Are we there yet? Have we hit the top of the charts?
Viral video is a lofty target and, while it shouldn’t be the ultimate goal of your video marketing campaign, it is a very nice icing on the cake of great video that fulfills all your marketing objectives.
But here’s the hard truth: there is no perfect formula for going viral. No secret sauce. No one trick for achieving viral fame.
What we can give you, though, are some great tips, solid marketing advice, and time-tested ingredients for creating video your customers will love, save, and share far and wide.
Here are 9 simple, actionable steps for how to create great video (and go viral in the process):
- Know Your Audience
- Have a Plan
- Go for Quality
- Focus on a Story
- Have Fun (or a Good Cry)
- Start Strong
- Solve a Problem
- Minimize Self-Promotion
- Promote, Promote, Promote!
To help you execute on these steps and to further your research into creating great video that goes viral, here are all 9 steps explained in greater detail:
1. Know Your Audience
You’ve already developed your buyer personas, right? Excellent. Now, ask yourself, what do your buyers care about? What are their pain points? What videos do they already watch (and love)? What new topics might grab their attention? Because here’s your key takeaway: it’s not [about] you; it’s them. If you don’t think of your buyer first when creating content, then you have no chance of going viral.
2. Have a Plan
Think Your Competition goes viral through sheer luck? Only if they’re lucky. (See what we did there?) The truth is, the vast majority of viral videos go viral for a very different reason: old-fashioned hard work. “If you build it, they will come”… said no viral video, ever.
It all starts with your marketing plan. How will you distribute your video? Who will share it? How will it spread – go viral? It’s just basic mathematics: If you tell a story to one friend, how slowly will that story make the rounds? But, if you tell that same story to 50 or 100 friends, how much quicker does word spread? Have a plan that reaches your hypothetical 100 friends, not the 1.
3. Go for Quality
If you review a list of the Top 10 YouTube videos of 2017, you’ll see that most have one thing in common: they’re either professionally produced or of very high quality. Gone are the days when fuzzy, shaky, or poorly lit video could claim fame; today’s viewers want crisp, sharp, and well produced content. And, while you don’t have to spend millions of dollars on your video, you should devote part of your marketing budget to its production… even if you shoot your footage with an iPhone.
4. Focus on a Story
You’re probably sick of hearing about “storytelling.” But the truth is, your customers aren’t tired of hearing good stories. So, stick to them. Make your video about a story, not a sale. And, make that story all about your customers and their needs and desires. Cut out superfluous information. And stick to your story and message, from beginning to end.
5. Have Fun (or a Good Cry)
Speaking of your story, if there’s one thing you can’t skip, it’s the entertainment value. Your video must evoke emotion, whether it’s raucous laughter or racking sobs. We’re not crying. You’re crying.
6. Start Strong
You have 10 seconds to grab your viewers’ attention. Just 10 seconds. So, lead off with your absolute best, most engaging content. Hook them from the very start, and you may have a chance of holding them through to the very end. A few ways to do that: Ask questions. Make them laugh. Speak to their pain points. Whatever you do, give viewers a reason to keep watching.
7. Solve a Problem
At the heart of any good viral video is the solution to a problem. This is where your buyer personas come in: how can you solve their problem? (And remember, a problem can be as simple as “I’m bored.”) How can you answer that problem? Bonus points if the solution aligns with your brand’s USP.
8. Minimize Self-Promotion
Think about it – does anyone want to watch a long-form advertisement? Nope. What they do want to watch is interesting, helpful, funny, and/or engaging content. So, deliver that. Be sure your video screams brand personality. And, if it makes sense, go ahead and work in some self-promotion. But never, ever deliver the hard-sell, unless you want people to stop watching immediately.
9. Promote, Promote, Promote!
Even the best videos won’t go viral, if people don’t know where to find them. So, promote! Spread to your social networks. Share with your leads. Research where your customer base lives, and then share there. Reach out to influencers. Aim for coverage on at least three websites, blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, etc. etc. And, be sure to optimize your video for search engine discovery.
Now that you have the basics of creating your own high-quality videos with viral potential, it’s time to get started on masterminding your first smashing success. Good luck! Not that you need it anymore.