Six Key Tactics for a Successful Viral Video
If you can think of a relevant way to utilise video as part of your
marketing then there’s every reason you should.
Research shows that
audiences are extremely comfortable with the medium (YouTube alone makes
up almost a quarter of Google search queries), it’s cheap to
distribute, needn’t be expensive to produce and ranks highly in the SEO
If you run things properly, then video can drive a huge volume
of traffic to your site.
Here are a few key practices to get you started…
Part of viral marketing may be pure luck, but that doesn’t mean you can’t optimise your existing and upcoming video for maximum links and viral spread.
There are any number of reasons that certain video content catches the wider public’s imagination and experiences rocketing traffic, but by and large successful viral videos conform to a few set criteria.
If you want to grab a few extra hits, then you need to be fast on your feet. If you have the capability to produce video quickly, then you can certainly hop on board with current trends or relevant news.
Just remember that this option needs to be quick-in, quick-out. Nothing dates faster than pop culture, so while it’s fine to reference and riff on what’s going on, remember that timing is of the essence.
Don’t leap on a bandwagon too late or overstay your welcome.
Just because online video is a relatively new medium, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the rules of cinema. As with any other marketing stream, people want engaging and relevant content.
If you’re making a video, that means you need to add drama, tension or big laughs. It’s easy to create a video about your product, but if you go for the straight sell you’ll end up with the online equivalent of a 1950’s TV commercial.
Instead, take the reality TV route. Create a story and utilise product placement throughout.
Sell the situation and the characters, not just the product.
YouTube recently announced plans to increase video length to fifteen minutes, but that doesn’t mean you have to fill that time. A 90 second video can be more effective than a ten minute epic so make sure you start editing even before you start rolling.
Put together a concise script and really think about the visual medium. A picture paints a thousand words, so you have an opportunity to convey your ideas quickly.
Generally speaking a viewer will start to lose interest around the three minute mark, so ditch any filler.
Something else to think about early on is the possibility of a sequel. Just because you won’t be vying with Spielberg come Oscar season, there’s no reason you can’t have a successful franchise (If you need proof, look at Jerry Bruckheimer…).
If you plan things properly and work with a decent director then there’s no reason you can’t film several short episodes in a single sitting, maximising cost efficiency and giving you the chance to progress and develop your ideas and your brand identity, creating anticipation rather than trying an audience’s patience.
A successful series will add up to more views and a longer lasting return on your investment, so plan ahead.
Whenever you right copy or put together a campaign, you’ll be thinking about key words and compelling headlines and you should keep that in mind with video as well. A good title should be catchy and concise.
Video is often ranked highly by search engines as well, so make sure you frontload those key-words and offer value, consider using a question as a title. Overall, make sure you keep one eye on your customer research and target video accordingly.
Finally, remember your CTAs.
Whatever you’re selling, make sure you emphasise it in the final frame, otherwise you could be left with a clever, shareable video that fails when it comes to sales.
You should brand your videos throughout with an on-screen bug, add calls to action whenever possible and make sure you optimise SEO in descriptions and tags when you upload your content.
Remember to make it easy for customers to click through to your site.
Above all, video is a creative medium.
Whatever your product, it’s usually best to keep a friendly tone of voice that isn’t too formal, and don’t be afraid to experiment or change your branding to suit the medium.
If you can present your product in a unique or amusing way then it will have a far greater chance of going viral.