Internet Famous- Part 2Ã¢â‚¬Â¦the Marina Orlova Story
For the naysayers who don’t believe the Internet can produce celebrity-status, I initially anticipated only doing a two-part series on the Internet Famous. However after the attention that surfaced from my “Nick Thune” and “Top Ten Internet SuperStars of 2009,” features, I slowly realized that the Internet is a virtual breeding ground for building (if not full-blown celebrity) then at least… micro-celeb status. The number of budding digi-stars are growing at a phenomenal rate online, with social media as its major catalyst, and some of their stories are downright incredible.
I tracked down some of the Internet’s biggest overnight sensations to see if they are truly exceeding their 15 minute of fame expiration date. While some have settled into lives of quiet anonymity ¢â‚¬â€ others are now making grand livings off their Net-based fame. Living beyond the Warholian dream, most of these innovative entrepreneurs are turning self-promotion into an art form. This is now the second part of non-ending series that will track the lives of the pioneers that exploring fertile territory to plow on the World Wild Web!
Marina Orlova is another superstar emerging from this digital landscape and her story is not only about becoming Internet Famous… at its core, its also about how one can achieve the American dream with just a little ingenuity and whole hell of a lot of online imagination.
Born in 1980 in the Nizhni Novgorod region of Russia, Marina attended the State University and received two teaching degrees while specializing in Philology and the English language. Upon graduation, she started teaching high school students in her hometown. However the opportunity was limited from a world-view perspective and when she got the chance to emigrate to the US, she seized it. About 5 years ago under an Au Pair program she was assigned to teaching an autistic boy in the States. It was during this period of time Marina had the opportunity to perfect her English skills, and deliberate on her next career move. When a friend introduced her to YouTube in 2006, she quickly came to an epiphany: “Here is how I can teach, not just 20 students, like back in Russia, …but rather thousands of students all over the world.”
Marina’s take on branding oneself is different from some of her counterparts. In a recent interview I conducted with her, she noted: “I used YouTube and YouTube ONLY to brand myself for the first couple years. Since my product is videos (and since) YouTube owns something like 60% of all video traffic…it made no sense for me to waste my energies elsewhere.” In less than 3 years, having produced over 400 videos with an explosive 183,117,864 views, she is currently ranked as the 16th most popular YouTube Celebrity tallying over 200,000 YouTube subscribers. In a recent video, she celebrated this landmark achievement:
In conjunction with her presence on YouTube, Marina also designed her own website. “I can give a more personal experience to the fans on my website and I can email my 50,000 members from time to time. Lately I have been using Twitter as my third outlet. I signed up a couple months ago (actually I had to email them as someone registered my username, but since I own the trademark on “hotforwords”, they were kind enough to give me my screen name.).. I am now up to 12,000 followers on Twitter, and it is working as a great way to keep driving people back to my website.”
Her advice to others that want to emulate her business model is to “set up one major (social network) outlet, like YouTube, and simultaneously set up a website and a Twitter account, all using the same name. Use YouTube as your sieve to then drive traffic to your website, where you will communicate with people on a more one-to-one level.. then use Twitter on your iPhone or Blackberry to let people know what you are up to, with pictures as well.. and use that as an additional sieve to again drive traffic back to your website!”
Today, Marina Orlova is often described as “too hot for words” and a “cunning linguist (puns intended)!” While Marina exploits her “blonde-bombshell” looks to the max, appearing scantily-clad in her video clips, she is far from being an “air head”. To the contrary, while being attractive is certainly an asset on the Internet, many would be hard pressed to compete with Ms. Orlova on an intellectual level. As she describes it, “intelligence is sexy!” And as testimony to her online popularity, her video on the derivation of the word “HOOKER” has received over 3 million views on YouTube.
As you probably have already guessed, Marina’s demographic is predominantly male (80% men and 20% women). However, differing from other attractive Internet Babes, according to Marina her audience actually skews older than the typical YouTube audience. Instead of YouTube’s typical “12 years old… my audience is 92% above the age of 21.. and 25% are between the ages of 45-54!”
More than just a One-Net wonder, if you want to catch Ms. Orlova on another medium, she appears once every other month or so on Fox’s TV Show, the O’Reilly Factor. Initially cautious about appearing with Mr. O’Reilly because she “was warned that Bill was a tough guy and to watch out,” she was pleasantly surprised at her reception. “I have had nothing but an amazing time every time I have appeared! It gives Bill a chance to get away from politics for a while and to discuss something he loves! And that is words!” So she discusses “word origins that may be timely.. such as political words during the election (and) romantic words on Valentine’s Day!”
As she describes the difference between the Internet and TV: “The Internet is all about 2 minute clips. PERIOD! People are not used to watching things longer than that. Which is very different from television where people will watch a half-hour show. So that is the disadvantage of the Internet.. you have to be brief. But the advantages are, you can reach soooo many more people.. they can tune into your videos any time of the day…they can watch them as many times as they want.. they can email them to their friends.. you can interact with your audience online. All of these things are difficult, if not impossible to do on TV.”
Looking forward, Marina just finished writing a book for Harper Collins, aptly titled: “Hot For Words” that will come out in August, 2009. “I am working on a game show idea for the net that could potentially exist on TV as well. But since everything seems to be moving toward the Internet, I will continue to keep making fun, interesting videos online! It’s a great job and I LOVE it!”
This month Marina can be found at the Cannes Film Festival where she will be interviewing and filming celebrities on a yacht for upcoming videos. So stayed tuned as our favorite word-smith continues to brand her celebrity-status. She’s definitely a lady that has a lot to talk about and in a language that is never lost in translation!
Continuing with our Internet Famous series, let me know which online superstars you would like to learn more about? Your comments and feedback are always welcome and feel free to twitter me at: http://twitter.com/roncallari with your ideas!