We’ve all done it. You get a short video clip in your email. Meh, you say, as you wearily click upon it, not expecting to be impressed. But then something magical happens. You’re captivated. You’re entertained. You laugh and feel genuine emotions. Before you know it, you’re sending the clip to everyone on your email list. You’ve got to see this, you exclaim in the subject. Your friend receives the email. Meh, they say, as they wearily click the link. And the process snowballs.
The Magic Recipe
Sorry, it doesn’t exist. And if it does, you can count on the fact that whoever knows the secret formula is keeping to themselves like the recipe for Coca Cola. Viral videos are so popular, and can be such effective marketing techniques, precisely because their enchantment is indefinable and difficult to replicate. They strike a chord, that chord resonates, and soon everyone is singing along.
Theory of Forms
Though you may not be able to put together a viral video on demand, you can look at successful examples and attempt to emulate their commonalities. The philosopher Plato stated that non-material abstractions, also known as forms or ideals, are the highest kind of reality. Our material representations of these forms, which we experience through adulterated sensations, can strive toward these forms but never quite reach the pinnacle of their perfection. So what is the ideal form of the viral video?
First Things First
Before you set out on your viral video sojourn, get your house in order and decide what it is you’d like to convey. Even if you succeed and go viral, if there is no substance behind your fantastic clip, what’s the point? Decide what you’d like to achieve with your video. Do you want to promote your website or a specific product or service you offer? Optimize your video with relevant keywords and tags, and cross-promote on plenty of social networks. Basically, give your video the tools it needs to achieve viralness. Or is it virality? Include a forceful call to action, or even two or three, so your impressed viewers will know what steps to take next.
Short is Sweet
Nobody will watch your video if it’s excessively long. So what is too long? It’s hard to say. If your video is genuinely entertaining and informative, people may stick around for over a minute, but going past 60 seconds is pretty risky. 30 or less is even better. You’ll want to capture viewer’s attentions in the first few seconds of the clips, so come out strong. From there, find a rhythm and do whatever you can to keep your viewer’s hooked. Study television advertising for examples.
Make ‘Em Laugh
You don’t have to be funny to go viral, but it’s certainly going to help. If you’re not a natural comedian, don’t despair. Seek out some help. Viral videos are extremely competitive and it can be a tremendous help to get some professional funnymen and women on board. Don’t know any comedians or writers? Though they can be notoriously anti-social except when on stage, they are not so hard to find. Hang out at a comedy club or improv theater for a night and put your networking skills to work. Most people in the comedy world are looking for work, and they’d be happy to assist you for adequate compensation. If you do decide to hire out for this, be sure to let your team work freely. Of course, you’ll want to give them an outline of your message and the image you’d like to convey, but don’t try and limit their creativity.
As Many Eggs as the Easter Bunny
If you’ve got a lot to say, make several videos instead of one. In fact, if you’re lucky, a series of related videos can build a dedicated audience that is literally waiting on the edge of their chairs for your next submission. It’s not easy to get noticed in the ever-widening sea of viral videos, and the more chances you take, the better your odds of striking oil.
Do you have an example of a video you just had to share? Let us know with a comments below!
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.