How to Make a Viral Web Video

When creating a potential viral video, there are a few items that you need to be aware to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance for video stardom. If anything is true, it’s that no video is guaranteed to go viral on the web. Many companies have tried, using massive advertising budgets, only to get a few hundred views from all their efforts. So even though there is no guarantee, if you follow the advice below, you are increasing your odds that you’ll have a web phenomenon on your hands.


The content of the video is the most important part. In order to motivate someone to share your video with friends and family, the video must elicit an emotional response. Be it a belly laugh or complete bewilderment from seeing something amazing happen, creating an emotion in your viewers will cause them to want to show this video to their connections to share the emotion they felt. A few items to keep in mind are be original, be yourself, you have something to offer that’s unique to you. Don’t try to copy other viral content as it is never as good as the original.

You should also be entertaining, don’t just pitch your product. People want to see the human in the videos. For example, if it’s a video resume, talk about some of your hobbies or things that you are passionate about outside of the office and perhaps capture some video of it. If you are just getting started and plan to make a series of videos, plan on being more entertaining in the beginning to capture more of an audience early. Once you have earned their trust and comfort, you can begin to focus more on the purpose of the videos.

Title and Screen Shot

Almost as important as the content are the title and screen shot of the video. The title and the screen shot are what people are going to see first when presented with the possibility to watch your video. The title is also what the search engines will use when determining which videos to display in a search. Most people are unaware that YouTube is the second largest search engine service after Google. Google will also return videos for some searches completed on Google itself. So you must balance between having your video be discovered from the search engines for a popular keyword while also creating a title that compels people to click to watch the video. Think about what titles create the desire for you to click and watch in your specific industry. You can also browse videos on YouTube or other video sites and see what type of titles are receiving the most clicks and views, then mimic that type of title for your video.

Also take some time to decide on the best screen shot to use for your video. Most video upload services will give you the choice of what snapshot of your video to use for display. Pick an image that creates wonder in people who will want to start the video to see what’s happening in the image.

Length and Distribution

In terms of length, keep your video short! Or at least get to the good parts (the hook) as early as possible. The attention span of most people these days makes it hard to keep someone interested when a video stretches beyond two minutes. Shorter is even better. You would be surprised at how much you can squeeze into a two minute video. So when filming, film as much as you can but edit your footage down to below two minutes if possible. Services like YouTube have a maximum of 15 minutes per video but hopefully you video will be well below that time limit.

Other services you may want to consider are Vimeo and Facebook video. The more places you can place your video, the more chances you have of someone seeing it. Aggregate services like TubeMogul allow you to distribute your video to multiple services (including YouTube and Vimeo) with a single upload.

It is also important to remember to place your video on Facebook. Facebook has a massive user base and people can easily share your video with their friends inside the Facebook network. You can upload it to your regular account for your personal connections to begin viewing or place it on your Facebook Page. You can also consider placing the video in both places so that it gets the most exposure, although some of your friends who are also fans of your page will see it posted twice. You can either upload your video directly with Facebook or just use the YouTube link. I would recommend uploading to YouTube first and using the YouTube link to place it on Facebook. This will keep the views recorded on YouTube from each Facebook view. The more views you get on YouTube, the more YouTube and Google will see your video as popular therefore returning it in the search results more often.

So again, there is no guarantee that a video will go viral. Following the practices above to include having unique and emotion causing content, having a compelling title and screen shot, and ensuring the video is easy to find around the web, will give you the best chances at your video becoming the next viral sensation!

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