Turn your city into a playground.
  • How do we use technology to be heads up (aka interacting with each other and the world) instead of head down (consumed in our personal lives).

Visual Anonymity (Sam Gregory)

Sam Gregory, a human rights activist, talked about the importance of anonymity in a world with social media.

Poetry of Misunderstanding (Ross Martin)

Creative SWAT Team Leader Ross Martin shared how the understanding and misunderstanding of poetry is important to creativity.

  • The best we can hope for is not to be understood, but to misunderstood by great minds.
  • People will not receive your work the way you anticipate it.
  • The world moves forward by creative minds using things in ways beyond our intention.

Prodigious Serendipity (Jeff Carter)

Jeff Carter, an innovator and creative, discussed how radical change occurs.

  • The audacity of self identity. I am who I say I am.

GERM that Kills Schools (Pasi Sahlberg)

Dr. Pasi Sahlberg shared what is helping schools Finland rank among the top in the world.

  • 3 reasons why Finland schools are doing well: 1) open to learn from other countries; 2) have never wanted to be #1; 3) take teachers seriously.
  • GERM — Global Educational Reform Movement
  • Accountability is what is left when responsibility is taken away.

Mahmoud Natout

How I Improved my Iteracy (Mahmoud Natout)

Educator / thinker Mahmoud Natout talked about the linear and nonlinear representation of life.

  • When presented with ambiguity, we project our feelings.
  • A refreshing bio would be about presenting our failures in addition to our successes. Do this?
  • We represent our life linearly. Why? 1) linear is predictable, clear and comfortable. 2) education told us to.
  • Linear representation leads to linear values (they are binary, either succes or failure).

There you have hit. Some ideas worth spreading from TEDxEast 2012.