[Ed. Note: This is a guest article from Break Media’s CEO Keith Richman who spent a little time hunting down some underdogs—the Best Web Videos of 2009 that didn’t break through. Their flagship site Break.com is known for its male-friendly and click-worthy comedy vids, so his list leans a little in that direction. Most are virals, or really not-so-virals, with a few foreign commercials in there, though it’s nice to see a web series make his list.]

Best Web Videos 2009The end of the year is a natural time to take stock of the most popular online videos that captivated us all year long. But just because a video is funny, creative, and/or clever doesn’t mean it will automatically become a web sensation. Web video content creators (everyone from college kids in their dorm room to marketers creating branded videos) are learning the hard way that there is a lot that goes into creating a viral video, beyond just putting something good out and hoping for distribution via organic word of mouth. In fact, the surprise viral online hit is increasingly becoming an anomaly, and without a strategic plan in place, even the coolest, and most novel videos online will have difficulty achieving blockbuster numbers.

To illustrate this, I’ve compiled a list of a few of the top videos posted online this year that I think could have been much bigger hits. Why didn’t these videos go viral? It’s simple: no distribution. If you’re a web video content creator, producer, director, or publisher, you need to consider distribution and marketing for your video as the essential way to gain visibility online. So what does that mean? Well, first of all it’s important to make sure your video is placed on the destination site(s) that will reach your target audience. Decide if it’s best to post it first on a niche site where you know your video will be well-received, or if it’s better to take a broader distribution approach (usually it’s the former). Know the correct channels that will target an aggregated audience of loyal followers, especially if your video is the first installment in what will be a recurring web series.

And yes, social media is part of the equation. Determine which social media platforms you are going to use to plug your video. Twitter and Facebook are obvious but effective choices. Marketing will be a key component to making sure your video gains traction online.

Here is a collection of original videos, branded videos, and user-generated videos from across the Web that make my list of “the best videos of 2009 that nobody ever saw”:

  • Johnnie Walker (280k views)- “The Man Who Walked Around The World” is an online video gem, in that it is rare to see something as high quality as this on the Internet that really works. And this does—it’s got all of the elements and quality you expect to see on TV or film, packaged in a Web clip.

  • Bondi Beach Gets Flipped (340k views)-This branded content video created by Flip Camera has a great energy to it—you just can’t take your eyes off of it.

  • Raisin Bran Reformed Alien (143k views)- Raisin Bran created a really funny and clever branded content video, narrated by alien Miles Melman. The alien featured here is reminiscent of the Geico Gecko—someone (or should I say “something”) unlikely takes on very human characteristics.

  • Bouncy Ball Flash Mob (15k views) is a childlike clip. While Flash mobs are getting kind of tiring online, this video offers a really creative take that differs from the norm.

  • Old Friends is a good sketch comedy series that hones in on something everyone can relate to—bumping into the one college friend you never want to see again. Its success at capturing something familiar and relatable is why it makes this list.
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