To be or not to be . . . viral?

I’m often asked how video can be optimised either to go viral or to deliver great SEO . . . ultimately to deliver a memorable and positive brand message.

The short answer is that ‘viral’ isn’t something that you can create – people, other people, make your content go viral. SEO you can materially affect. Here are some suggestions – not rules. Your circumstances, your product and your brand will help set the frame.

Be relevant – Be reactive, but be aware that the results will appear and fade just as quickly. Timing is of the essence.

Be entertaining – Cinema rules. Look at it this way, we are all trained to follow a story . . . it’s called engagement. Add drama, laughs, tension, light and shade. Don’t just sell the product, sell the context and the characters. Work the brand into the story. Be transparent – a strong story well told breaks down more barriers than subterfuge and enhances perceptions of quality as it relates to your product / brand.

Be concise – Bored at work? You may have 90 seconds before another demand on your time appears. Busy working? You can only spare 90 seconds before you have to get back to being busy. Get it?

A tight script and using pictures/situations to paint a thousand words will convey your ideas quickly. A 90 second video is way more effective than a ten minute epic – start editing before you start rolling.

Be broad – The early days of testosterone-fuelled videos full of action, blood, bodily fluids and risqué humour are, if not gone, then certainly less relevant. Viewers reward positive videos everyone can enjoy. Remember, this is about sharing. Make your message moronically mono-cultural and de-facto it will have very limited circulation.

Be progressive – Don’t aspire to be a one-hit wonder. Think about a sequel. Consider filming several short episodes in succession to maximise use of time, create coherence and minimise costs.

Be seedy – NOT like that! Place your videos into editorial content that appeals to your target viewer. People are looking for relevant content – appeal to a pre-qualified audience and let them do the work of sharing your content.

Be searchable – Catchy, concise, consistent: These are the rules of SEO. They apply to video optimisation too. Think about key words and compelling headlines and work these into the video script and tag those key-words in your video description to offer best value. Create a catchy title, perhaps a question?

Be clear – Calls to action should emphasised in the final frame. After all, isn’t that the point of your viral video? Make it easy for customers to click through to your site.

Be conversational – Video is just one tool in an effective campaign. Let’s assume you can create a viral sensation on Twitter or Facebook. When you do, expand to other areas. Keep the conversation going . . . and remember that like any conversation it has a life of it’s own, you can’t control it.

Be creative
Video is a creative medium. Don’t be afraid to experiment or change your branding to suit the medium. If you can present your product in a unique or amusing way then it will have a far greater chance of going viral.

And finally . . . There are no ‘rules’. Don’t believe anyone that tells you there are.

Check out some of my simple Video SEO tips

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