How to Create a Viral Video

I have to first off start by apologizing for not writing for a month. A lot has been going on for me.  I’m in the process of leaving my current position as the Social Media Strategist at Lethbridge College to start my new adventure as the Manager, Marketing & Web Development at NorQuest College.  Needless to say my time is very limited.  That being said, I wanted to share a very cool story.

Individuals and businesses have been trying to figure out the formula to create viral videos ever since the beginning of YouTube.

In some cases businesses are able to mix the right amount of wit and awesomeness with great promotion strategies and create a viral video.  An example would be BlendTec’s ‘Will it Blend’ campaign that started with blending golf balls or Old Spice’s campaign.

But most often, forcing or staging a video in the hopes that it will become a viral sensation will not work.

Serendipity

In 2009, Chris Brogan referred to social media tools like Twitter and YouTube as serendipity engines.  The notion being that social media tools allow you to accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated.

This is the key for creating a viral video.

When people ‘stumble’ across something awesome and share it with the world, that’s when content goes viral.

Take for example the video below.  It was filmed by one of my colleagues when camping.  It wasn’t planned or staged, it was serendipity.  It was posted 3 days ago and has been viewed over 190,000 times.

In a world of mobile devices, you should always be prepared to capture an awesome moment and share it with the world.

It’s not a campaign that drives a video, but more often it’s the video that drives the campaign.

What do you think are the qualities of a viral video? Can organizations recreate them?

  • http://www.crackle.com/ watch movies online free

    If you want your video to be viral, you have to focus more on the content of the video. If the video is unique, witty, funny or interesting it will surely capture a lot of views from the user. 

  • http://twitter.com/wotherspoond Doug Wotherspoon

    Fun or Freaky, and adding a cultural icon to the mix doesn’t hurt. At Algonquin College we created a Christmas Choir Flash Mob that was produced by out TV Broadcasting students. The Darth Vader connection I think is what made it viral at over 500,000 views and counting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiDTufRNL10  

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/themomof6boys TheMomof6Boys

    Viral Videos are the best when they are capturing those spontaneous moments and not necessarily planned. While production companies and advertisers are able to create popular videos, they don’t necessarily fall into the same category as the viral videos that are captured life moments. My viral video was one of those moments that couldn’t be staged. It just happened. So many people try to chase after the idea of creating a viral video when really, they should just strive to create good content. Consistent content will draw a long term loyal audience whereas viral videos get passerby viewers.