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Creating Viral Videos

Wednesday - March 21st, 2012

Written by: Chad Vossen

Creating Viral Videos

It’s all well and good that you want to create a video that will “go viral.” But two things are essential: The right concept and the right distribution method.

You could have the most informative video in the world, but if it’s not creative, no one will care to forward the video along. It’s up to you to come up with a concept that inspires the viewer to take one of two actions – become engaged with your product, or send it along to someone who will.

Let’s start with the basics. Think of how many videos you’ve passed along. Odds are they were pretty funny, clever, or made you stop and think. Do you have a concept, message or situation that meets those criteria?

It could be the most basic of products your trying to promote, but it’s up to you to put a unique spin on it that generates inspiration within your viewer that makes them pass it along. Take Dollar Shave club. Pretty basic item they are selling – razor blades. But there’s a great execution on promotion (embedded below). This approach generated over 3 1/2 million views on Youtube as of this posting.

We hear it all the time. “We want something that stands out. Something different. Something that sets us apart.” To us that means one thing. You need to be willing to take risks. That’s right, risks. You know, the opposite of interviewing your CEO in his partially-cleaned office with a handicam as he reads off a cue card. I don’t care how hilarious the script is. I promise you, that won’t go viral… for the right reasons anyway. Push the envelope. Be original – convince your boss to take a risk.

And don’t forget the hardest thing: trust. Trust the production company you’ve hired to produce your video (unless you have an internal video team, please don’t try to create a viral video yourself). Trust their instincts. Trust their intuition. You (hopefully) hired them for the right reasons. If they’ve made successful videos in the past, they can do so again. Yes, you certainly have a unique understanding of your business, and that’s extremely valuable. But it’s always beneficial to get an outsider’s perspective.

So let’s say you’ve come up with a unique approach, taken a risk, and produced a great video. It still needs to be seen. Posting your video up on Youtube doesn’t mean that anyone will see it. How do they know it’s even there? Blasting your contact list is a decent start, but let’s face it, you’ll be lucky if even 10% of your contacts send your video to a friend. So your video will be stuck on Youtube with 216 views. Not exactly viral.

You need champions. Twitter and Facebook is a great place to start, and the Blogosphere is even better. Consider writing a blog that coincides with the message of your video and embedding a link to that video within that blog. Post that blog on your website. Act as a guest blogger on others. Get your message out there. Consider developing a Microsite. Better yet, a microsite that links to other webpages. Now we’re getting somewhere. Think about individuals, activists or websites that might take up your cause, or appreciate the method you took to get it out there. Find people that care.

Yes, there’s a lot to consider. Just make sure you put your best foot forward when it comes to producing video. Think about the concept. Why people will want to watch the video and pass it along. Then consider the distribution strategy. Or if you don’t want to… let us do it for you.

Producing a Video for the First Time

2 Responses to “Creating Viral Videos”

  • Major Brands Use Web Video Series to Promote Products | 522 Productions wrote on April 24th, 2012:

    [...] One of the advantages of using a web video series is that it can be more cost efficient than a large, big-budget single project. Typically, the biggest cost associated with a video production project is the cost of production (i.e., filming). Depending on the level of quality that is required for the project, the cost can vary significantly. However, if the content is planned effectively, organizations can spread the costs of production across several web video segments. After that, the company can then share the video with prospects and customers in other ways for very little investment. If the video is good, it could be shared with others and eventually go viral. [...]

  • Five ways to use video within your marketing plan | 522 Productions wrote on May 9th, 2012:

    [...] have a video, but how do we make it viral? Your message has to be so compelling, that people want to share it. One of the earliest viral [...]

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