Last year YouTube accumulated one trillion views, or 140 views for every single human on the planet. Clearly, viral videos are to marketing what gasoline is to cars. They have the ability to propel you from the unknown into the spotlight. If you're thinking about creating a viral video to propel your business, cause or brand, where better to look than Hollywood's reigning viral and film elite?
Hollywood has been cranking out jaw-dropping, seam-splitting content for the better part of a century, and every director and producer from Fritz Lang to Michael Bay has helped forge a stage for artistic expression, comedy and lots of awesome explosions. Next time you pick up your camera, take a queue from the masters.
What's In a Name?
Viral video guru Dan Ackerman proclaims to Tech Crunch (.com) that, "I dont care how 'viral' you think your video is; no one is going to find it and no one is going to watch it. Ackerman goes on to explain that most videos on YouTube are like "single needles in giant bails of hay, and in order to snowball into something visible, you'll need more than just crossed fingers and a dream."
Your video's title is its calling card. Would you have gone to see Michael Bay's Transformers if it was called Sam Witwicky's Magic Car? NO, you wouldn't have, because it doesn't convey the impact and allure of how awesome Optimus Prime is. Titles are, perhaps, as integral as content when it comes to making your viral video stick.
If You Build It, They May Not Come
You can make the best viral video of all time, the holy grail of all things watchable then never get more than a few hundred views. Instead of collapsing in despair, because the world has rejected you, try improving your outreach. Even the most successful Hollywood studios regularly employ clandestine teams of guerrilla marketers to make their videos viral.
While a handful of people probably can't afford to hire a mega-agency, you can make a splash and give your video the push it needs to shed its training wheels. Organic outreach can be as simple as doing some research on your favorite, relevant blogs. Make sure to upload your video across multiple video aggregation sites not just YouTube and make sure to use trending and relevant meta tags to ensure your video is placed among the most appropriate categories.
Don't Forget About Content
The familiar slogan that content is king should also never be undermined when writing and producing your next major viral hit. Aside from the technical aspects of learning how to use a camera, like you were born attached to it, familiarizing yourself with basic Hollywood composition and shooting techniques is essential.
As far as the meat and potatoes of your viral masterpiece, you can have the best marketing strategy, title and camera angles ever conceived; but, if your video is missing some semblance of an engaging plot you'll never make it. This doesn't mean you have to be the next Michael Bay director or Steven Speilberg a plot can be anything from, man gets hit in crotch with football to A Tale of Two Cities, there just has to be something for your target market to sink their teeth into, and you standing shirtless in front of the mirror is most likely not it.