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Secrets to successful viral videos

The emphasis on online video has been increasing in recent months, and there is someone who confidently says that they will soon be the only form of communication. We do not push that far because we like the language (especially the Italian, although much-exploited) written , but it's a fact: television has trained the last three generations, and now the online videos are the natural implementation of a form of communication that we are already used to and that we appreciate.

Web 2.0 and widespread communication

The gurus of web 2.0 will now beat me: now the communication system is completely different, however, in that it is no longer about broadcasting, but about two-way communication , where users are no longer just spectators, but also active agents.

User generated content portals and social networks in general are the hype of the moment.
But are they really the same thing? Are the contents that are most popular and shared and that are most successful really generated by users and rewarded because they are the best?

Traffic, visibility and viral content

When we talk about viral content, we always think of a video made at home by some young creative, with a brilliant and funny idea that manages to make it stand out from the crowd and is therefore seen and shared by many, and more and more. We take the meritocracy of the web for granted , where the best contents are those that are successful, rewarded by users' approval and spread by word of mouth. Another scenario proposes some brilliant creative, some young and brilliant agency, who manages to produce a really fun promotional video. Ok. Disappointment: often not exactly like that!

The secrets of success

Many agencies offer themselves as viral video producers , they promise that their videos will be viewed by thousands of users. The incredible thing is that they really work . All brilliant ideas?

Rather the experience, the knowledge of the medium, and some tricks of the trade, are often worth the first page on Youtube or various clones, as shown among others by this interesting article written by those who professionally produce successful videos on the web.

Here is the summary of the described technique and the main points of the article, leaving the detail of the techniques to the full reading (in English).

Summarizing and simplifying to the extreme, the heart of the described technique is this:

1 – publish a potentially attractive and entertaining video , bearing in particular these criteria:

  • short video , 15-30 seconds;
  • with a simple concept , which can be reused by others;
  • do not make a publicity;
  • make it somehow exciting;
  • use incredible (and fake) titles;
  • as a last (surefire) resource, use sex;

2 – promote the video as much as possible the first few days in all possible channels of various types, such as:

  • Blog
  • Forum
  • MySpace
  • Facebook
  • Mailing list
  • Friends

3 – once you get to the most viewed page, work on:

  • titles,
  • thumbnail,
  • descriptions,
  • comments

to make the most of the hype moment .

If the technique succeeds, a virtuous mechanism of expansion, sharing, wow, or in other words … millions of views is obtained . Cool, huh?

Here is the original lineup of the article I recommend reading:

  1. Not all videos are what they seem
  2. Content is NOT King – that is, content is not the most important thing
  3. Basic strategy: get to the most viewed page of the day
  4. Title optimization
  5. Thumbnail optimization
  6. Comments: discuss with yourself
  7. Publish all videos simultaneously
  8. Strategic tagging
  9. Metrics / Tracking: how to measure effectiveness


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