How to make a video go viral
Earlier this year I was asked to give advice to one of our clients who wanted to make a ‘viral video’. At first I was a little bit overwhelmed by this request, as my initial view was that something only goes viral if the content is top notch. As Media Guerilla states, “If there’s any real “strategic” part of making a video viral these days, it’s the making of the frigg’n video, it’s the creation of the content”.
And yet, many video’s (and posts) do go viral with content that if I dare to say so myself is weak. Even if Media Guerilla has a point, maybe there is something else to it.
Fact: The video we created did go viral and hit the #1 most viewed slot in our chosen category on YouTube.
Part 1: Content, Content, Content.
Surprisingly it’s often the last thing that is considered. The starting point should be what do we have to say and how can we say it creatively. Even if the ‘dark Jedi tricks’ can make the chances of success go from good to great, if you have poor content then the chances of success equally go from good to hopeless.
Part 2: Outreach
Below is a copy of the email I sent to the team giving them advice on what to do (nb. I have removed client sensitive information including the link to the video). Most of this content was adapted from advice I found on the web – I should point out that Dan Ackerman Greenberg’s post sheds great insight but also commits so many deceptions that I needed to heavily edit his ‘best practice’ techniques.
RULE 1 – be honest and transparent about who you are at all times. No astroturfing. However, doing nothing but hoping this video will go viral will not work – you have to put in some hard work too – suggest you get cracking on the below.
1) Multiple names
Try uploading it with different names – use a different headline to make it more appealing for the surfer who goes by the title
2) Get onto the most viewed page
- Blogs: reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs – be clear who you are – state what you are doing, tell them about why you are did the video and ask them to post our embedded videos.
- Forums: We start new threads and embed our videos. Again be clear who you are and start conversations about the subject – sometimes, this means kickstarting the conversations by setting up a new account on each forum. Yes, it’s tedious and time-consuming, but if done well, it can have a tremendous effect.
- MySpace: Plenty of users allow you to embed YouTube videos right in the comments section of their MySpace pages. We take advantage of this. As above – remember to be clear who you are
- Facebook: Share, share, share. Be part of relevant groups on Facebook and share the video with the entire friends list – this can have a real impact. Other ideas include creating an event that announces the video launch and inviting friends, writing a note and tagging friends, or posting the video on Facebook Video with a link back to the original YouTube video. Needless to say (and I am being repetitive – but don’t spam anyone and be clear who you are).
- Email lists: Send the video to an email list – making sure this list knows who you are and are happy to receive mails from you. Depending on the size of the list (and the recipients’ willingness to receive links to YouTube videos), this can be a very effective strategy.
- Friends: Make sure everyone we know watches the video and try to get them to email it out to their friends, or at least share it on Facebook. Again, be clear as to who you are when doing this.
Each video has a shelf life of 48 hours before it’s moved from the Daily Most Viewed list to the Weekly Most Viewed list, so it’s important that this happens quickly. As I mentioned before, when done right, this is a tremendously successful strategy.
3) Thumbnail Optimization
Change the picture – pick the most interesting bit from the video and make this the photo on the thumbnail
Make comments – be clear who you are – do not have comments with yourself.
Make this video easy to find. Ask yourself what would you type into Google to find this and then ensure these tags are used
As I mentioned before – we followed the above strategy and managed to get to the top of the most viewed list. We were clear at all times who we were and received *no* complaints from the people who we mailed.
Recommended reading for other good ways to make a video go viral:
Marketing Pilgrim – How to Make A Blog Post Go Viral with Social Media
Web Ink Now – 8 tips to make your YouTube video go viral
Social Networking – Tips for Viral Success For The Online Social Networker
Filed under: social media | 30 Comments
syndicate and subscribe
Most active posts
top posts all time
- Trends: The Battle For CMO Mind Share | Forbes on Top analyst blogs
- Analyst technology predictions 2011 « Technobabble 2.0 on Technology predictions 2010
- Social Media: Blueprints, eBooks, Guides, Tutorials and Whitepaper - Kleckerlabor on White paper – distributed influence: quantifying the impact of social media
- The Internet of Things and Change | Forbes on Top analyst blogs
- Tuesday's Tip: Why Context Matters – Forget Real-Time, Achieve Right | Social Media Blog Sites on Top analyst tweeters (via TweetLevel)
- How to use TweetLevel–your GPS for navigating Twitter influence
- The Influence Tipping Point
- New TweetLevel: your GPS for navigating twitter influence
- Better B2B Video – a Brighttalk Panel Discussion
- Time to put an end to this modern form of slavery
- The critical importance of time when understanding influence
- December 2012 (1)
- October 2012 (2)
- August 2012 (2)
- July 2012 (1)
- February 2012 (3)
- January 2012 (3)
- December 2011 (4)
- November 2011 (2)
- October 2011 (1)
- September 2011 (4)
- August 2011 (1)
- July 2011 (3)
- June 2011 (1)
- May 2011 (4)
- April 2011 (3)
- March 2011 (1)
- February 2011 (1)
- December 2010 (1)
- November 2010 (1)
- October 2010 (2)
- September 2010 (3)
- August 2010 (1)
- July 2010 (10)
- June 2010 (3)
- March 2010 (1)
- February 2010 (7)
- January 2010 (5)
- December 2009 (4)
- November 2009 (4)
- October 2009 (3)
- August 2009 (7)
- July 2009 (3)
- May 2009 (2)
- March 2009 (7)
- October 2008 (2)
- August 2008 (2)
- July 2008 (3)
- June 2008 (5)
- May 2008 (9)
- April 2008 (8)
- March 2008 (7)
- February 2008 (9)
- January 2008 (18)
- December 2007 (3)
- November 2007 (9)
- October 2007 (8)
- September 2007 (5)
- August 2007 (6)
- July 2007 (8)
- June 2007 (6)
- May 2007 (15)
- April 2007 (9)
- @wherenext Victoria 2 months ago
- RT @Heineken: Madrid stops for kick-off. Join @Heineken tonight during the #UCLfinal http://t.co/t54oLXbvFV 3 months ago
- RT @Squawka: Ideal venue to watch the Champions League final. We're at #ShareTheSofa in Ibiza with @Heineken. vine.co/v/Mw67BgeapBP 3 months ago
- RT @_4thOfficial: Not long till the #UCLfinal now… looking forward to the @Heineken event with Luis Garcia and Morientes #sharethesofa htt… 3 months ago
- RT @ChampionsLeague: .@julianobelletti is taking your questions during Atleti-Chelsea.Use #ShareTheSofa + follow @Heineken to get involved … 3 months ago
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
DisclaimerThis blog accepts forms of cash advertising in the form of link placement. However, neither my employer nor myself endorse in any way the sites that are linked.