You Can’t Afford to Make Bad Content.
Remember when something being viral was a bad thing?
Then sometime in 1997 the first video went viral, badday.mpg and that word had a whole new meaning. Before YouTube, before the internet was all the rage, that video started something, for better or worse. And ever since then, everyone wants their video to go viral in one form or fashion.
But a lot has happened since that fateful day over 20 years ago. First and foremost, social and digital media has totally changed everything. The number of places a person can view content are astronomical. Youtube has over 300 hours of content uploaded every minute. And social media algorithms are downplaying true viral content for a variety of metrics, e.g. consistency, quality, watch time, etc. Couple that with the fact that by 2021-ish, approximately 80% of internet traffic is predicted to be video and the thought of creating anything in that realm can make you want to to stick your head in the sand.
But you know what? You can’t. If you don’t have a strong video presence, people have a far less chance of remembering your message – viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch video vs. 10% when reading text. And the odds that anyone is going to find your video by scrolling through Youtube, Vimeo or another social media site are almost as good as winning the lottery. So maybe try that first.
So what’s a brand or company supposed to do? Well, we’ve got a few suggestions.
- Make great content. If you’re not making great content, you have virtually zero chance of getting anyone to watch your video. I know this opens-up a huge can of worms, because great is a highly subjective term, but the simplest thing to keep in mind is what your audience wants to see. Not what your boss thinks they want to see. Not what your legal department thinks is appropriate, but what your audience wants to see. Now I’m not discounting the need to keep your job or encouraging violating any laws, but if you let someone other than your audience dictate the content you’re creating, then prepare for some massively underwhelming viewership numbers.
- Send them someplace good. Remember that Youtube stat up above? You can make the most amazing video, one with millions of views, but if you don’t send your audience someplace good or give them a strong call to action you’ve probably just wasted a lot of money and time. And now for the sad truth of today’s viral, you have to buy ad space. Those algorithms I mentioned above, they were created so that social media sites can make money off people that want other people to see their content. Which takes us to our next point.
- Target. Target. Target. A few years ago in a previous incarnation of my professional life, I worked with a great company that specialized in making things go viral. The thing I learned, which was very eye opening and also very disheartening, is that in order to make something go viral today, you have to pay. Yep, that’s right. A good old fashioned media buy. And with all of that fancy algorithm stuff we mentioned earlier, we now have the ability to hyper target our exact audience so we’re not just throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.
- Make really great content. I feel like I mentioned this before. Oh that’s right I did, because it is far and away the most important part of this equation. Have you ever noticed how everyone says don’t make a video longer than 2 minutes? Well the reason for that is that most of the content out there is boring/bad/dull/un-engaging or just down right sucks. And who wants to sit through something really bad, for 30 seconds let alone two minutes. But if something’s really good, i.e. entertaining, informative, funny, you’ll spend a few minutes of your time checking it out.
That’s where the all-important strategy and campaign creation come in. Because to create truly engaging content, you have to think much bigger picture. You’re not just creating a video, you’re starting a conversation with your audience. In order to make sure you’re saying something they want to hear, you’ve got to create a solid strategy, which means research and a lot of leg work up front. But when you’re viewership numbers blow the doors off the joint and your sales numbers increase 100 fold, you’ll be very glad you did.
So there you have it, a few tips on creating today’s version of a “viral” video. If you’ve got any thoughts or ideas on this, we’d love to hear from you. And if you want One Floor Up to help you figure out what can you make your business go “viral,” then don’t be shy and hit us up. We’d love to help.