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Cracking YouTube Viral Videos

With the conference wrapped up and now back in rainy SF (can’t seem to escape the rain lately), I wanted to share some tips and highlights of the conference speakers that I attended.

Over the last few days I managed to see tons of awesome panelists, speakers and keynotes but one I think that everyone can benefit from was on creating a viral video. I mean, who doesn’t love a good YouTube video? We all know that viral videos are great cost-effective ways to generate brand awareness and help foster a corporate following. So how can we crack the viral video code?

Well according to panelist Prerna Gupta, CEO of , a music mobile app company, here are the keys to creating a killer viral video:

1. Music – Music is an integral part of any successful YouTube video. Gupta made a clear point that having a catchy tune is a great way to increase the chances someone will share your video. Music helps set the stage for the video, so if you can add some nice music to your video it’s a huge plus.

2. Surprise – While having a cool soundtrack is critical, having shock or surprise value in your video is equally (if not more) important. So whether it’s something unexpected, shocking or silly, having a surprise is a key characteristic of viral videos.

3. Cuteness – From Lolcats, to puppies, everyone’s a sucker for a cute video. Gupta suggests adding a little curtness to your video never hurts.

4. Humor – Maybe a little obvious, but still very important. We all love a good laugh, so try to incorporate some humor in your videos. Yes, it’s a little “easier said than done” but Gupta tries to break it down into two categories: parodies or absurdity. She points out that parodies are a great way to add a little spice into a video particularly because a parody can be pretty simply to create. She points out that some of the most successful YouTube videos are those that parody celebrities or real life events. This way, you don’t have to spend time and resources trying to be totally creative on your own.

5. Celebrities – It’s always good to have a little “bling” when trying to create a viral video. Celebrities are a great way to accomplish this. I know what you’re thinking “my video just went from a few hundred to a several thousand dollars”, but hang on a second. A celebrity doesn’t have to be Matthew McConauughey (in maintaining our Texas theme) instead you could use internet celebrities – take Mishka the talking dog, or the Gregory brothers for example. While these celebrities may or may not be a house hold name, they do have significant following on the web and are definitely worth thinking about.

6. Dump the product placement – Gupta points out that product placements are completely pointless so don’t even bother. Think about it, do you remember the brand of cereal T-Pain was eating in I’m on a Boat? Do any of you even remember that T-Pain even eats a bowl of cereal in that video? The point I’m trying to make is that product pitches, placements don’t create successful viral videos. In fact, Gupta points out that there exists an inverse relationship between the amount of product demonstration done in your video and its potential virality. While product demos are important to explain the value of the product to consumers, you want to be aware of how much time is spent on it. A simple rule of thumb to keep in mind: the more you time you spend demoing the product, the less virality your video will have.

So there it is, the keys to cracking the viral video code, I hope these tips helps you with your next video.

Your Turn

Experimented with viral videos on your own? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments.

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