"It went viral" are three of the sweetest words any internet video producer can hear.

While there's no foolproof way to transform your video to something that will be rapidly shared person to person, there are ways to maximize your video content and video marketing to enhance the performance of your video content.

For example, the ideal length of a viral video is generally between 15 seconds and 5 minutes. Anything longer than 5 minutes puts you at serious risk of boring the viewer.

We all seem to have shorter and shorter attention spans these days.

Tell a Narrative

One of the critical points to remember is that most viral videos are not heavily branded.

Viral videos make us laugh or make us cry, but they generally follow a narrative — weaving a story that we feel compelled to watch.

Many of us associate viral videos with adorable animals that mimic human behaviors or babies who giggle infectiously. But that's just scratching the surface.

The biggest viral video to date is still a music video. It is, of course, the global hit, Gangnam Style by Korean rapper Psy. It's YouTube's most viewed video ever with more than 2.6 billion views and counting.

Plan Your Viral Marketing Strategy

Before creating a video, plan your viral marketing strategy. That means researching your target audience and identifying the emotion you would like your video to provoke.

Resist the urge for a hard sell. You don't want to push your products or services; you want to tell a story.

Try to align the video with the rest of your marketing efforts. Otherwise, you are just waiting energy.

For example, say you create a brilliant video to drive traffic to your website. But if you have a low quality website or one that is difficult to navigate or generally unappealing, the whole point of creating the video becomes redundant.

Shock or Delight Your Customers?

When planning your video’s framework consider the options available to you.

  • Do you plan to shock your audience?
  • Do you plan to go left of center and do something bizarre and unexpected?
  • Do you want to focus on being insanely practical and adding value to something your customers are really interested in?
  • Do you have a marketing plan to promote your video after it is made?

The infographic below, which is an illustrated snapshot of some of the top tips to consider when you set out to create a viral video. 

How to make viral videos

Title image by Luciano Ribas