Viral videos have become such an important part of pop culture. Everyone knows the classics (i.e. “Charlie Bit My Finger”) but these videos can do more than entertain.
They can bring light to troubling problems. This year millions of people watched Karen Klein, a 68-year-old bus monitor, get verbally abused by the children riding the bus. Viewers were appalled by the children’s behavior, and one group raised over $750,000 for Ms. Klein to go on a vacation.
They can unite a nation. Millions watched with baited breath as Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a small space craft and free fell to Earth, breaking the world record for longest free fall.
Perhaps most important to public relations professionals, viral videos can bring your client into the spotlight and expose their brand in a matter of days. Psy, a South Korean singer, uploaded his hit song “Gangnam Style” to YouTube and it became the first ever video to reach over 1 billion views on YouTube. He received almost instant celebrity status.
How to Make a Video Go Viral
So, for public relations practitioners who need a way to put their client in the spotlight, a viral video may be the answer. Here are 5 important tips for ensuring your video gets seen.
1. It has to be interesting
There’s a reason not every video on the internet goes viral. The key to making your video a success is making it interesting enough to be viral in the first place. Apple‘s advertisements have been extremely successful on YouTube because they are interesting. There isn’t a customer on screen talking about how much they love Apple’s products. They are innovative, cute, and to the point.
2. Utilize Social Media
Social media is the main catalyst for getting a video to go viral. Post it on Facebook. Tweet the link at your friends, coworkers, family members, news outlets, celebrities – basically ANYONE that might care about your client’s video. Newer applications like Vine and Instagram could even be used to promote videos. For clients that have a big following on social media, more people will see it quickly. If your client doesn’t have a huge following, make sure to share your video with people that you know or accounts that publish similar content to get more retweets or reposts.
3. Submit the video to websites and other major media outlets
Using traditional media outlets is just as important as using social media. If your client is a local company, try submitting your video to the online version of the local newspapers or magazines. Have a client that is already a big name in the industry? Submit the video to websites that discuss similar topics. If your video is funny, get creative! Send it in to TV shows that like to highlight YouTube videos each week. Shows like The Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with John Stewart, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show videos all the time. Maybe yours will be the lucky one that catches their eye!
4. Be persistant
This is the most important tip. Your client’s video is never going to get anywhere if you post it once and that’s it. It will be slow at first, because not as many people will be exposed to it. A video might need to be posted, 10, 20, even 50 times before it gets out to a lot of people. Tweeting the link at shows might not get their attention right away, but if you keep tweeting/posting the same thing at them over and over again, believe me, they’ll see it!