Viral Content: Q&A With Creator of Muppets Rapping ‘Hip Hop Hooray’

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Adam Schleichkorn is no stranger to viral success.

The 33-year-old Long Island resident’s most recent hit features Kermit the Frog and friends lip-syncing Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray.” It racked up 300,000 views in the six days since November 30. You can find it on USA Today, The Huffington Post and, likely, your Twitter feed.

In a world where YouTube has 100 hours of video uploaded every minute, it can be tough to stand out, as content marketers know. But Adam has published five videos in the past year that each have more than 50,000 views, including one of Muppets lip-syncing the Beastie Boys that has a million.

Your brand likely can’t use beloved subjects like the Muppets or early 90s rap to distribute your message, but the head of video at digital marketing firm Driven Local has insights into how you can make content spread.

We caught up with Adam a few days after his most recent viral sensation. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: How in the world did you come up with a Muppets rap?

Years and years ago there was a classic viral video of Burt and Ernie rapping. I always loved it, appreciated the style of it.

I used to make actual dogs and cats look like they’re rapping. It was almost impossible because I’d have to catch them at the right moment.

The Muppets always stood out because of that Burt and Ernie video. It was tough, but a lot easier than dogs and cats. About a year ago, I did one to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” It got 500,000 views and a ton of press. Ever since, I’ve sort of turned into the Muppets mash-up guy.

Q: When did you notice “Hip Hop Hooray” taking off?

I posted it Sunday afternoon and did a post on my social media sites. All of a sudden, I did some Google searches and found it on Mashable shortly after posting.

There’s another site called Tastefully Offensive that follows me, and I think that’s a place where a lot of big sites go for content. The author of Tastefully Offensive follows me on Twitter. I thank him every time he posts one of my videos.

Q: It sounds like your fans and followers do your distribution for you. How do you make that happen?

It used to be that making the video was half the battle and then I would have to send it to people.

I consider myself lucky to have fans at sites like Tastefully Offensive and The Huffington Post UK. Whenever I do something well, they post it and that leads to other publications. That’s how this stuff spreads.

Breaking through is almost a miracle. Any time these sites post it, I feel the need to write them a quick note and say I appreciate this post. It’s as genuine as can be. I think that goes a long way and a lot of people overlook that.

There’s so much stuff out there, it’s worth it to take the time to say thanks for giving me a shot. That’s definitely helped me become friendly with some bigger sites.

Q: Now that Hip Hop Hooray is going viral, how do you keep it going?

Now is the point where I have to start being my own PR guy. I plan to send it to sites that posted my last viral but not this one.

Because of how much exposure the video has already received, I don’t expect much. Maybe this one is just not for them.

Q: Why do you make videos? What’s your end goal?

Of course, I’m trying to make a name for myself. I’m trying to solidify myself as a major player in the Internet video scene. Hopefully, my experience and track record is beginning to back that up.

Also, I run the video department for my company. If I keep getting viral videos and keep getting my name out there, it’s a no-brainer for our clients to come to us to do videos. It’s in my best interest to see this thing grow.

Q: You started posting videos to YouTube in 2006, just as the site was starting. What’s different about viral videos now?

It used to be that you’d get featured on YouTube’s main page or on a category section, and that’s how you go viral.

Publications didn’t write articles about videos. That’s kind of a recent thing. Since there’s so much content being uploaded, getting the attention of the big sites is how to get views and go viral.

Q: What’s the next video? Can you give us a hint?

Without saying too much, it will be similar to the Brian Williams rap videos. I plan on doing one of those with a different star. It’s going to be a crazy, tedious task.

Nothing’s guaranteed to go viral, but I have a better grasp of what people want. My next project will take some time, but I’m more motivated than ever now.

Prefer a more practical approach to content marketing? Check out Arik Hanson’s free on-demand webinar now!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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