The term ‘viral’ is etched in our collective vocabularies and often is used interchangeably with words like ‘popular’ or ‘well-liked’. Viral videos are called that because they gain popularity through the viral process of internet sharing.
Such videos are usually popularized through video sharing sites like YouTube and TikTok, as well as social media platforms or even email. While most viral videos are funny or entertaining, they could also be serious, emotional or focused on social causes.
Undoubtedly, viral videos are perceived as an ultimate success by many marketers. While it is assumed that videos go viral purely because of luck or coincidence, that’s not necessarily true. It takes planning, strategizing and combining elements here and there to create a video that’s worth sharing and eventually becoming a viral sensation.
Additionally, what makes content qualify as ‘viral’ has changed over the years. However, viral videos are those that eventually blur the lines between social media platforms and become popular across the board. A good viral video is one that is not only present on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; but also on other online media sites such as BuzzFeed, HubSpot, BuzzSumo, ScoopWhoop etc.
Now that we’ve understood what qualifies as a viral video, let’s learn how to make viral videos.
How To Make Viral Videos
While luck and coincidence do factor in when it comes to viral videos, most videos that go viral are a by-product of hard work, smart timing, research-led insights and a dash of luck.
This just means that while there are certain steps you can take to make viral videos, there’s no single method to get to your destination. Moreover, setting out with the single-minded goal of making a viral video may end up being counter-productive. Instead of starting to create a video with the intention of making it viral, it’s best to identify how you can offer value to your audience. If you overlook this crucial element, you may end up with a video that doesn’t offer much, leading to it being ignored by audiences.
Now, let’s understand how to make viral videos that add value and make an impact with your target audience. While these insights, pointers and techniques will guide you on the foundation of viral videos, they aren’t a quick fix. Instead, use these tips as a baseline to develop your own secret formula that works!
1. Make The First 10 Seconds Captivating
One thing that’s common among most viral videos is that the first 10 seconds are interesting, captivating or in some way engaging. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are saturated with so much content that unless your video has some unique to offer, people will simply scroll away. This is why it makes sense to have something emotional, shocking, impactful or dramatic happen at the very start of a video to get viewers engaged.
“You know, the Lord says, ‘You should always forgive. But boy, do they make it difficult.” This is how Bailey Sarian, chose to open this video that’s a part of her Murder&Makeup series. Needless to say, by choosing to keep it unusual and intriguing, she has given it the right start to grab eyeballs and go viral!
2. Keep It Short and To The Point
We know that in the past decade the average person’s attention span has reduced significantly. We’ve all become so used to instant gratification that giving our undivided attention to something is difficult. Work calls, family members, emails, advertisers, news channels, social media influencers, content creators, clickbait articles, and so many others are constantly competing for our attention. This is why almost all successful viral videos are interruptive and short.
For best results, make sure that your video is brief and only covers what’s relevant and important from an information perspective. Viewers are more likely to pay attention to a video that started off strong and finished within 60 seconds. Needless to say, videos that are watched to completion are more likely to be shared.
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3. Make Sure It’s Relevant
As marketers, we know that trend lifecycles are much shorter on social media. What’s a hot topic today may be forgotten and irrelevant by tomorrow. Just look at the success of moment marketing and you’ll understand how trending topics, when leveraged properly, can bring in so much engagement for brands and creators.
Keeping this insight in mind, make sure that your video is relevant and interesting to people, while also ensuring that it has information that is something your audience hasn’t seen before.
This video by Palestinian-Israeli video blogger Nuseir Yassin AKA NasDaily is an excellent example of creating videos that are relevant and interesting at the same time. Released around May-end in 2020, the video offered a new stream of information around COVID-19, a trending and popular topic.
4. Your Video Should Make Sense Even With The Sound Turned Off
Unless you’re home alone or you have your earphones on, most people don’t scroll through timelines and news feeds with the volume on. Considering the fact that your viewers may be at work, attending an online class, or in the company of others, it is necessary to make sure your video makes sense even when there’s no sound. Interestingly enough, 80% of consumers are more likely to watch through an entire video when there are subtitles or captions.
Strong visuals do factor in if you’re wondering how to make viral videos. But with that being said, subtitles just ensure that your message goes through even if there is no sound to back the visuals.
Take the example of YouTuber Yashraj Mukhate’s viral hit ‘Biggini Shoot’. Even though it is a music video made up from stringing parts of old interviews, he has still made sure to add subtitles to accommodate those who can’t or won’t view with the sound on.
5. Release on the Right Days
We know that certain days just work better when it comes to releasing videos or uploading posts online. While the specifics of what works for brands differ, when it comes to videos, make sure you publish your video on Monday or Tuesday. Think about it a little. Monday and its accompanying blues can make even the most seasoned of employees distracted.
This makes them more likely to browse through their feeds and catch your video. Additionally, if possible, make sure you don’t release your video on a day with breaking news taking up shares of audience attention.
6. Amplify Your Video’s Reach
While all of the steps highlighted above play an important role when it comes to making your video go viral, amplifying its reach is probably the most crucial step. The best way to do this is to have a mix of earned, owned and even paid media in your arsenal.
To begin with, it makes sense to allocate a certain budget towards boosting your video on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and even Twitter. Yes, we said Twitter. On average, people watch up to 2 billion videos on Twitter each day. As per this report, the third most popular reason for people using Twitter is to watch videos. So, make sure not to skip Twitter promotions for your video.
Apart from boosting your video on these social media platforms, you may also want to submit it to relevant websites and media outlets. Aggregation websites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and even 9gag are great opportunities if utilized well. Even websites like BuzzFeed, Scoopwhoop, Medium and Upworthy can make for interesting candidates. It all boils down to where your content fits best.
While these steps can certainly demystify the question of how to make viral videos, they are only meant to be pointers. There is no formula or quick fix that will give you a perfect viral video that will be loved by audiences the world over. However, using the rough framework discussed above you will have a better chance at creating impactful videos that will be popular or even viral.
From your favourite content creators and influencers to your favourite websites, everyone uses these pointers to give their videos the boost it needs in our increasingly competitive digital world. However, if you want to take your abilities as a digital marketer a notch above the rest, check out MICA and upGrad’s Digital Marketing Certificate Program. This course will help you learn all the skills that you need to become an expert in social media marketing, content marketing, branding, marketing analysis and PR.