The Recipe for a Viral Video

There’s something about video content that makes consuming it, incredibly engaging. It takes barely any effort on the part of viewers, to get absorbed by the story unfolding in front of their eyes. Also, a video has the advantage of bringing together the best of elements of other media. It combines sound, pictures and text in ways that other media can’t.  It’s no wonder that almost every brand creating video content wants it to become an absolute epidemic.

‘So, what’s the secret sauce to video virality?’, ask business owners around the world. If there were a perfected formula for such a thing, we have a feeling every video might have the potential to go viral, thus creating a paradox in which no video would go viral.

There is absolutely no way we can formulize a viral video because there doesn’t exist a template. But after wading through the hundreds of thousands of online content, we get a taste of what ingredients make for the perfect viral video; if you want to dish out one, here’s what the recipe should probably look like.


A Dash of On-Trend Content

Tapping into current events and pop-culture is a great way to get people talking about a video. These will already have ample media coverage and be on everyone’s minds. Viewers will likely have an opinion on the matter. To take any such particular event and put a new, refreshing spin on it, would increase its relevance and the likelihood of the video getting shared.

In early 2017, all eyes and ears were tuned into the inauguration of Donald Trump. It was an event the entire world was aware of. Everyone had an interest in it; Trump’s supporters were enthusiastic, and the rest of the world was waiting with a slight air of dread, for the event to unfold. After witnessing an awkward encounter between Trump and Obama, the hostility between Trump and his wife, the presence of Hilary Clinton at her opponent’s inauguration, and most of all, after listening to what was described by historians as one of the ‘most ominous’ inaugural speeches in American history, viewers desperately needed some comic relief.

Amidst the wave of memes that followed, there was one bit of content that went viral. A spoofed and doctored video of “bad lip-reading” stood out for being published promptly after the event, and for being the kind of ridiculous humor that everyone needed. To date, it has over 37 million views and counting. It was relevant to its time and stays hilarious even today.


A Sprinkle of Surprise

Often, watching something we least expect is what keeps us interested.

Think of a well-made thriller or any movie with a plot twist. Didn’t it leave a far greater impact than any other? We feel comfortable when watching something familiar but pay attention to what’s different.

And that’s why, when audiences who were subject to Taylor Swift’s unavoidable hit ‘Trouble’ came across the goat-scream version of the song, there was an instant spark. The video was shared, watched and re-watched. Take a look and see if it makes you laugh.

A Spoonful of Easy Likes

There are a few things we humans are programmed to like easily. Content featuring babies is an Easy Like. Content with all kinds of baby animals is an Easy Like. Content that uses trending hashtags in the right way, is an Easy Like. Pay attention to what’s already being talked about on social media, and the internet’s current sharing habits- are people especially interested in pandas or sneakers right now? Find out!

To prove this point, we remind you of the Evian Baby commercial, that was so strange, so random, and went so viral because of its use of animated babies just around the time that baby videos were getting increasingly popular online.


A Dollop of Great Timing

If any of these viral videos were released a month after, they might not have worked. The trick is to be timely, and up-to-date with what’s on the collective conscience of the world, then create and release content that hits the bullseye.

And finally …

A Garnish of Earnestness

If you make a video with authenticity, whether the objective of it is to have fun or convey a social message, it’s bound to form a deeper connection with audiences. The trick is to not try too hard. Put enough heart into your video and it’ll go viral on its own. Like we said before, there’s no template or a formula that will assure you of virality.

As with any great recipe, folks, this one leaves room for experimentation. These steps to creating a viral video should only be used as guidelines. Use your expertise, your experience, and your gut instinct while you create, and you have set the table to taste success.


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