Viral Video Manifesto: Be Bold, Be Unforgettable
With over 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute to YouTube, how do you create a video that truly stands out? Simply put, don't be afraid to be different.
Seth Godin said it best "safe is risky."
While creating an unforgettable video is easier said than done, there are proven tactics that we can use when creating our next viral video sensation.
Be Humorously Different from Your Competitors
With close to 10 million views on YouTube, the DollarShaveClub video is one of my favorite viral videos of 2012 and highlights a simple method that we can all use.
Be extremely and humorously different from your competition.
Burst Media reports that comedy is the most popular form of online video content among all viewers (39%), followed by news (33%) and music (31%). By being satirically different from our competitors, we can all use comedy as a secret weapon when creating a viral video.
As an example, let's compare the DollarShaveClub video to a video created by Gillette:
|Celebrity spokesman||CEO is the spokesman|
|Razors are "Braun-engineered"||Razors are "f**king great"|
|5,070 views on YouTube||9,885,453 views on YouTube|
If you haven't already seen the video, I recommend watching it and you'll notice more examples of DollarShaveClub comparing itself to Gillette.
Create a Parody
Newsjacking in the PR world is the act of riding the momentum from a breaking news story into your company's favor by injecting a fresh perspective.
The simplest way to newsjack is to create a parody of an already popular video. The benefits of this method include:
- A built-in viral component by using a theme that is already popular
- Your video showing up in related searches and videos
- Making your video press worthy
A great example is the Inbound Style video created by Hubspot. By creating a parody of the popular Gangnam Style video, Hubspot was able to not only land press, but also build a deeper connection with its audience.
The Experts Weigh-in
I got a chance to interview the authors Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe of EepyBird to get a more in-depth look at this principle.
Steve: How can businesses create unforgettable content?
Stephen: This is indeed the hard part, but it can be done, and done repeatedly. One way to do something unforgettable is to explore something no one else has ever explored before and then spend more time than anyone else would expect exploring it further. That's what we did with Coke and Mentos, with the Coke Zero and Mentos rocket car and with the Extreme Sticky Note Experiments. That's what OK Go does in all their work. Other tactics that we discus in The Viral Video Manifesto include focusing on emotion and real human reactions and on creating something that's uplifting, funny or inspiring. One approach that's been successful for a lot of viral video creators has been following the Candid Camera style work pioneered by Alan Funt in the 1940's and 1950's. Rémi Galliard's videos follow this approach and have over a billion views total. Rohat Hossein's videos, particularly his Drive Thru Invisible Driver Prank from earlier this year also do this really well.
Steve: Can you talk about the Guess That Stain video and why didn't it work?
Stephen: This was All detergent's online send up of a game show starring Joan Rivers. There were a lot of problems with Guess That Stain, but primarily, it wasn't true. The "game" wasn't even a real game show but clearly a scripted and as a comedy sketch it was pretty weak parody. The stains that the actors we were supposed to believe were contestants had to "guess" were the most run-of-the mill stains imaginable: relish, ketchup and root beer for round one, salad dressing, barbeque sauce and mouthwash for round two.
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