Let me just start this post with a simple statement.  Trying to purposely create a viral video is like playing the lottery.  You have to be in it to win it, but the chances are highly unlikely that you will do it.

Successful online videos – those that have a great viral potential as they gain rapid popularity and generate a great number of views – all seem to have one key thing in common. The human factor. When videos start popping up on media influencer websites, major publications and in news feeds on social media sites, everyone wants to know what the buzz is about. But what makes us watch and then share the video? Whether the video is about heart-pumping action and excitement or about social justice and causes with a heartfelt message or about contagious hilarity, a video’s ability to pick-up momentum and be shared across town or across the world has more to do with our connection to people. People want to share a video, mostly because they like it and know someone else who will like it, but also because they are passing along something good, like a good lawyer or dentist, and that makes them look good too. It’s about emotion.

There’s no rule that will guarantee a million or billion viewers, but from a consumer behavior standpoint, probably one of the biggest factors to think about is, once again, emotion. While keeping it brief and simple are always important guidelines, those ideas don’t always matter for viral videos. The first few seconds of the video needs to capture attention, tug on emotion and deliver the message. If it does all of that, people will be motivated to watch and then share.

Capture Attention

  • Is it unique, out of the ordinary, and memorable?
  • Is the content and presentation sincere, honest and helpful in some way?
  • Does it entertain and make an impression? Good or bad, all impressions counts.

Some Ways to Do it…
Humor, Bold Statements, Shock Value, Bold Colors, Odd Situations, Catchy Music, Well-Chosen Fast or Slow Motion, Special Effects, Striking Imagery, Fast-Paced Action

Tug On Emotion

  • Can the viewer relate to the content?
  • Is it silly, sad or serious?
  • Does it strike a nerve?

Some Ways to Do it…

Familiar Settings, Things and Situations, Popular Subject Matter, Catchy or Soothing Music, Well-Chosen Fast or Slow Motion, Well Spoken Narration, Trusted Personalities

Remember, there’s no guarantee a video will go viral, but the human factor helps.