I’ve been in the production community for the majority of my career but have yet to be part of creating a video that has had amazing viral success. I watch all of them– sneezing pandas, skateboarding dogs and I still quote Charlie bit my finger.

So when I attended Digital Megaphone’s Social Media Masters Summit and had the chance to watch BuzzFeed’s presentation on viral videos – I was thrilled.

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways You can Create Viral Videos told by Kenley Bradstreet, interpreted by Meghan Ross.

The 5 Simple Steps:

  1. You Do NOT create a viral video
  2. Form a Human Connection
  3. Speak Directly to your Audience
  4. Distribute (what’s your plan?)
  5. Build on Success
  1. You Do NOT create a viral video

What content will emotionally engage your intended audience? Even better – what will move them to pass along your content for you?

  1. Form a Human Connection

Don’t talk about yourself – what matters to your audience?

Video example: The Time You Have (In JellyBeans)

http://youtu.be/BOksW_NabEk

It makes you think: Who do you love? Who do you want to sleep next to at night? Who are you thinking about as this video plays?

Then.. Do I really spend that much time in the bathroom?

For me, it basically screams STOP WASTING TIME! Say what you need to say, say it now and to whom needs to hear it from you.

  1. Speak Directly to your Audience

Balance your brand goals with your social strategy.

Pillars to make a video:

Identity: Says who I am. What am I into?

Emotional Gift: This made me feel x. I’d like to feel x. Aim to pass along emotion.

Information: This supports a view I share. Due to this shared view, I will pass along.

Example: If you’re at a party – no one likes the guy who just talks about himself. But everyone likes the guy telling great, engaging stories.

Video example: Awkward Things We All Do In Our Teens But Would Never Admit

http://youtu.be/M4MIc4PQvWM

Kenley made a good point: even niche content can reach a giant audience through the emotional force of sharing. Don’t be afraid to speak to a niche audience – they’ll identify, love it and share it so that eventually a large audience will see it.

  1. Distribute – what is your plan?

The majority of BuzzFeed’s views result from social sharing. A small amount is a paid push. They typically promote on BuzzFeed, YouTube and various social channels.

Video example: Dear Kitten

http://youtu.be/G4Sn91t1V4g

At lunch earlier that day I was chatting with fellow conference members and we discovered that we’re all pet owners. I said how much this “Dear Kitten” video made me laugh and I don’t even own a cat. Then it was used as an example during this presentation – Yep, this BuzzFeed follower was in the know.

  1. Build on Success

Dear Kitten” came about due to the success of “Sad Cat Diary”. BuzzFeed created “Dear Kitten” and now it has turned into a “Dear Kitten” series. They continue to expand on this success and added dogs into the mix. Being a crazy dog mom myself, I love the “Regarding the Dog” video- http://youtu.be/3yNSF7ljOoU.

BuzzFeed – thanks for keeping on point and SHOWING us versus TELLING us. The audience was super engaged, laughing along the whole time, looking around the room at each other nodding their approval and acknowledging that they, too, have seen these videos and are in the know.

Meghan Ross
Director of Marketing
Resolution Productions Group
Twitter: Megs25
about.me/meghanross

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