Everyone wants their videos to go viral these days. And why not? The idea of one piece of content reaching an audience of millions is absolutely every business’ dream. It’s a lottery ticket of sorts, with the grand prize being a tremendous number of eyeballs on your product – the kind of exposure that can literally transform your business overnight.
The problem is, for all of the attempts people have made to create something eminently shareable, there’s no exact formula for going viral. There are, however, a few principles that almost all viral videos have in common.
Focus on these rules as you create your videos going forward, and you’ll exponentially increase your chances of going viral.
- Research Your Audience. The importance of buyer personas is well-known, and in many cases, there’s considerable overlap between a buyer persona (who you’re trying to market to) and a viewer persona (who’s going to watch your online content). But it never hurts to spend a little time getting to know the latter group a little better as you begin to move into video content. What type of people watch your videos? Where do they watch? What time of the day are they most inclined to watch videos? You’ll want to know the answers to these questions so that you can maximize your viral potential.
- Tell a Story. While you have a viewer persona for your core marketing subjects, you should also view every video as an opportunity to introduce your business to a larger audience. Take this opportunity to tell a story about who you are as a business – who you are, what you care about and how you help to solve the pain points of your customers. People are constantly subjected to marketing messages of companies claiming they’re the best. This is your opportunity to show people why they should care about your business.
- Hook Your Viewer Early. Consumers of content are quick to make judgments about the videos they view. If they’re not hooked in the first few seconds of your video, they’re not going to stick around for the meaty part of your message. Make sure those opening seconds are engaging and captivating enough to convince viewers to stay tuned for the rest of your message.
- Get Creative – But Not Too Creative. Thinking outside the box is a great way to create content with the potential to go viral. But it’s also easy to go too far. We see this every year during the Super Bowl, where businesses spend $4 million on ads that try way too hard to be tomorrow’s water cooler conversation piece instead of actually selling products. Don’t fall into this trap. Instead, use your platform for solid, but creative storytelling that presents things in a light that people don’t typically see.
- Production Matters. It’s true that marketers can get great results with minimal technological investment, that doesn’t mean you can upload videos with subpar production values and expect them to go viral. Yes, you can make a video with your iPhone, but be careful in doing so. Make sure your lighting is up to par, your audio isn’t choppy and that there are no spelling errors in any of your graphics.
Lastly, make sure your video translates to viewers who have their sound off. Including subtitles is a great way to get your message across when people can’t physically hear what you’re saying, such as in social media feeds, where the potential for viral exposure is at its highest.