Have you seen Will It Blend? It's a crazy series of videos by Blendtec, a small blender manufacturer. The series has been seen by millions of people. My favorite is Will It Blend? – iPhone. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and take a minute to watch. This YouTube video has been seen 1.6 million times.
Recently I appeared on MSNBC Your Business with JJ Ramberg to discuss how to make your YouTube video go viral. Viral marketing is the phenomenon of other people passing along your ideas to friends via email or blogs or other online means…for free! You can watch my appearance here. My 14-year-old daughter said that they should have taken away the swivel chair! (You’ll see what she means if you watch).
Here are some tips to make video go viral. Creating a video is easy and it is free to post onto YouTube. All you need is a simple $300 digital video camera and a YouTube account.
Most importantly: Your video needs to be funny or amazing or remarkable or have some fascinating information or be controversial. Basically the video needs a reason for people to pass it on. If you can find pass along value connected to your organization and its products, great. I'm not a fan of stupid contests or celebrity endorsements unrelated to a company and its products.
Tip # 1 – Homemade is just fine
You don’t need to hire a professional. A homemade quality video can work great. But plan ahead and shoot several takes to get it right.
Tip #2 –Your video should be no longer then 2 minutes (preferably less)
Think very short. Although YouTube will accept a video that is less than 10 minutes, smaller than 100MB try to make the video between 30 seconds and 2 minutes.
Tip #3 -- Make your description clear and specific.
To best promote your video, you'll want its text description on YouTube to be accurate and interesting. Use descriptive keywords and language that people will find when they search for videos like yours. And use the correct categorizations on YouTube so people will find it.
Tip # 4 -- Don't attempt "stealth" fake customer insertions to YouTube.
Some companies try to sneak corporate-sponsored video onto YouTube in a way that makes it seem like it is consumer-generated. The YouTube community is remarkably skilled at ratting out inauthentic video, so this approach is fraught with danger.
Tip #5 – Try a series of similar videos to build interest
Sometimes a series of videos works great. The Blendtec Will it Blend? videos are a perfect example. The even sell t-shirts now!
Tip #6 – Tell everyone about your video!
When upload your first few videos, you are likely to hear a deafening silence. You'll be waiting for comments, but none will come. You'll check your video statistics and be disappointed by the tiny number of viewers. Don’t get discouraged. It takes time to build an audience. Make sure people know it is there and can find it. Create links to your video from your home page, product pages, or online media room. Mention your video in your e-mail or offline newsletters, and create links to your video as part of your e-mail signature and those of other people in your organization.
Tip # 7 – make sure bloggers know about the video
Sending a link to the video to bloggers or commenting on other people's blogs (and including a link to your video) is a good way to build an audience. If you comment on blogs in the same space as yours, you might be surprised at how quickly you will get viewers to your video.
Tip #8 – Experiment a lot to find something that hits
While I think it is difficult to purposely create viral marketing buzz, it is certainly possible. Create a number of campaigns and see what hits, then nurture the winners along. Think like a venture capitalist or movie studio and try a number of things in order to get that elusive hit.
Good luck. And if you do create a cool video, let me know.