How to develop a viral video plan

How do you get J.K Rowling to tweet about your video and get more than 6 million views in just two weeks? KFaceTV, creators of “Dark Lord Funk,”a viral video that aired March 23, 2015 accomplished just this.

The task may seem daunting but you can create a video as successful as “Dark Lord Funk” by creating a plan, executing it and using video production tactics.

1. Create a plan

Successful viral videos that engage with their audiences begin with a strategic plan. (Courtesy of Justin Phelan)

Successful viral videos that engage with their audiences begin with a strategic plan. (Courtesy of Justin Phelan)

For a successful video you need a strategic plan. Know what steps should happen before you create a video. Yes, millions of videos go viral with little to no effort. But why would you want to take a chance when your company is counting on you to do a good job? There is no way to guarantee your video will go viral, but with a great plan you can monitor your success and know where to improve next time.

With a plan in place, you will never wonder “what if.” Even if the video fails, at least you know you gave it your all. The plan will also provide a record of what worked and what didn’t, saving you time and energy on the next video.

When planning, follow these five steps:

2. Identify your audience

To reach your key publics, know what resonates with them. Find out their demographics, psychographics and influencers. Learn their motivating self-interests.

Know what messages will relate with them and what social media platforms to send the messages out on. Recognize what they love, whether it is animals, weddings, jokes or babies. Put a unique spin on it, and use it in your messaging.

3. Become internet savvy

For a video to go viral, you need to know how to use the Internet.

Use search engine optimization to find out what words come up most often on Google and other search engines. Some SEO tools are Google Trends and Bruce Clay. Include the best SEO terms in the header and in the description of your video.

Know what video sites to post your video on. Consider posting it on YouTube, Vine and Vimeo. Share the link on social media platforms that your publics use.

4. Know trends

Find out what is trending. Search Twitter, Buzzfeed, Reddit and BuzzSumo.

From the trend, you can create a parody, such as KFaceTV did with “Dark Lord Funk.” Include a joke or show how the trend relates to your topic, the options are endless. By leveraging a trend, it will help increase SEO and allow the audience to connect with the video.

5. Be timely

Not only do you have to consider trends, but also the time of year and day. Think about holidays, elections, school vacations and other major events. If your video is about snowboarding, post it during the winter months, not during the summer.

Know what days are best to release content. For YouTube, the best times to post are Monday through Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the best days to post on YouTube because people’s interest in work decreases as the week goes on.

5. Sharing

Sharing is one of the most important steps. You can’t have a viral video unless people know about it. Reach out to people who are willing to help you. Ask family and friends to share and post your video.

Connect with your public’s influencers and those who will benefit from your video. Ask them to comment on it. Include bloggers in your sharing. Bloggers are a great way to gain more traffic and attention to the video. As your video becomes more successful, it means more success and money for the blogger.

“Dark Lord Funk” has been successful because the creators reached out to students at BYU’s advertising lab. They asked students to share the video on social media and other news outlets. Due to the students’ efforts, the video has been featured in news stories on The Huffington PostBuzzfeed and “MTV.”

After creating a plan and executing each step, you are ready to make a video. Use these five tactics to increase your video’s success.

1. Engage in 10 seconds

Your video has to be engaging from the start. According to The New York Times, 19 percent of those viewing a video will click away within the first 10 seconds. Put your most important, funny and surprising content at the start to engage viewers.

2. Keep it short

The best viral videos are short and to the point. Forty-four percent of all those who watch a video will click away after a minute. Keep your video under two or three minutes.

Elon University conducted research on the top 20 viral videos in Time magazine’s article called “YouTube’s 50 Best Videos.” Sixty percent of the 20 videos were less than three minutes, and 75 percent of them had short titles—four words or less. Examples of short titles include “Here It Goes Again” and “United Breaks Guitars.” Showing, not only does the video need to be short, but also the title.

3. Have emotion

Think carefully what emotion you want to use. People share videos when they feel an emotional connection to it. Your audience wants to be entertained, but that doesn’t always mean your content needs to be funny. Many viral videos are inspiring. The emotions that spread best are excitement, humor, anger and anxiety. The emotions that don’t exude contentment and sadness.

4. Tell a story

The best way to get your message across is through stories. Stories make it easier for a person to gain a connection and feel emotion. An engaging story will lead to loyalty and interest in you or in a company.

The story must also be informative. If you are only telling a funny story without including information, then you have missed an opportunity for your company.

5. Be creative

The videos that go viral are usually the most creative ones. Creativity is scary; you never know what the audience will like. Go outside your comfort zone to be creative. You may fail a few times, but if you keep trying you will achieve success.

Creativity comes in steps and develops through a process. The creators of “Dark Lord Funk” started making the video in December 2014 and didn’t post it until March 2015. Your video is not going to happen or trend overnight. It takes a lot of planning and time to make a viral video.

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