I’ve got a favorite advertising show – and it’s not “Mad Men.”
AMC’s “The Pitch” showcases real-world examples of two agencies that square off in a fierce one-on-one battle to earn the lucrative business of a big-name client.
In one episode, the client sent an RFP to a small, viral video agency that specialized in creating entertaining marketing videos. And it’s goal was singular and simple: make viral videos.
So, what makes a viral video, anyhow?
Any multimedia should contain some sort of valuable information, whether a memorable call-to-action or entertaining message, but if you can’t get it in front of the right people, it doesn’t matter how great or funny or crazy it is. These five tips will help set you up for storytelling success using video:
1. Amass a YouTube Channel Following
It’s hard to preach to a vacant congregation; you need followers.
No magical formula that I know of exists that can help you get actual YouTube followers to view your videos. You need to carry out the following four points in order to gain a loyal fan base. But once you do, you’re set up for success. And naturally, your YouTube followers will be your target audience since they’ve taken action to actively follow you.
Simply put: produce cool/helpful/entertaining marketing videos, gain followers.
2. Use Video as Ads on YouTube
Increase your reach by using YouTube not only to house your videos, but to advertise with them.
I rarely sit through more than the required five-second mandatory viewing period for most pre-roll videos, but I will stay if my metaphorical salivary glands are cranking due to what I have seen in those five critical seconds.
Luckily, YouTube offers different ad formats—display, overlay, skippable and non-skippable—for your choice. Your goal should be to develop marketing videos that are so valuable they actually live on your owned channel and actively bring viewers in to view them, but can also be used as “ads.”
However, be wary of being over-reliant on YouTube. You should keep viewers on your owned media if possible to avoid losing them to “suggested” videos.
3. Use Social Media as an Engine for Distribution
The best videos are sharable videos. And social media is a great way for viral videos to take off.
People love to share videos, and interesting videos worth sharing are a marketer’s jackpot. Video content seems to convey emotional stories in a way that no form can. Your goal should be to create multimedia that’s impossible not to share. Generate marketing videos with great content, a great headline, and then use relevant hashtags in social sharing.
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4. Don’t be Boring—be New & Unique
Use video to add value. Developing ideas for videos doesn’t have to be hard. It can be done by simply developing a series of informative podcast episodes, product demonstrations, internal webcasts, customer stories, event recaps, 1:1 interviews with organization executives – or anything else you think people would like. It doesn’t have to be viral video to be useful video.
But, to create potentially viral videos, you do have to be a little quirky, a little different – even a little “off.” Let your creative imagination wander and figure out the quirkiest, most interesting corners of what makes your business cool. Then bring those aspects to life in a way never told or thought about ever before.
5. Use the Latest Video Techniques & Trends People Like
Let’s talk about the kinds of marketing videos that actually keep the attention of busy customers. And remember those ‘customers’ are actually people just like you and I. Ask yourself if you’d sit through the video you’re producing.
Emotional and realistic slice-of-life videos lend themselves to increased sharability as opposed to dry content. Experimentation and use of different video styles will make for an interesting mix of variability to your channel. Are you shooting live video, then posting it after an event? Are you streaming a webinar or event in real-time? What kinds of graphics and overlay are you using? Do you understand the value of using 3D graphics vs. actors? Have you dabbled in the use of doodle/animated video?
Don’t make ads, make films. Consider your audience, and what they’re likely to need. Then capture their attention, and never let it go.