We love to think that videos going viral is something that happens all on its own. That internet users come across something they think is awesome and, before you know it, they’ve shared it so much that everyone’s talking about it. Unfortunately that just isn’t the case. Even the best videos need a bit of a prod. So here are our top tips for achieving a viral video.
Come up with a decent title
Say what it is – don’t be obscure or arty. Think about what you’d say if you were sharing it with your mates: “Here’s a video about _______.” Fill in the blank and you’ve (almost) got your title. Make sure you use keywords in both the title and description.
Tell me a story
Story telling is powerful. We like characters, we like to see what happens to them and we like to see a resolution. Video is the perfect medium to do that. Even if it’s only a short clip, telling as a story will help people stick with it. Don’t just give them a list of facts and figures.
Show some emotion
Think about the last time you shared a video. Chances are it made you feel something – whether it made you laugh, well up, or feel a bit scared. So inject some emotion into your footage. Have a look at the 2014 top viral videos from Time – covering everything from demon babies to covers of ‘Let it go’, the one thing they all have in common is that they evoke an emotion.
Keep things short
Us internet users are a fickle lot. We also have short attention spans. So cut anything that isn’t completely necessary. Maybe make sure something exciting happens in the first five seconds – that should keep us watching.
Don’t release it at the weekend
People tend to be out and about at the weekend. So try releasing it on a Monday or Tuesday – we’re back at work, we’re a bit bored, we want something to look at and send our mates.
Make it easy to share
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer. If people find it hard to share a video, then they won’t. People also like to comment on stuff – it makes them feel involved. If you use Imagen to build your site you can easily add features like this, along with the ability to download and clip.
Put in the legwork
Tell everyone you know about your video. Your friends, family, that bloke you met in the pub last week… get people talking about it. You’ll also want to pass it on to people in the same industry as you. If your video’s about your newest piece of software, then tell all your clients about it. Put it in your email signature. Find some techy bloggers and tell them about it. Shout it from the rooftops.
(Have a look at our friend’s Viral Video’s website – they use Imagen as their business platform. Anyone can upload a clip, then broadcasters and media agencies, for example, can search for what they need and find out about licencing it.)
Try a bit of product placement
Are you using any other company products in your videos? Wearing a particular label? Try emailing those companies and asking them to share your video. The worst that can happen is they don’t.
Back up with a solid marketing plan
If your video goes viral, it’s no good if you can’t back it up. You don’t want people raving about and sharing your video only to find that the rest of your website’s a bit tired, or your payment system doesn’t work very well. So make sure you’ve invested everywhere else before setting out to make your own version of ‘Gangnam Style’.
Make sure it’s good
The last nine tips are pretty useless if your video isn’t any good. Do some research. Run it by your friends or colleagues. Check out other videos that are similar to yours. See what works and what doesn’t (and if you’re doing an instructional video, have a look at our post about creating Oscar-worthy instructional videos).