How to Make A Video Go Viral (Or At Least Increase the Chances)
In this guest post, Topline Communications Head of Video Production Jamie Field outlines the steps he feels need to be taken to increase the likelihood a video will go viral. Topline Communications is a video production, PR, social media and SEO consultancy, based in London
Viral is the holy grail of video marketing. Everyone wants to commission a viral video, but briefing your video production company to make you one is ridiculous. That's because a video that becomes as contagious as swine flu cannot be achieved by a cameraman editor producer and director.
Instead, the concept needs to come from within your company - and your PR department is probably the best place to start. Aren't they the people that generate story ideas that are designed to appeal to the highest possible percentage of your target audience? (If they aren't then your department is costing you money!).
They should also be involved in briefing your video production team. As a producer / director, I can speak from experience when I say that the video that best meets its objectives is the one that comes with the clearest brief. We can take that brief, mark it with our own creative stamp, and then turn it into something aesthetically beautiful and technically perfect. A quality corporate video is a lot more likely to go viral than one shot on a smart phone but it doesn't stop here.
How do you now reach an audience that will encourage viral exposure? It's no exact science but there are ways of ensuring that your campaign sets off on the right foot.
Viral video production needs strategic video marketing
Optimize your video for search engines
Optimize your video for search engines by incorporating search engine optimisation into your video marketing campaign. Making use of Google's free keyword research tools - Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tool - can equip you with insights on trending keywords relating to your video's content, which you can use when optimising your video for the search engines.
If you're posting your business video on YouTube, for example, make sure you add relevant trending or high search volume keywords into the title of the video post, the description and the tags. Uploading a transcript of your video will also enable you to add a few more of the keywords you have researched, making it more visible to your target audience and increasing your chances of it going viral.
Identify influencers who are most likely to share your message
Once your video is ready to go live, it won't spread naturally like a true virus without some help. This is where you will need the help of a social media agency. They'll know how to get your video in front of the right people who will share your message. It's not enough to simply publish your video and hope for the best. You need to identify and coordinate with the top influencers who are actively engaged with your brand's products/services and make sure that it reaches them.
Choose the right video hosting platform and categories
YouTube is reported to be the second largest search engine in the world so deciding whether to upload your corporate video here is a bit of a no-brainer. But be strategic when uploading it. Consider which categories your video could be suited to while paying attention to stats that shed light on how many views your video will require to climb into the most viewed charts.
Upload your video to a relevant category that requires the smallest number of weekly/monthly views to be featured in the "most viewed" charts for a greater chance of climbing to the top. Being one of the "most viewed" videos in any given category is like lighting a flare in the blogosphere and social media space. It can result in some great coverage from highly respected websites, which in turn will lead to more exposure, creating a snowball effect. This strategy is a great way of attempting to leverage a platform like YouTube to achieve viral status for your video.
Viral video production - more than meets the eye
Creating a video with the objective of it going viral isn't about producing something that is visually stunning and simply uploading it to your website and YouTube while waiting for the audience to start switching on. There are a number of aspects that need to be considered outside of the video production itself, which are equally important to the success of going viral. PR managers, search engine marketers and social media marketers also need to be factored into the equation if you are seriously briefing a production team to make you a viral video.
Jamie Field (@JamieField154) is Head of Video Production at TopLine Communications (www.toplinecomms.com), .