How to make a video go “viral.”

A friend who is a director recently asked me about how to get his viral video he’s made “seen” by people. That’s sort of the $6 million question, right? I don’t have the answer unfortunately, but I’ve got some clues, thanks to 6 really good blog posts. Here they are.

Seven Deadly Sins of Advertising Via Viral Video

More Viral Video Lessons: An Interview with the My-Box-In-A-Box Geniuses

The Rules Of Viral Web Success, according to AdWeek.

And the rebuttal, The Rules Of Viral Web Success (My Foot)

6 Things Not To Do With Your Viral Video

I also like the LEGS rule from this post on the Video Insider blog: Viral Videos Ads: No Marketing Panacea (NOTE: I updated this link after the orignal post was removed.)

Here’s an excerpt from Viral Videos Ads: No Marketing Panacea:

[Viral] ads need LEGS, a convenient acronym that means viral ads have to have a Laugh out loud quality, Edgy content, must Grip your attention and most often have some Sexual content. Given that few campaigns (viral or otherwise) have LEGS, few will be able to create a successful viral campaign as Dove did with Evolution, and in most cases the reach is low. It comes back to the bottom line — a question of opportunity, cost, and return on investment.

Lastly,The Secret Strategies Behind Many “Viral” Videos has some interesting pointers in it.


Here’s an excerpt from The Secret Strategies Behind Many “Viral” Videos:
So how do we get the first 50,000 views we need to get our videos onto the Most Viewed list?  * Blogs: We reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs and actually pay them to post our embedded videos. Sounds a little bit like cheating/PayPerPost, but it’s effective and it’s not against any rules.
  * Forums: We start new threads and embed our videos. Sometimes, this means kickstarting the conversations by setting up multiple accounts on each forum and posting back and forth between a few different users. Yes, it’s tedious and time-consuming, but if we get enough people working on it, it can have a tremendous effect.
  * MySpace: Plenty of users allow you to embed YouTube videos right in the comments section of their MySpace pages. We take advantage of this.
  * Facebook: Share, share, share. We’ve taken Dave McClure’s advice and built a sizeable presence on Facebook, so sharing a video with our entire friends list can have a real impact. Other ideas include creating an event that announces the video launch and inviting friends, writing a note and tagging friends, or posting the video on Facebook Video with a link back to the original YouTube video.
  * Email lists: Send the video to an email list. Depending on the size of the list (and the recipients’ willingness to receive links to YouTube videos), this can be a very effective strategy.
  * Friends: Make sure everyone we know watches the video and try to get them to email it out to their friends, or at least share it on Facebook.Each video has a shelf life of 48 hours before it’s moved from the Daily Most Viewed list to the Weekly Most Viewed list, so it’s important that this happens quickly. As I mentioned before, when done right, this is a tremendously successful strategy.
If you read many of the comments on this last article, you’ll see that how you choose to reach people to promote your viral video can be viewed in a variety of ways, many of them very negative. Are you spamming someone? Breaking the terms of service for the site you’re posting on? How do your methods of promoting your video impact the message behind the video. All good things to ask.If you enjoyed the video I posted along with this post you might want to read ABC New’s coverage of the first one, Leave Britney Alone! Kid Signs TV Deal.

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