How to make a video go viral

Do you know how to make a video go viral?

Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute, so it is not hard to see why many videos don’t get the audiences that they perhaps deserve. That said, there are over 1 billion users registered with YouTube so there is definitely an audience there.

The trouble then, is not a lack of potential eyes on your video, but rather it is about finding that list of magic ingredients that will make your video not just stand out, but get it shared around the globe as fast as the internet will carry it.

There are a lot of posts, blogs and articles out there right now, all with fairly similar titles:

  • 10 examples of how to make a video go viral
  • 6 sure-fire ways to viral video success
  • Top tips on creating a video guaranteed to go viral

And so, and so forth. The one unifying theme, among all of them, and the one thing that they insist on splitting up into several parts when just one will do, is ‘remarkability’.

As Seth Godin said, be the Purple Cow. What this means, is be remarkable. Be different, and approach your subject in as different a way as you can. Some people call this ‘disruption’, but it’s not the same thing.

Being remarkable is a lot different from offering more for less; it’s about being memorable, getting into people’s heads and being that visual ear-worm.

Everyone knows what a brown cow looks like, and we have all seen one before… But a purple cow? That kind of thing is going to stick in your head for a good long while.

Being remarkable

Nobody said that making your video go viral was going to be easy, because it isn’t (regardless of how many top ten list posts you read), but now you know what to focus your creative energies on, you at least have a focus.

While you are busy doing that, is worth remembering the basic rules of video marketing.
Keep it short, get it shared.

Short and sweet is always preferable to long and drawn out. If you can fit your message inside of 2.7 minutes (average amount of time spent watching a video), and catch the eye inside of 8 seconds (average attention span, of as 2013). A video is 18% more likely to be shared if it is under 1 minute rather than those that are over 1 minute long

It is thought that around half of your audience will tune out after the first minute, so making sure that the first 60 seconds are attention grabbing is vital, so you really need to know what will work in order to know how to make a video go viral.

What is already trending?

The intention here is not to imitate, but to keep up to date and current. Making use of popular culture, or referencing other material that has already gone viral.

You may remember the photograph of ‘The Dress?’, and the whole “is it white and gold, or blue and black”?

The Salvation Army put together an anti-domestic violence ad campaign, which made excellent use of a trending topic in order to send a powerful, memorable message. While the topic of the campaign is an important one, it is the clever use of an already hot topic (the dress) that made it go viral.

Are you making your video easy to share?

Websites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy are veritable gold mines when it comes to making your content go viral, simply because of how shareable they make content. It really doesn’t make any difference how great your video is, if it isn’t easy to share.

Making your content as easy as possible to get around the internet is a basic ingredient, and one that you can’t ignore.

Of course, Buzzfeed and Upworthy shouldn’t be your only port of call – head to social networking sites too like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. Once you have started sharing there, ask your followers to share too and then get yourself to Reddit – the ‘front page of the internet’.

Be a storyteller

Video is a very powerful tool for communication, and it must have structure. People love a good story, regardless of the topic. It may sound obvious that your video needs a beginning, a middle and an end but it is easy to forget when you are trying to get your message into a short video.

Feed your purple cow

Why can’t you follow best practices, like the ones above, and make sure that you get your purple cow moment? You can, if you know how.

One thing that you learn rather quickly in the marketing world, is that visual elements have the ability to persuade, more so than pure text – which is why large, clear and bright images are used in the first place.

But do know what kinds of images are more powerful, informative and go viral much more often than any other (and no, memes don’t count)? Infographics.

To understand the power of infographics, is to understand people. You see, people love facts and figures. It’s true. We are simply fascinated with facts and figures, and more and more sites and businesses are using them in order to try to convince us of their superiority in their given field.

Even ‘popular’ posts on Facebook use them in order to try to convince us to share something (“90% of people on my friends list won’t share this…” – look familiar?).

Statistics are reassuring, they tell us that a source of information can be trusted – plus, they are easily digestible, allowing people to get the information that they need in a relatively short space of time.

It is exactly this ease of digestion that makes infographics so popular, and why they are perfect for making your video go viral.

Combining the power of video, with the allure of the infographic can help make sure that your content gets all the attention that it needs, deserves and is driving traffic the way that you and your business need it to.

An animated infographic is the perfect choice for marrying the marketing potential of both mediums, and done properly has the potential to go viral much faster than either of them would operating on their own.

Also, potentially, that purple cow moment of yours may well be easier to implement this way – allowing you to combine your creativity with the information that you need to disseminate.

In short, an animated infographic has the ability to reach a much wider audience, much faster and make sure that your brand is seen in as many relevant places as possible.

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