Why Your Video Probably Won’t Go Viral

Video is a powerful medium for storytelling. As companies compete for attention many are turning to video production to try to build brand equity and increase inbound web traffic.  Content developers are increasingly asked to make “viral videos” for their clients, and corporate media departments are struggling to keep up with the workload and the expectations. So here’s the truth.

Your viral video is a daunting, and probably impossible, task.

Videos go viral because of some unique combination of humor, entertainment and education. It’s a mystery why a piece of content is shared repeatedly across social networks, and the competition is becoming more intense than ever.

Here’s why.

According to a recent Pew Research study the percentage of adults who upload a video has doubled. Mobile phones have become part of this video experience, making it easy to record everyday events and post them to a social media site like Facebook or YouTube. The advent of video apps such as TikTok, Instagram TV, and Instagram Reels is contributing to the clutter.

Think of it this way. Your brand’s “viral video” is now competing with everything. Posts from friends, status updates from your spouse, sports clips, news events, the election, the pandemic. For a video to go “viral” it has to be better than ALL that content. More compelling, more thought-provoking, more humorous. See where I’m going?

So what’s a social media marketer to do?

Don’t despair. As part of an overall content marketing strategy, investment in video production is still a good idea. Think about this: more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years! With a little planning, brand videos have a long shelf life.  

What’s the most popular video being consumed?

Baby Shark Dance.

After that, product reviews, how-to, gaming, and comedy.

Comedy in Brand Videos

Comedy is tough. Get it right and you’re off and running. The truth is most of the time comedy falls flat. Then, you’ve hurt your brand in your lame attempt to entertain.

How-To or Educational Videos

Here’s where you can stand out. You have information. People need that information. Think about creating a series of how-to videos in your niche, answering the questions you get from customers most often. This useful content will keep visitors coming back, since the utility remains strong long after publication.

Best Idea: Be Useful

Instead of worrying about how to make the next trendy viral video, make videos that help your customers learn something. Show them how to use your product or solve a problem.  If optimized well and thought out, they can be the content gift that keeps on giving  – repeatedly drawing a new audience from search. So be useful.

Useful and helpful will ALWAYS be trendy.


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