5 Essential Tips On How To Make A Viral Video (Successful)

The whole marketing (and business) world is buzzing with the worlds ‘viral marketing’. I don’t know a major brand that hasn’t tried to create a viral video, or isn’t at least thinking about it. And why not, it’s essentially free promotion minus the production cost, and can potentially be something which gets passed around the Internet between thousands or even millions of people — all focusing on your brand completely voluntarily, and actively spreading it.

Sure, everyone’s trying it, but what are the key elements to getting it right? There’s no surefire formula, no right or wrong answer, but there’s some basic guidelines you can follow to get on the right track:

1) Make your video exciting, unique, and something that really stands out:
The web is literally flooded with videos. Around 8 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube a minute, according to Jonathan Rosenberg, senior vice president of product management at Google. With so much competition, your clip really needs to shine.

2) Start some controversy:
To make a viral video, and have it truly be viral, something controversial is always a good way to make some waves. You’ll get people talking, and then that will get people to forward the video to their friends. Of course, you may not want something controversial associated with your brand, but if there’s something that is already in pop-culture associated with what you do, there’s no sense pretending it doesn’t exist. Capitalize on it.

3) Make something with overwhelming emotion:
Evoking an emotional response in someone is a great way to make them want to share it with friends. There’s also great potential here to create something that is a kind of call-to-action. If you’re a non-profit and wanting to spread the word online, you’ll definitely want to create something impactful and emotional. Be genuine and real with it. Use some music which either perfectly compliments or completely contrasts your piece to create a gripping accompaniment to the video.

4) Use humor:
Many of the most successful viral videos are absolutely hilarious. People love to share humor with friends, especially if its something really out there. Tap into this space, and have fun with it. Pull something funky out of pop-culture, use taboo situations and characters, use parody. Tell the stories that will connect people with your brand in a positive light, and at the same time really tickle their funny-bone. It’s possible to connect the two.

5) Be the purple cow:
As Seth Godin has stated, cows are a perfectly normal occurrence on the side of the road, you’d never stop to see one. But a purple cow isn’t the norm, in fact, it would be quite astonishing. You might pull over to have a look. Your video needs to be the purple cow. There are literally millions of videos online. If you want people to spread yours around, it needs to be completely different, outrageous, and special. To do anything otherwise would be blending in, and at best you will see mild results. You need to be exceptional to succeed in this space.

Also, here is a really cool marketing lecture by Seth — if you’ve never heard him speak, it’s unmissable. He is both an inspiration and ‘agent of change’.