Are your videos among the best viral videos? You know, those videos that are viewed hundreds of thousands or even millions of times?
Maybe you want to make one and get your fifteen minutes of fame.
Or maybe you want to market your company or product, and think that a quick and cheap viral video is the way to go.
Making a viral video is sort of like picking a great stock. Tons of people want to do it, lots of people claim to know the secret, but in the end...
Success with these types of videos is a combination of effort + talent + luck. These Top Ten Tips will give you a great head start with the effort part.
You should also check the page of examples of the Top Ten Tips (my picks from YouTube).
Five minutes at the most. People who pass this stuff around don't have all day. Well, OK, they do — but they probably want to check out 14 other videos before lunchtime.
And, they probably have some work they're supposed to do. Follow the example of the best viral videos, and make it short and snappy.
It may be a grainy video shot with a web cam — but it can't be so bad that people can't see it or hear it clearly. However, it doesn't have to look "amateurish" to become viral.
There are plenty of examples of viral videos that are produced and edited extremely well. Especially if the video is on the amateur side, it really has to stand out, because there are millions of videos out there that are both badly made and boring. If the sound is lousy, or you can't really see what's going on (unless that's part of the plan), then don't expect much success.
Be personal and revealing — even if you're faking it (like LonelyGirl15).
But "on purpose," and with a surprise punchline (like Candy Mountain).
Use the "Candid Camera" approach by setting up an absurd situation and recording the reactions of ordinary passers-by. (See Nalts' videos.)
Take something that is very popular, and give it an original, clever twist (like the Potter Puppet Pals).
Even (or especially) faked ones. Like explosions. Big ones. (Watch out for The Exploding Whale.)
Especially a catchy tune — and the more foreign (based on your target audience), the better.(Looky Looky Numa Numa.)
Especially if you make it look like you don't realize you're making a fool of yourself. (Star Wars Kid has this covered.)
Do something incredibly funny, stupid, crazy or just amazing that no one has done before — something that will grab viewers and make them want to show it to all their friends. Yeah, this is the hard part.
Learn more about the top ten tips by seeing examples of the best viral videos.
If you want another perspective (and a free e-book download), check out this page about Nalts, the (self-proclaimed) Viral Video Genius. He's got some more great ideas, especially for promoting your video after it's done.