Going Viral

By Lauren Lazzara

Some of 2009’s most innovative ads include All the Single Babies, JK Wedding Dance, and David After Denist. Today,Lady Gaga was the first artist with one billion online video views. Why did each of these videos go viral? Although you cannot create a viral campaign (you never know if your campaign will go viral), there are a few things that all viral videos have in common.

1.) Your video must be engaging. Why do you think that Lady Gaga was the first artist to have one billion video views? She is creative and out of the ordinary. Although businesses want to use videos to promote themselves, it is important that the video is about the audience. Lady Gaga is over the top and puts on a show for her audience. Even if you are not her biggest fan, you are most likely going online to see her latest music video.

2.) Aside from engaging, it needs to be clever and imaginative. As Gabby Diaz of Marketing Experiments Blog says, “Your not only making a video people will pass along, but spreading a brand that viewers will want to remember and reengage with.” The “JK Wedding Dance” became so popular because nobody had seen a bridal party dance down the aisle like that. It is creative and memorable and therefore spread quickly. Audiences wanted to reengage with it, whether sharing or re-creating the video. It was even re-created on The Office!

3.) Optimize your video tags. When Esther Crawford, video blogger for Weight Watchers, visited my Social Media class this semester, she said tagging requires creativity when first starting out. You need to think about what people are searching for on YouTube and tag accordingly. “If a Brittany Spears song is in your video then tag Brittany Spears.” Tagging effectively can ultimately create search engine optimization (SEO).

4.) Distribution. Make your video widely available. There are other video sharing sites aside from YouTube and Facebook. Don’t forget to look to Yahoo Video, Daily Motion, Blog TV or Funny Junk etc. While spreading the word about your video, it is important to make sure that anybody and everybody can access it.

5.) Timing. Your video should be NO longer than 2-3 minutes. Lets face it; nobody wants or has the time to watch a 25-minute video.

Although going viral sounds great (and it is!) it is important to make sure that it is the right campaign for your product/business first. If you decide it is the right campaign for you and your video does not go viral, don’t get discouraged. It may take several tries to get the results that you want.

If you have any ideas, tips or comments on what makes a video go viral, please feel free share!

Lauren Lazzara is a senior majoring in public relations at Marquette University. She is involved in student government, special events committee and PRSSA. Lauren has a passion for the public relations and marketing fields, especially social media.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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