I recently wrote a post concerning a widely-held belief that YouTube simply "pushes" the channels that are already popular. My conclusions in that post were that YouTube does indeed do this--but only when you have shown that you can help yourself. In the middle of that, I talked about being able to talk to influencers, or "gatekeepers," at blogs, websites, and social media.
Even though one commenter on that post told me that this sounded like a bunch of bs, it's the prevailing theme of most video success. You simply can't get a video to go viral without it. Even if the goal is not necessarily "virality," the entire theme is to get your video in front of people who would be interested in watching it. So if you make furniture videos, find those who write about and discuss furniture. Shake hands over the internet.
If you look at any source entitled, "How to make a video go viral," this is the main way to get people watching...if your content is good. Recently at the ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit, almost every panel mentioned this in some way, even though it was never explicitly pointed out. You must develop relationships with people who can get your videos some kind of press.
I was forwarded such a "how videos go viral" article earlier today. It takes three case studies: "Ryan Gosling won't eat his cereal," the Chris Hadfield "Space Oddity," sensation, and the video that seems to never take a break from our consciousness, "Dove Real Beauty Sketches." It delves into the sharing phenomenon really well: it even has 30-second YouTube videos mapping out the activity.
Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal:
And the video showing how it went viral:
Obviously, Ryan McHenry tapped into something silly when he made these vines. There are 17 in total as of this writing. It's as simple as it gets: take a Gosling clip, insert a spoon of cereal, and have his action in the clip make it look like he sees that cereal and doesn't want it. But you know, I bet if I searched all over the internet, I'd find other kinds of hilarious videos in the same vein that didn't go viral. Why? Because those people never struck up the relationships they needed to get that video shared. They think great content will eventually be seen, no matter what.
Even though we live in an entirely different age from say, ten, twenty years ago, the old maxim, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," still stands. We just don't have to get out of our house to do it anymore, although that would certainly help if you live in the neighborhood of a top influencer. We like to think that there is a certain fairness to the world: people will recognize me for my abilities and my hard work will pay off. What is it about applying to a tough university that you always hear: all the applicants have essentially the same qualities and the same extra-curriculars, but who gets in? What makes you memorable? Why should anyone take a chance on you? Take a look at this article in Forbes. Isn't that basically saying the same thing: those who get help are the ones who can help themselves?
In the video world, it's not enough to make great content. You can know every trick in the book to make awesome videos, but they'll never be seen until you take the initiative to position them in front of relevant people who have respectable followings.
The way you do that is much like developing any other relationship in the world. The YouTube Creator Playbook has a whole chapter dedicated to this. And I wrote about it a couple of years ago. The article not only covers the Playbook, but a classic Freddie Wong post where he tells the story about sending a "Price Is Right"-themed video to a Price Is Right blog. All of that is a blueprint in how to get a blog's attention. Because it's one thing to tell you that you need to do something. It's another to tell you how. That post tells anyone who wants to do the work how to get the attention of important influencers from blogs, social media, and other websites--but be prepared for quite a bit of rejection in the process, too.
For more on the study cited in the article, click here. You can see how those videos took off.