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How to Make a Viral Video

A viral video is one that is passed along from person to person via the Internet, mobile phone or email. The most successful clips spread like epidemics. They leap international and cultural barriers, and expose millions of viewers to the messages they contain.

For every video that goes viral there are thousands of others that fizzle out after less than a hundred views on YouTube. Experienced video marketers know that viral videos share certain characteristics and techniques which you can learn and incorporate into your next video project.

Welcome to the Club

Using a highly recognisable song, catchphrase or situation gives the impression that the viewer is part of the in-crowd. Increase the impact of this technique by choosing material that appeals to your target audience. In the 1984 movie, The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger was refused entry to a police station. He muttered the phrase, “I’ll be back!”, and soon returned to smash his way inside and wipe out everyone in the building. The Terminator made over $4,000,000 in its first box office weekend, and went on to spawn three sequels. It is safe to assume that the protagonist’s catchphrase will be familiar to many in the 30 to 60 age group.

Be Creative

People like to share things that have moved them in some way. If your video makes people laugh or cry, or makes them identify with the protagonist, then you are half way home. Neither expensive camera equipment nor a professional cinematographer can guarantee that your video is going to be capable of eliciting feelings. Instead, use your creativity and imagination to help you tap into the emotional centre of your target market.

Go Over the Top

People love a spectacle. If you want your video to go viral, imagine the most bizarre scenario and then multiply it by ten. Tell your story in an over the top, slap-stick or dramatic manner and it will grab attention.

Be Subtle

The more lightly you can weave your commercial or branding message into the video, the more likely people will be to pass it on. If they feel like the clip is nothing more than a company commercial they will resent the intrusion and switch off.

In conclusion, creating a viral video is all about being creative and getting your message across quickly. All you need is a simple video camera, and a liberal dose of imagination. See you on YouTube!

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