How to Create a Viral Video

You may have thought that viral videos were left up to chance. Enough people saw and shared a video to get the attention of a social media influencer and the next thing you know, the video is everywhere. While there is an element of chance in some videos going viral, many others were calculated and carefully crafted with the sole goal of going viral.

There are so many ideas about how to make a viral video and as time progresses and it gets harder to go viral, those ideas are changing, but there are a few common trends.

People Plan

Not everyone takes the time to plan out exactly how they are going to execute a viral video. In fact, there is really no way to predict whether your video will successfully go viral, but as Karen Cheng (creator of the viral video Girl Learns to Dance in a Year) will tell you, planning makes going viral feasible. Think of the 5 “W”s you learned in elementary school – except we are modifying it to be 3 – who, what, and why. “Who” is the people you plan on contacting to get involved with making the video viral. That includes friends, family, businesses, and anyone else you think might give you some attention. “What” is the content of the video that makes it worth going viral. “Why” is the reason people will make it a viral success (more on this later). In addition to these questions, thinking about the length of the video will also influence its success. People don’t have the patience to watch extended videos anymore, they want the entertainment to come fast and end fast. As you plan out your video, asking yourself these questions will help point you in the right direction.

The Element of Surprise

This is the “what” and “why” of viral videos because, as Kissmetrics emphasizes, content is the key to success. “What” and “why” determine the nature of the video and the reason behind it going viral whether it’s because it’s completely stupid, a great ad, or practical advice. Whatever route your video takes, the most important element is surprise. Get creative and don’t let norms of what people expect to see block your thinking. Most likely you will have to go through some trial and error to figure out what is surprising to people and what is unimpressive, but keep trying. In the end all that matters to the viewer is that they are entertained (even if it is not for the reasons you thought they would be).

Garner Support

This goes back to the “who” question. Who are you going to contact to help make your video viral? Sharing with friends will do a lot. Individually contacting them and asking them to continue sharing will do even more. But that may not be enough no matter how popular you are. You have to tap into a much larger, well-known network for something to go viral. This is what Kevin Allocca, the YouTube trend manager, calls “tastemakers.” Essentially, gaining the support of one tastemaker, such as Ellen Degeneres, or any other celebrity for that matter, will make you a success because they have thousands if not millions of fans that hang on every word they say. One share from them and you have gone viral.

Remember that virality is not always by chance. You make it happen by planning out all the details from “who” to “why.” Making the content surprising in some way will increase your chances of going viral. Most importantly, there is no way you will be able to make a viral video on your own, so network and see how much attention you can generate.

We also think a really good way to start your video going viral is to start with sharing it with coworkers, friends, and family through Wispeo. You can test out clip ideas, piece together shots from several different people, or just let them watch your great video before everyone else. Check out Wispeo (now available in the App Store and from Google Play) to get started on the easiest way to share your video files.

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