The Secret to Making your Video “Go Viral”

Does this sound familiar? A friend or colleague sends you a link to a YouTube video, say Susan Boyle singing on Britain’s Got Talent! Remember that famous Dancing Baby video? What about President Obama’s victory speech? Even if you didn’t like then, you might have watched them and actually helped virally spread them to your network, where they ended up on YouTube, Google Video, MySpace, Facebook, and blogs. Have you ever wondered what makes a video “go viral?” Why do some achieve over 100,000 or even millions of views and comments, but others just fall flat? The “viral video” can help catapult your company name or brand if done well, so here are my secrets to viral success.

Be Simple and Creative, like Benson’s for Beds. Their Mattress Dominoes World Record Attempt video has racked up around 830,000 YouTube views. There is nothing fancy about it.  Benson’s employees simply form a human-and-mattress dominoes chain that extends throughout their entire warehouse. The video is playful, has a humorous ending, and makes Benson’s for Beds look like a great place to work (and makes you feel good about spending money with them). This is not a high quality or expensive production. Benson’s just made a statement using the products they work with in their warehouse.

Develop a Series of Videos to Keep Viewers Coming back, just like small home appliance maker Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” videos. Each video uses a simple formula: blender + common object (that you wouldn’t normally put in a blender) = viral video hit. The first video has over 3.8 million views since 2006. So far the company has created over 90 videos with this same theme. While it may seem ridiculous to put your iPhone into a blender, these videos do away with the typical sales pitch and apt for a wacky and goofy sales pitch to show off the blender’s biggest selling point — it’s power.

Don’t Make an Outright Advertisement. Viral viewers know the difference between the real deal and an outright ad, so don’t risk losing them. Try not to think in terms of sales pitch, mission statements, boiler plates and service listings. Rather try to show what your product can do, versus telling the viewer about it. The Sony Bravia serial videos “Domino City,” “Bouncy Balls,” and “Play-Doh” make simple use of the Bravia’s best quality – it’s bright colors. You can become so engaged with the vivid scenes that you don’t realize it’s an advertisement until the call-to-action at the end: Buy the television.

Keep it Short. Fifteen to thirty seconds is ideal. Just ask HP. Their 30 second ad spot for the HP Photosmart features a hip soundtrack, and shows off its use of technology with the Google Maps app.

Ultimately, your video content will drive your visitors back to your site over and over again. While your video should have a strong concept, don’t spend too much time agonizing over it. Your concept should not be forced because it fits your brand. Rather, your brand should fit into a great concept.

Photo credit: Google Image

* Original post appears on Spotlight Communications website

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