Last time we discussed a few popular viral video campaigns and what we can learn from them as small businesses looking to produce content that has the highest chance of going viral.
This time, we’ll discuss some fresh ways to concoct ideas for viral content, helping you to formulate the perfect campaign. We’ll break down some of the lessons we learned previously, as well as a few new pointers here and there. I’ll be referring to the examples in the previous article, so check it out and get up to speed. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Everyone on the same page? Awesome. Settle in and let’s get brainstorming…
The Brainstorming Sesh
We’ve all had that awful feeling of sitting at a blank screen or sheet of paper, waiting for inspiration to come to us. Hopefully these pointers will help get your creative juices flowing.
- First and foremost, you need to make sure you’re appealing to the right emotions. In all of the ideas you come up with your main question above all else should be “does this leave the viewer with a positive emotion?” Appeal to joy, humour, togetherness, excitement and entertainment rather than sadness, guilt or irritation. Nobody will want to share the latter emotions around – remember your viewer’s feelings are the linchpin to all viral efforts, so leave them feeling positive above all else.
- This brings us nicely on to the next topic; always appeal to “shareworthiness.” Aim for your campaign to be relatable and engaging in such a way that you could imagine someone who isn’t involved with your industry sharing that content with their friends. Go to your friends and family who are not involved with the industry to bounce your ideas off them and see if they “get” it.
- Always appeal to entertainment or informational value over the hard sell! You’ll have to mention who your company are and what you do at some stage, but if the whole video comes across as a big, long advert, nobody will want to share it, and it’s unlikely to stick in people’s heads. This is why we need to offer value in each video; whether that’s humour, information, useful tips, education or awareness.
- Check out what your competitors are doing. You don’t necessarily want to copy their approach, but seeing some of the points they make and the way they position their product or service as a solution may help you fire off some ideas.
- That being said, you certainly don’t want to copy their ideas to the letter; so why not go in a completely different direction? Stay aware of the problems that your company helps solve for people, but many successful campaigns take things down a very different path to their peers. The Old Spice example that I used in the previous article is a perfect example of this.
- Sticking with Old Spice for a second, we previously touched upon how they updated their image as an “old man’s product” to something with a bit more street cred. Video is a great way to do this. If your company is getting a little long in the tooth, don’t be afraid to take the path less travelled towards revamping your image!
- Which brings us on nicely to “don’t shy away from novelty!” Look at the Ronseal and Rainforest Alliance examples from last time; take a long, hard look at how your product or service affects everyday life or popular culture. Now think how different life would be if companies like yours didn’t exist; if your services were taken to the extreme; or something silly like what the world would be like if your services were outlawed. What extreme, zany conclusion can your business be taken to? Don’t be afraid to look at life through slightly wacky lenses (a lesson for life and for marketing).
- If a concept gets too complicated, scale it back or bin it. You need to make the concept simple and easy to understand, especially if you are hoping to turn it into a series!
- Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and use video to show your human side. Moving back to the Ronseal example for a moment, they framed their video as an apology. They took the light hearted criticism and used it as the basis for a promotional video, which in itself is an example of taking that criticism to its wackiest conclusion.
- End with a strong call to action, really telegraph what you want the user to do. Displaying your contact details is a good place to start; but think of how TV adverts really drive home the action they want you to take next. This is the only part of the video when you can be in the least bit salesy, but keep it succinct and certainly don’t spoil your good work by overdoing it!
- Remember to take a look at the process of whatever it is your video is asking the viewer to do. If there are any steps that can be removed or changed to make things easier, by all means make these changes before the video goes live. If your proposition is strong, but the practicality of performing the requested action is weak, unclear or difficult, they will lose interest super fast. And who wants to go back to a site or service that’s hard to use? Reevaluate your process from a customer point of view to make sure everything is as easy as possible to give your video the best chance possible.
- Last but certainly not least, if you intend for yourself, your colleagues or your team to feature in the video in any capacity, even in the background, you must appear alert, engaged and enthusiastic. It is important to show your passion for what you do when you are in front of a camera because any apparent boredom, annoyance or irritation becomes highlighted a thousand-fold. Featuring at least part of your team is great because people love putting faces to names, and seeing a productive and happy team adds to the sense of trust in your company.
Some Bonus Tips for Afterwards: The Viral Spiral
Hopefully you’ve come up with a few embryonic ideas for videos, but don’t forget that the work doesn’t end when the video gets uploaded! You’ll need to share it on social media to make sure that your followers are aware of your video. Obviously the larger your social follower-base, the better; but if not, don’t be afraid to ask for a few shares here and there. Twitter and Instagram are heavily based around hashtags, so look into using popular hashtags for your industry when sharing any content (not just video). Remember to share your video multiple times using appropriate hashtags – things move very quickly on social media so an older post soon gets buried. Don’t swamp your feed with the same content, but try posting your video on different days and times within a given week, and see what results you receive from each post.
One last little tip if you have uploaded your video to YouTube – remember to use cards! Cards are a relative newcomer to YouTube’s platform; they take the form of interactive calls to action that you can apply at different times within the video. They don’t obscure the video itself unless they are clicked. You can add a clickable web link, or provide some other opportunity for the viewer to act. ReelSEO can tell you all you need to know about YouTube Cards over on their site.Unsure what form you want your video campaign to take? Check out our tips for some viral inspiration. Click To Tweet
Do you have any tips for coming up with great ideas for video content? Have you got any video marketing success stories to tell? We’d love to hear from you! Please share your ideas down in the comments.