7 Expert Tips for Creating a Viral Video in 2019

It’s every company’s dream to create one video – one amazing, funny, unexpected, shocking, minute-long video – that becomes as viral as that infamous Dollar Shave Club video or as laugh-out-loud funny as good ol’ Chuck Testa.

Try as you might, we all know viral fame isn’t as easy to achieve as we’d like, especially when we’re representing a company that’s got a bottom line to worry about. But are there things you could be doing to help make your brand videos go even slightly more viral?

If maxing out that view count is your number one goal, check out these seven tips we’ve rounded up from some of the video industry’s top experts.

Here’s what they had to say.

1. Swing for the fences.

Nothing wrong with trying for a viral hit. Swing for the fences, I say! Just make sure you don’t strike out in the process (read: make sure your video converts, too).

I’ve personally identified seven, maybe eight, elements that give your video big potential for virality, but as you’re hearing ideas, working on the script, and in production, your measuring stick for virality should be outstandingness and exceptionality.

If it’s going to go viral, your video needs to be better than good, better than even great, it needs to be outstanding! Exceptional! AWESOME! AMAZING!!! With all the exclamation points, and preferably with ALL caps! Because it can be relatable, it can be funny, it can be stunning, or impressive, or enlightening, but if it’s not exceptionally so, it’s probably not going to go viral in the way you want.

On the other hand, there’s no accounting for the public’s taste and, sometimes, crap does go viral. But, better to shoot for OUTSTANDING than just hope your crap gets lucky.


Joel Ackerman
Chief Creative Genius at AckermaniaCreative.com


2. Above all: be yourself!

Authenticity is the first ingredient of a great video, so my number one tip is to be yourself! The most successful video campaigns effectively humanize a company by showing off the people who work there. Videos that feature employees give us an inside look at that company’s culture and they’re a great way to build brand loyalty through digital content.

At Wistia, every video is cast with Wistia employees. We’ve gotten so much positive feedback from customers who are thrilled to find out they’re talking to a person they just saw on the website. Additionally, when your employees star in videos, they become more invested in making the campaign go viral — let’s be honest who doesn’t want their 15 seconds of fame?


Kristen Bryant
Brand Marketing at Wistia


3. Keep pop culture in mind.

My number one tip is to always have a pulse on what’s happening in culture. In my opinion, you can never “make” a viral video before it’s out in the world. It’s the audience’s job to make it go viral. Give your audience what they want and serve it up in a contextually relevant way that’s relatable.

I do think there is a special sauce to creating compelling content. Finding the intersection between what’s happening in pop culture and an area of tension your audience is experiencing will always strike a chord. If it’s contextually relevant AND matters to whoever is watching it, people will watch.

The best example I can think of is those viral memes that always start with, “When you _____,” followed by a short video or image. People share the hell out of stuff like that, because it usually humorously speaks to something they’ve experienced themselves.


Ben Salaman
Strategist at PB&


4. Trust your instincts.

For me it’s pretty simple. I ask myself: Do I LOVE this piece of work? If I like it a lot, or just kinda like it, I know it doesn’t have a shot to go viral.

I think we all know when something is great, we just have to be more honest with ourselves. And trust our instincts. And keep going until our gut says that something is truly great.


Jamie Barrett
Founder/Executive Creator at barrettSF


5. Use video to delight and educate consistently over time.

A word of caution on benchmarking your success against ‘going viral’: emotion and humor are powerful tools, but unpredictable in their application when you define success primarily in views and shares (even if you’re prepared to pay handsomely for exposure). Think of your favorite comedian— they probably tell plenty of jokes you don’t laugh at.

Virality is a small and moving target, but any business can leverage video to delight and educate customers consistently over time. Given how quickly we all scroll our feed, consider this: your goal as a marketer is to optimize for time spent with brand, rather than deliver a flash in the pan.


Jonah Silberg
Sales Manager at Wistia


6. Don’t get too ahead of yourself.

First rule of viral video marketing campaign club? Don’t talk about making a viral video.

If you’re caught up trying to create the next great sharable thing, you’re already too many steps ahead.

Sports metaphor coming your way.

Runner’s on 3rd. You’re in the outfield. Pop-fly. You’re thinking about throwing home before you catch the ball. You lose the ball in the sun. It drops at your feet.

Catch the ball first.

Figure out what creative story is best for your brand, your target, the project itself.

Then throw home.

Virality should be an effect of great creative, not a reason for its being.


Krystle Mullin
Creative Director at RPA


7. Positive and hard working people can bring more to the table than the smartest person in the room.

My number one tip for creating a viral video is…

Your team. Regardless of the content – happy, funny, emotional, scripted, unscripted. Your team and who you surround yourself with is important. The client and your bosses will always have notes, suggestions, good, bad, it doesn’t matter. You have to take in the project and make sure from creative to field to post that everyone is firing on all cylinders across the board.

If you pour your heart and soul into every inch of the project and treat each video the same, the results will show. There’s no room for ego in a project. Listen, learn, communicate, and most of all, enjoy the people you work with. There is something for everyone on the internet, just make sure you have made the best your team can make and everyone, from the client asking for the video to the people enjoying it, will let you know.


Chris Garnett
Head of Post-Production at Shareability


Want a viral video, but don’t trust your team enough to make it themselves? We get it – and we can help! Schedule your creative call and we’ll give you our feedback – totally free. Nothing to lose and so much to gain. Get started.