Conan O’Brien didn’t know jack about the Web until he was kicked out of NBC’s late-night line-up.The network and Conan’s The Tonight Show staff ran his sites for him.
But as Brian Stelter at the New York Times tells us, he had to learn how to take the Web into his own hands and rally fans — fast.
As Stelter writes, Conan and his staff succeeded by using a time-tested Web strategy: “Sometimes, it seems, it is better to embrace an existing online audience than to try to create a new one.”
Here’s what he did:
- ConanOBrien.com is owned by a squatter. So his team registered TeamCoco.com — a name his fans chose, which endears them to him even more.
- Jeff Ross, his executive producer, and a few personal friends convinced him to sign up for Twitter in February. He sent his first Tweet from his dining room table.
- He gathered thousands of fans within hours. Then he made a brilliant choice for the first person he followed: A teenager from Michigan named Sarah Killen. A media frenzy exploded.
- Now he generates fake Twitter fights with celebrities like Justin Bieber to get attention.
- His site encourages fans to join the “I’m With Coco” Facebook group. The page is run by Conan’s fans, but his staff keep in touch with the administrators and add links on the site’s Wall.
- He announced his tour on Twitter, which sold out locations all over the country within days. The tour poster includes an image that became a viral hit when Conan left NBC. Smart.
- His team considered a Web show once NBC banned him from hosting a TV show until September. But they knew the quality, and revenue, would not be up to snuff or support Conan’s entire staff.
- As talks with Fox continue, Conan’s producers say they plan to rally his online fans and “cross-pollinate” television and the Web.
- TeamCoco.com is a simple site right now. But soon get more features, including a tour blog by Aaron Bleyaert, who formerly blogged for The Tonight Show site.
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