21 Key Success Points to Make Your Video Go Viral

21 Key Success Points to Make Your Video Go Viral

By Suzette Kooyman, Enhance Your Net 3.28.17


Here is a behind the scenes look at successful viral videos.

Success leaves clues . . .


1. Know What You Want to Achieve with the Video

This is first and foremost. You must always work backwards initially in marketing or success in general. You must know where you where you want to be in the end to reveal your obstacles and how to get around them. For example, if you are a company you may be wanting more sales. You may be wanting more prospects. You may “Branding” your company. Each goal will have a certain set of requirements that needs to be met to achieve that goal.


2. There are 7 things that you must know before you film.

Who is your audience?

Where do they hang out at?

What are their struggles?

What is their mind set?

What do you have in common?

What are their current beliefs and what beliefs do you need to overcome.

What’s in it for the viewer


This first six of these things you may have to do some research before you really get started. In the meantime, let’s expand on some of the components that I can help you with now once you get those points answered.

3. What’s Purpose for The Viewer

A vital point is – what’s in it for the viewer? How can they benefit from watching your video? Is it for inspiration, knowledge, fulfilment? Be sure to remember that the emotion starts here. Get this right from the start to know what kind of emotion that needs to be ignited. Everyone has their own radio station with the call letters: “WIIFM” – “What’s in It for Me.”  Tune into it for success on your video and all areas of your life.


A publication that I recommend is, “Contagious” a book by Jonah Berger. The points captured tie in nicely with copy writing for ads or other types of publications. All of which are transferable skills to having videos that go viral.


Inside this guide there were a variety of strong research studies. Jonah and his group revealed a valuable secret. A little point that could assists your video clips in making them go viral. I considered it to be a secret because secrets possess a sense of being hidden or not obvious. All too often when someone makes a video they are so concerned with the content and what they want to share they often lose touch with the secret sauce. The sauce that makes it worth sharing. When you are working with people you are working with their psychology first and then their logic.


So just like in sales, a person will buy with emotion and justify it with logic. But the thing that this book points out though, is that it’s not just any emotion.  It’s very specific.


Secret Sauce: Feelings of High Stimulation

It’s not as important as to whether it is a favorable emotion or adverse feelings it just needs to hold a high stimulation factor to make it spread. They backed this data up with emotional types in this matrix shown below.




Amusement (Humor)








Jonah’s matrix clarifies this. Anything less than this is inadequate. For it to obtain the spread it needs to have that high stimulation. Now that you understand that a strong emotion has be tied to it you need to consider a few other points.

By answering what is the purpose of the video and for whom?  You can isolate the emotions that surround the topic. Then use those five high arousal emotions to build your story.

4. Advertise to A Targeted Audience to Drive Traffic

First, realized that to take a video viral requires a lot of work. Most videos even the heavy hitters like Upworthy, the king of virality, only has 0.3 percent of posts going viral. So, realize that there will be a learning process and don’t get disappointed if you don’t knock it out of the park right away.


Second, knowing that there is that high risk of failing with it being viral doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a success. So, cut yourself some slack. If you have brought value to the market place it was still a success. With that in mind, do not be afraid to spend some time, money and a means of leveraging what you have created. Because the positive outcomes can heavily outweigh the work involved.


So many individuals as well as companies are afraid of spending a dollar in fear that it won’t bring $2 dollars or more back. It’s far better to attempt your damnedest and learn from each step than to constantly question the “suppose if factor”. If you go into this with an open mind and a purpose why would you count on good luck? Take a calculated risk and provide your job ahead with a combating opportunity. Also, note if you do this right, that doesn’t always mean that you must use paid advertising to get traction. Read on and see what I mean.


5. Understand Exactly How Points Go Viral on The Web.

When you see video clips on YouTube with numerous sights the question that you should ask yourself– where did they all originate from?


Look at the results and the steps to get there on how the following video went viral in a year:

“Girl Learns to Dance in a Year (TIME LAPSE)”

The first day: 80k sights

-She shared it on Facebook/Twitter

-She submitted it to social news sites like Reddit and Hacker News.

-She directly asked several of her good friends to share it.

-She emailed blog writers who had covered other viral dancing video clips.

-The area the led to the most success was Reddit. It succeeded under the subreddit category of “Get Motivated.” (hint-hint) She did this by complying with the recommendations in this write-up. “How to get a link on the front page of Reddit.”


Day 2: 800k sights

Blog writers who had seen it on Reddit the day prior started releasing short articles regarding it. First Kottke. Blog sites like Mashable, Jezebel, and Huffington Post.


6. Know Where the Money Flows.

Each blog site is a huge advertising and marketing engine with millions of visitors as well as twitter fans. It’s in their passion to obtain the post because lots of sights are feasible, since each sight has an advertisement they could offer that makes them money.


Day 3: 1.8 million sights

It’s hard to determine exactly how it made the YouTube front page. But its presumed the blog sites mentioned above were sending it enough traffic that YouTube’s formulas noticed it.

You just need one of bloggers to pay off for your video clip to go viral. Your objective is to obtain significant blog sites to write you up, since their advertising power is ludicrous.


7. Launch on Monday or Tuesday

Timing is everything. Individuals view YouTube video clips typically when they’re on the job. Probably another reason they should be short. Launch your video clip on Monday or Tuesday so that it has an entire week to get energy.

Tuesday in most cases would be good because individuals are playing e-mail catchup on Monday. This could really depend on your audience.


8. Be mindful of the News and Holidays

Another area of consideration to look at is if there was any kind of breaking news that day to pull attention away from your video. Launching on a sluggish information day will certainly assist you.

Mind your vacation time if your audience has seasonal periods in addition to holidays across the board. Do not launch when individuals are not at the workplace.


9. Pay Attention to Current Internet Meme

Another twist regarding the news is that depending on your topic you can use it to your advantage. For example, does your topic play into an existing Internet meme or popular topic, you increase the odds your content will be viewed and shared by those already interested in the topic. That is what happened for Game of Thrones and Frozen. They saw who was watching and spoke in the same realm of where their audience was located. (Notice how this ties into your step 2 above :Where do they hang out at?)


10. Determine Who Has a Potential Stake in Your Video Clip Succeeding.

For example, what product did you use in your video. Could you perhaps show their logo? Or service that you mentioned by name in it? Realize that you video was compiled by more than just you. Take advantage of that and ask for their assistance. Pointing this out to them means free advertising that could benefit you both. Be sure to speak to all the businesses that you could think of that played a part in your production. Asking them to share it. Some will and some wont. But you will never know unless you ask. Call and better yet email them a follow up to your conversation so that they have the link and a reminder.


11. None of These Issues Matter If Your Video Clip Isn’t Excellent.

A great book on how to make your ideas stick in the long run is called: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Hardcover – January 2, 2007, by Chip Heath (Author), Dan Heath (Author)


12. Be a Good Story Teller

No matter what your field is there will always be someone that is better than what you do for your topic. But that doesn’t mean that they had videos go viral either. That just means that they didn’t tell a story that evoked enough of a strong emotion. Or perhaps that wasn’t their intent. Besides, there will probably always be a better “talent” for what you are showing than you, and that’s ok.


The thing that you must remember is this, “You are better practiced than the ones that you are focused in sharing this video with.” Remember, that we all must start somewhere. That is why in this video I shared the example on went viral. She had a burning desire and an unknown way to arrive– but did it anyway. She showed courage and tenacity. Something that others are always looking to borrow from while they make their own journey.


Notice her video was about a “Story” A Rags – To Riches. That doesn’t always mean in the form of money but overall success in what you have achieved. You are relating to the viewer. Key point in and of its self.


Also, another key point is to put your most interesting, fascinating, funny, or surprising information first and foremost in your video. This is where having a video intro with graphics to capture attention can come into play. Very important on sales videos. It’s called a pattern interrupt. Allowing your viewer to get rid of predisposed thoughts on your video before seeing it then having an Entro clip that is different from the front makes it memorable. Plus, this is a great way to create branding if you are a company.


Be Upbeat. Even if it’s a Rags to Riches event. Having an upbeat approach makes things more sharable. Notice there was a 3:2 ratio in the high stimulation chart above. Showing that “Positive” ruled over “Negative.”


13. Less is More in Video

Make your video clip short because 2 min is pushing it. Less than 2 min is best if you keep the main tale and its emotion in place. A survey published in The New York Times found more than 19 percent of people had left a video after only 10 seconds. By a minute in, the video had lost a staggering 44 percent of viewers. You can use YouTube video editor to cut and trim. Don’t expect this to be a fast task. Brief video clips spread out much better. Because the first thing that a person looks at BEFORE watching is the length.


14. Compose a Viral Title

Here’s a fast examination if you have a good title. How would you complete this sentence:

” Hey did you see the video clip of __________”

Fill out the space. That’s your title.

The following is a negative title: My Journey of Dance, a Year of Movement

Much better: I Learned to Dance in a Year

Much better: Girl Learns to Dance in a Year

Best: Girl Learns to Dance in a Year (TIME LAPSE). That identifies the gender and tells the viewer that they get to share in the experience to see journey.


Headlines in copy are considered about the same as a title to a video. You should give just enough info to peak curiosity. For example, the incredible story of Upworthy’s success, the king of virality, is probably old news by now. However, his site skyrocketed to more than six million unique page views per month in its first year, thanks in part to its famous (and infamous) headlines. His site also continues to do well because he is always looking for other inspiring stories to keep things going. So, that brings up my next point.


15. Success Through Association

This can come into play a lot for business owners. A key point here is to find someone that you could lock arms. Someone who is well known and already getting great hits. Someone who can complement what you do without creating a competition for you. This could help you in other areas your business too.


You could create an interview type setting to something like the writer to the book “The Secret.” Or simply giving reference to big names can be helpful. You could put their name in both your title and your transcript. This trick is using the search engines to your advantage and could help you get found quickly. You can piggy back off their success. Even mentioning their name and what they did as an example could be helpful in getting your video seen by their followers to broaden your audience.


16. Transcribe Your Video

Transcribing your video allows the search engines to find you easier plus gives your viewers another resource. YouTube has gotten good at doing this automatically but they still tend to require some clean up. You can do it through their system or simply upload your own.

17. Know What You’re Willing to Compromise

What are you willing to do for views? Are you willing to compromise on your beliefs? If so, which ones? NOTICE: I did not say values. Here you need to take a marketer’s mind set. How could a grown woman broaden her audience net when she doesn’t like being referred to as a girl (the belief)?


To do this she had to ask herself who would like to learn to dance that could relate to her. Answer. Women and Girls.


Why was the name “Girls” a better choice? Because they turn into women and they want to learn to dance. They want to achieve the same result in this case. Your audience net is now wider yet still focused. Because not only are you looking now at girls in addition to women but dance studios that are focused on – Girls! (Hint-Hint)


18. Be Prepared to Go Viral

Prepare mentally. You will get a lot of controversy. Good comments and bad. Controversy is good because it means that you are a topic.

Viral videos have a short shelf life about 15 minutes. So, make it easy for the media to reach you by email. Or perhaps send a media package directly to them. Media meeting requests will certainly begin coming in so be sure to accept all opportunities. Take advantage of the buzz and create as many opportunities as you can. Feed the media beast.


Be prepared to direct traffic. Link all your social media platforms to the video. For example, link to your blog site, website, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, google+ all from the video clip. Anywhere your audience resides on social is where you should have a connection to.


Make sure that you have an e-mail signup form ready on your website. Money and future opportunities are in the list that you just created and all for free.


19. Be Engaged with Your Audience

Be Involved and entertaining. Engaging with an audience can lead to loyalty and interest. After all, everyone likes to be heard. This is the approach taken by companies like Old Spice in several of advertising campaigns. Old Spice did a great job on this by answering the viewer’s questions “in character” in responding video. Then you can not only answer it in writing but point click the link to the answering video.


20. Be Informative

The reason YouTube is used so much is because people want new information that answers every day problems. The thing to remember, is that they want it to informative content to surprise and inform them. In other words – Entertaining.


21. Be Inspiring

In today’s tough world everyone needs a boost to get to their next level of achievement. People lean on others to develop their own strengths for their own journey.

Have you made a video go viral? We would love to hear from you and add your tip of success! To your success!