4. Timing and Reeling Your Viewers In Is Everything
New media director Ross Ching broke down his formula of viral video success in his NMR feature. He noted that keeping the video short (around 3 minutes), hooking your viewers in the first 10 seconds and a sustainable storyline is what makes videos viral: “Those three things work together, and the ultimate goal is to prevent the viewer from clicking the back button or skipping through the video. If the viewer skips through the video, they are more than likely not going to share it with a friend. If they click the back button, they’re definitely not going to share it to a friend. If we can prevent those two things, they’re 20 times more likely to share it with their friends, put it on their Facebook, and put it on their Twitter. If you can get a viewer to do that, then your video becomes viral. If you break down any of my videos, it has those three things.”
5. At Some Point, The “Viral” Novelty Fades Away
If you can’t break away from your “viral” hit on YouTube, you will always be pegged as that guy who’s got a million views and can do that awesome dance. That “viral” novelty will fade someday, and if you want to survive, you should aim for something better. This rings true to the many musicians on YouTube whose successes rest largely on creating awesome cover songs. In his recent interview with NMR, AJ Rafael said that content creators have to do “more than just trying to conform to this new YouTube movement of just covers.”
He notes: “When you’re selling out venues everywhere else, and you don’t have original material, and you are just singing all covers, you are nothing more than a wedding cover band. I really wish and sincerely hope that they can get original material written for them; as an artist you want that for your artistry. If you can’t write, then have somebody write for you.”
Making your video “viral” is more about luck rather than creating something that you and your audience thinks is worthwhile. Aiming for your video to go “viral” should never be your goal in the first place. It’s about putting out awesome content and having realistic goals. If your video goes “viral” after all, then by all means gather your friends, wear a helmet, and shake your booty to some Baauer.