What are you doing wrong? 12 Secrets to Making a Viral Video

How to make a viral video?

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Viral videos are great for marketing because they are cheaper than other marketing methods, they are sharable, you have control over the message and its delivery, and their entertainment value makes them more memorable. If you have been making great videos and you still have a problem making them go viral, these tips will help you out.

1. Create Sharable Content

No matter how good a video is, it will not go viral if it does not entice people to share it. Creating a sharable video is important because people are more likely to watch a video that has been shared by those they trust. So, what makes a sharable video?

  • People are more likely to share a video that says something valuable or meaningful to them. Your video should strike a chord with your target audience. As an example, the “Save the Children’s Most Shocking Second a Day” video went viral because it was about a young British girl who was exposed to a life similar to that of a child in war-torn countries. The video brought a far-flung conflict that people were indifferent to closer to home.
  • Ensure your video is funny. People have a natural urge to laugh with others and they will, therefore, share a humorous video. Even when your message is serious, find a way of incorporating humor in the message. BuzzFeed, which specialized in viral content, lists funny photos and videos and if your video is funny enough, you could just feature here as well as on other big blogs, which means even greater viewership.
  • Contests are extremely effective in spreading the word about a video. You can view contests and giveaways as bribes – even people who are not interested in your message will view your video for a chance of winning.
  • Although it is okay to try to emulate success stories, you are more likely to achieve success if you are unique. Rehashed content and a mediocre message will not lead to shares. Brainstorm with your team to come up with the most unique content that people will want to share.
  • Consider creating a video that is inspired by the latest craze. Viewers are more likely to share something that is of great interest and that is trending.

2. Collaborate

You can collaborate with YouTube creators who may not be your traditional celebrities, but who nonetheless have a big and loyal fan base. You could approach such a YouTube creator to promote your video and his/her active fan base will be your first audience. As an example, YouTube stars like Jim Chapman, Caspar Lee, Dan Howell, Phil Lester, Pixiwoo, Joe Sugg, and Marcus Butler recently worked with Cancer Research UK in the“Stand Up To Cancer” livestream event on YouTube and the event went viral.

3. Quantity

When it comes to YouTube videos, quantity is just as important as quality. It is only when you release videos regularly that you will keep your audience active and interested. It’s just like friendship – you are more engaged when you talk often. It is also a game of probability – even if most of the videos do not go viral, there is a chance that a few will. Focus should be less on quality of the video and more on quality of the message.

4. Have a Wide Distribution Engine

Your video should fit in with your larger marketing vision. Consider sharing the same video on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and others since any of them could trigger the viral effect. Using multiple channels will give your marketing campaign a built-in echo effect. Concentrate on a handful of channels that you are good at and that you can optimize.

5. Have a Launch Strategy

In a recent article in The Guardian, Pierre Chappaz, the author, encouraged marketers to focus on the first 24 hours of release. He stated, “If nobody interacts with your video within the first 24 hours of release, it’s going to struggle to go viral. The reason for this is the complex and somewhat mysterious YouTube algorithm.” YouTube’s algorithm considers the interaction rate (shares, likes, comments) during the first 24 hours of release to determine ranking in its country charts.

6. Make your Videos Easy to Find

Think like search engines whose algorithms make it easy for audiences to find the information they are looking for. You can ensure your videos are easy to find by optimizing the titles and descriptions. Do keyword optimization and use other SEO tactics to not only ensure the videos are easy to find, but to also increase ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages).

7. Do Not Forget Mobile Users

Your video must be mobile-friendly since studies show that at least half of YouTube views are coming from mobile. If you have a link to your website, ensure your site has responsive web design for good mobile user experience.

8. Visit a Google Digital Garage

Digital Garage is a Google free program that helps small businesses and other organizations to learn the digital skills needed to make the most out of YouTube and the web in general. Visit a Digital Garage and get a mentor or sign up to get online training.

9. Shock and Awe

A big number of the videos that have gone viral on YouTube are those that are shocking or that touch on a controversial subject. When it comes to YouTube videos, do not shy away from being criticized, disliked or hated because the buzz will lead to more people who are interested in your message seeing the video.

  • Get others to submit your Content to Reddit

Consider getting involved in the Reddit community. You could then share your YouTube content for other users to upvote or downvote the content and for a chance of the content going viral. You should avoid the common temptation of simply submitting the content without involvement in the Reddit community because Reddit does not look favorably on people submitting their own stuff.

  • Create a Public Playlist

Annotations are used to interlink videos, but you should consider playlists since they are less distracting, more organized, and more useful for people who are browsing your videos. Playlists are also better than annotations because YouTube viewers often disable YouTube annotations. You can take advantage of public playlists by serializing your content, especially when producing a series of tutorials, since a playlist keeps all the content in the same place and it arranges the content appropriately. You could also use playlists for separating topical videos if your videos cover different topics.

  • Use Thumbnails

Although it is not good to judge a book by its cover, the fact is that many people base their decision on whether or not they will watch a video solely on how the thumbnail looks. A good thumbnail is one that exemplifies the quality and the content of the video since people are more likely to view a video when they feel you’ve put in the effort.

You should encourage users to engage in comments and to share. Link your video marketing campaign with other marketing campaigns (such as SMM by including social media icons) to have the best results. Watch viral videos such as “Girls Do Science” by Microsoft for tips on what makes a viral video.


Author Bio: Derek Iwasiuk run’s a national digital search engine optimization firm headquarted in Minneapolis. Also spends a lot of his free time educating the minds of thousands of young SEO’s and top agencies. You can also follow him on twitter @Diwasiuk. Visit this website for more information.

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