Viral video how to

Elucidate some general principles about viral videos and then examine at least 3 examples of videos that have gone viral and explain what attributes might have caused this. Conclude with some suggestions for content producers in your area of interest (narrative, for profit, not for profit)

Making a video go viral is not simply about making a good video.  A significant amount of strategy goes into making a video go viral.  Video producers need to take steps in both the production and the promotion phases to increase their chances of achieving a viral video.

Production.  Content still matters, but so do several other things.

  • Good content: while good content does not ensure your video will go viral, it is an essential first step
  • Make content short: suggested length is 15-30 seconds
  • Remix-ready: create content that can easily be remixed by others
  • Don’t blatantly advertise: consumer’s are wary of advertisers and subtle advertising is a much more successful means of creating a viral video
  • Humor: Good humor is always good practice. Embracing parody in a timely manner can often lead to success.
  • Use interesting techniques:  Use production techniques that will intrigue the viewer and make your video stand our from the thousands of other videos being put out every day. Examples of interesting techniques are stop motion, miniatures and time lapses.
  • Shock value: Create videos that make someone second guess if it is real or not.  This will propel people to explore the content more deeply by Googling it and thereby drive traffic to your website
  • Sex appeal: Never fails.
  • Quantity matters. Have lots of videos and release all of the videos at the same time so that viewers can more from one video to the next and be driven to your website.

Promotion.  Small steps along the way can make a big difference in achieving viral-dom.

  • Pump it. Use social media platforms, blogs, forums, email lists and friends to push out the video.
  • Details. Optimize titles and thumbnails to draw attention to your video.  Thumbnails with a face or at least a person have more success.
  • Controversy. Use the comments sections to create fake controversy and draw in other viewers to further the conversation and draw attention to your video.
  • Tagging. Use very unique tags in the beginning when you are trying to gain views.  Use this same tagging in all of your videos.  The process of determining ‘related videos’ is based on tags.  Using the same unique tags in all of your videos will limit the suggested ‘related videos’ and keep the viewer on your content.

Here are some examples:

Click! A LEGO Short Film

This video uses stop motion to intrigue the viewer and set it apart from other videos.  Though the video is not short, the content is excellent.  It is not a blatant advertisement of LEGOs, but it drives interest in the brand by playing on the human drive towards creativity and innovation.

UFO Haiti

This video is short, uses an intriguing title, has shock value and uses the comments section to promote controversy.  This is an example of a video where the content is not paramount to the viral nature of the video.  The promotion of this video led to it going viral.

Sony Bravia

This is a well-done advertisement.  The content is great.  The video uses stop-motion to intrigue the viewer and set the video apart from other videos.  Most importantly, the video is not a blatant advertisement.  While, in the end, the video promotes a product, the content of the video is so creative and innovative that people want to watch it over and over again, regardless of the fact that it is an advertisement.



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