What makes a clip go viral? 20 tips on creating a viral video

This article contains 20 tips on creating a viral video.

First of all, what is a viral clip? According to Wikipedia,

A viral video is one that becomes popular through the process of internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites and email.
[…]
Humor is often a characteristic of viral videos, but not a defining one. A viral video is any video that’s passed electronically, from person to person, regardless of its content.

So what are a few tips of mine for creating a viral video?
1. The clip should present something new, or exciting, or very interesting; it’s best to combine the three and create a clip that has all of these qualities.
2. Having an original idea, a fresh concept, helps a lot in creating a good video;
3. There are some risky methods for creating a good video: create a controversial clip, start a scandal, build on sensationalism, start conspiracy, play on taboos, use dark humor, have shocking material, use sexual references, include patriotism; it can be safer, though, to use general things such as: comedy, games, tools, services & information, artistic content, top ten lists, collections, celebrities;
4. When you create the clip, avoid making it specifically to look and feel like a linkbait; make your content look like a genuine useful content;
5. If you have an option to choose between a happy mood video and a sad mood video, pick, all the time, the happy video; make your audience enjoy themselves;
6. It’s best to create a sense of wonder; also useful are inspiration and surprise;
7. For best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practices, you should have good metadata for the video; use tags and proper descriptions;
8. What human experiences tend to make a video go viral? Love, food, sex and laughter have a better chance of being sent over and over via Internet;
9. When creating the video, you should continuously ask yourself “Why would someone watch it?”; provide a good answer to this, otherwise don’t make a video;
10. People tend to close a video if they are not engaged in the first 20-30 seconds; give them a catch at the very beginning of the movie;
11. Try to make the clip short: 15-30 seconds is best; if you have a long story, slice into smaller clips;
12. Make a catchy title using words such as: “exclusive,” “behind the scenes”, “leaked video”;
13. You should note that YouTube offers you three choices for the thumbnail of the video, one of which is grabbed from the exact middle of the video; so you should make sure that the frame at the very middle is interesting;
14. How to choose a thumbnail? Make sure that the thumbnail is clear (this implies that the video is of good quality) and ideally it should have a face or at least a person in it;
15. If someone comments badly, with no arguments on the video, you can safely delete that comment;
16. If you have two options: release 5 videos all at once or release them each separately, it’s best to release all of your videos at once; the reason is simple: if someone likes your video, that person will look for other related videos on YouTube and will (probably) find the other videos you’ve made;
17. If you tag four videos at once, make sure that at least some tags are common to all of the four videos, since they will determine what shows up in the “Related videos” section;
18. Whenever possible, exaggerate things; if you made a funny video, make it hilarious; if you made it a bit strange, try and make it shocking; go off the beaten track;
19. A good idea to make a video go viral is to shoot in High Definition (HD) format; this will make your video look professional; also, you can use multiple cameras;
20. If you involve other people in your video, you can trigger a much better emotional response; have people participate in the creation of the video; if that’s not possible, at least use them for distribution;

Read more: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.


Note: Also see the Yahoo! Group on which I present similar issues:IMRo. To join, email imro-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and reply to the confirmation email.

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

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