A viral video is any video that becomes popular and widespread through the use of the internet. These can include professionally made clips, such as Saturday Night Live sketches or movie trailers, but just as commonly, if not more so, come from amateur content producers. This is good news for you; you don’t have to be Andy Samberg or Justin Timberlake to get your video seen. You can just be a regular dude. Or, more beneficially, a cute baby animal of some sort. Regardless of who or what you are, if you follow these steps, you could be on your way to viral stardom.
Attain a video capturing device
This can be a laptop, a phone, or if you’re old fashioned, a video camera. It doesn’t have to be great quality–in fact, internet viewers are used to low-budge amateur endeavors and in some cases are turned off by anything that looks like it was surreptitiously produced by professionals. Decide what look you want and go with it.
Decide what you want your video to be
OR be recording in the right place at the right time. There are two types of viral videos: (1) those written or planned, and (2) those that just happen to capture something funny, shocking, scary, or dramatic happening. The first includes sketches, pranks, web series, impressions, stand-up, or performing music in front of the camera. It also includes taking existing video and putting your own original spin on it, known as a MASH-UP. Think of it as a remix. The second kind of viral video just involves luck, a quick hand, and in a lot of cases somebody being in pain. If you happen to be around when your friend is about to ride his bike into a parked-car, and you’re quick enough to get your camera rolling before it happens, you may just have a viral video on your hands.
THREE HELPFUL NOTES:
(A) Keep your videos short, ideally under a minute. These are easily digestible for the attention-span depraved internet zombies.
(B) Make your own video designed for remixing by others. It will get people involved and invested in your content. And yours will always be the original people go back to watch.
(C) Sex sells. If you throw a hot girl in your video, it is more likely to get watched. Just the facts.
Choose a site to upload to
Once you’ve captured your video and edited it to your liking, it’s time upload. But there are more videos uploaded each day than there are babies born. You can’t expect anybody to find your video in this sea of distractions known as the internet… Unless you have strategy. And first thing’s first: deciding where the best site to upload your video to. YouTube, Break, Vimeo, or Funny Or Die are some of the premiere sites to upload video to. Each has a different type of audience and is conducive to various types of video. So do your research and figure out what is best for you. YouTube is always the safe bet. And, who knows, perhaps you’ll choose to upload to many sites and engage multiple audiences–as long as you’re okay with splitting your view count.
Adjust the details
For starters, the title and thumbnail of your video should be attention-grabbing; if they are bland or generic, nobody will click on it. Again, sex works. If your thumbnail is a close-up of cleavage, you’re going to get people’s attention. List keywords, or tags, that are unique but will also come up in popular searches. This will increase the chance of people stumbling upon your video randomly.
Once you have it uploaded you can’t just walk away, play some Xbox, and expect to come back to a million-plus views. You need to market your product. This includes finding appropriate blogs or websites that will feature your video for their readers or audiences. For example, if your video is a parody of Lady Gaga’s music video, you should send your video to Lady Gaga fan (or hate) sites. Marketing also includes social networking: post links to your video on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, and Digg. You could even start an e-mail chain to your friends who spend most of their day surfing the web to get them passing it around. Sit back and watch your view-count rise. If you make it on http://www.viralvideochart.com, you know you’ve hit it big.
If you follow all these steps, you have a better chance of going viral than the average uploader. However, it’s important to keep your expectations low: it’s hard to make a video go viral with so much competition out there, and a lot of it comes down to plain luck. But, if there’s anything to learn from videos that HAVE gone viral, it is that it can happen to ANYONE. So good luck, and when you’re topping the most viewed pages, don’t forget who helped you out when you were just a beginner.