In the past 24 hours, I've been quoted on CNN and on Mashable, which caused my Twitter following to go up significantly. How did I pull off such a magical marketing stunt? Well; it was just a case of keeping my wits about me, and wondering how I could bring something new.
Yesterday morning, I went for breakfast at the best Polish restaurant in London, Mamuśka. I decided to do what I always do: Keep my eyes open and look for fun things around town. I didn't carry a 'proper' camera, but my iPhone, as usual does the trick. The first thing I spotted was a funny sign:
Someone had changed an Elephant and Castle sign, so the road sign actually included an elephant and a castle. I thought it was witty, and I tweeted it. Next thing I noticed, was that the tweet was getting a significant amount of engagement:
At that point, I actually felt a little bit bad: I wished I'd captured the sign better, more creatively. This was just me pointing my phone, snapping a photo, and wandering on. That made me wonder: There must have been hundreds of people who have taken photos of that sign; some must have taken photos that were better than mine, right?
Trying again. Trying harder.
After breakfast, I walked back across London Bridge, and to my surprise and delight, there was some sort of marketing stunt and/or art installation in progress: The whole bridge was covered in colours:
This time, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of people taking photographs. I figured I'd probably struggle to add something fresh and new to the scene... Or did I?
I had a bit of a brainwave: Wouldn't it be awesome if I could capture the movement of people, the expanse of the colours, and the final punchline somehow? I'd have loved to have a track and a dolly, but given that I only had my phone... I reached for Hyperlapse by Instagram, and created a little video:
Of course, I also stuck the video on Twitter, and tagged it with any tags I figured would work well.
It turned out that that was a good idea indeed. Over the next few hours, the tweeted video was shared, re-shared, and favourited a fair bit. At that point, it became clear that yes, it turns out I was able to add something unique (even though I just walked across the bridge just like everybody else): I had one of the only videos of the colourful bridge. Which was the reason, I'm sure, that my little video was featured on CNN:
and on Mashable:
What can you learn?
Well, there's a few things you can learn here:
- As a photographer, everyone has the same opportunities, but you have to get creative to see things a little bit differently than anyone else.
- Keep your eyes peeled - even on a boring morning commute, you may come across something you can capture
- Think about storytelling - Yes, I may have had one of the few videos (which is valuable in itself), but the video itself tells a story: Commuters, mostly in suits, walking on a colourful carpet, ending on the 'Love Mondays' punchline at the end. It's dead simple–but nobody else did it.
- And, of course, finally: The speed at which something is shared is paramount. If I hadn't shared and tagged the content immediately, it wouldn't have been spread far and wide.