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How to Make a Viral Video

4 Min Read

Everyone wants their video to go viral. But how, exactly, does that work?

Viral videos tend to have one major thing in common: they elicit strong reactions. Sometimes that reaction is laughter or joy, but often videos that garner negative reactions go viral as well. A very recent example of this is Pepsi’s protest ad, starring Kendall Jenner giving a police officer a soda. The internet went crazy with comments about tone deafness and cultural appropriation.

As of this writing, the video – posted on Kendall and Kylie’s channel – had been viewed 9.5 million times, but has more thumbs downs than ups and mostly negative comments.

Videos that receive positive attention are often funny and accidental. Take for example, Chewbacca mom, who just wanted to share a purchase with her facebook friends. Although it’s shared in several places, this one upload has over 9 million viewers.

So, how do you create a viral video?
Well, you don’t.

Unless you’re a “there’s no such thing as bad press” kind of person, it’s best to create a video that fits your brand and conveys the message you want to share. Having it go viral should be an added bonus, not your main goal. Viral videos are rare, and if capturing attention is your only objective, you are much more likely to create a video that turns people off or that serves no real purpose.

If you really, really want to make a viral video, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It matters who uploads the video. Getting an influencer to share it will drastically improve your chances of virality.
  • The people in the video matter. If you take a look at YouTube’s top 10 viral videos of 2016, you’ll see that the majority of them star well-known celebrities.
  • Make it original. Viral videos are often followed up by people doing a parody. But in most cases, they are never as good or as watched as the original. This means you can’t do a Harlem Shake or Planking video and expect anyone to care. It’s already been done.
  • Be authenticThis is imperative for your brand, but also a key element of a viral video. Viewers can spot inauthenticity a mile away, and they never appreciate it.
  • And most importantly – It can’t be boring. It can be sad, funny, infuriating, creepy, weird, or any other intense emotion, but it can’t be middle of the road.

While you ponder how best to get 9 million views for your brand, I’ll leave you with the most viewed video of all time on YouTube, Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” with almost 3 billion views. Did we mention dance videos are really popular?

Do you want a viral video? Click here to talk about video ideas for your business and see what kind of video is right for you. 

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