Occasionally I get asked how to make a video go viral. In fact, recently I had a call from a government department that wanted to make a “viral” video. It’s times like these that I feel the caller is more interested in the concept than the outcome.
I asked why did he want a viral video – “because we want it to go viral.” Yes, I replied but why are you looking to do that – “because we don’t have any videos that are viral.” I started thinking of the ABC’s show – Utopia.
I moved on to explain some of the requirements that help make a video go viral. I had written on this topic in my book so I felt I could explain the reality of this elusive goal.
Firstly you need a concept that is extremely shareable. He explained his idea and I politely suggested another couple of concepts off the top of my head that would be better. Ideally, there should be humor in the concept and the less brand awareness the better.
Getting the concept right is the start of the process. Regardless of all the other steps, you need to have a video that people will want to share. It needs to connect with them with humor and emotion.
Then you need to have a distribution strategy to get some momentum. I explained to my caller that he would need to send the video out to their database and any other databases that they could tap into. He contested that they couldn’t do that because of privacy restrictions.
Being speechless on a phone call doesn’t sound so good, so I quickly regathered myself and continued regardless.
The third step is to get the video in front of media commentators who can highlight it. This then broadens the reach of the video and opens up entirely new areas of distribution. However, without the first two elements in place, this is not going to happen.
I then checked in again, trying to find a reason for making this “viral” video. What is the message you want to deliver or outcome you are trying to achieve? I asked. I won’t reveal the Government Agency involved, however, the message was that people needed to come to this department to do something that they couldn’t do anywhere else and wouldn’t think of going anywhere else to do it.
I was thinking “and this is where my taxes go.” ☹
It’s great if you can create a video worthy of going viral but perhaps stop to think about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve.