For many companies, businesses, agencies, and brands, the process of creating a video that has the potential to go viral and become a success follows a strategy that can be very hit and miss, based on past experience, available budget, and the creativity of the team behind the concept. For many marketing departments, the plan often goes a little something like this:
- Brainstorm an interesting and memorable video concept
- Assign a creative team to execute the video
- Share the video on social media and other brand channels
- Say a prayer and hope for the best
But after creating Virool, I know that the process of making a branded video go viral doesn't have to be based on pure chance. So how can you, too, create a video that is shared like Volvo's The Epic Split (72 million views) or Turkish Airlines' Kobe vs. Messi (137 million views)? The key is to have a systematic plan that uses engagement, timing, distribution, and strategy to build the initial audience of your video. To start with, try these five essential steps:
#1 Enhance Viewer Engagement
A video with strong viewer engagement captures the interest of the watcher and never lets go. But you don't have to enhance your viewer engagement simply by "gut feel". You can improve and enhance your viewer engagement by showing the video to a smaller sample of viewers and optimizing it using analytic tools such as a heat map of mouse movements and clicks.
#2 Time Your Release
Scheduled publishing allows you to schedule a private YouTube video to go public at the time it would be most advantageous to you. The video will remain private until the specified scheduled publish time. So pick the right time of day, and day of the week, to release your ad when you'll need less views to reach the top of YouTube leaderboards. To do this effectively, study the leaderboard categories for your type of video for a few weeks in advance. Look for the patterns that offer you special windows of opportunity.
#3 Seed Your Initial Views
Finding a video audience can seem like a classic Catch-22: You need an audience to get people to share your video, but you also need people to share your video to gain that audience. That's why I recommend never launching your video without a clear plan to seed your initial views. You can use a platform like ours, or reach out to others on your mailing list -- to get this initial momentum and get your "snowball" rolling. This was especially important for a video like Kobe vs. Messi (137 million views) that leveraged the Virool platform.
#4 Accelerate the First 24 Hours
YouTube algorithms place special weight on the first 24 hours after a new video is posted. So here's your mission if you choose to accept it: Demonstrate to YouTube that your video is one of the special ones that they should feature and promote. To do this, aim to create additional spikes during the first 24 hours after upload to show YouTube algorithms high rates of engagement like views, cooments, thumbs-ups, and shares.
#5 Fuel the Fire to Keep It Going
There are times in the life of a viral video when the virality starts to slow. Do you have a plan to jumpstart some views to counteract this effect? One way to fight back is to use more paid ad views and reach out to your biggest fans with new incentives for social sharing. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of viral video promotion. If you fuel the fire when it's about to go out, you can gain a whole new window of viral opportunity.