Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Blog Every Day in June Day 3: 6 Tips on Going Viral

Today's post comes from David Lee King, Director of Digital Services at the Topeka & Shawnee Public Library. This post was originally posted to his website under the title '6 Tips on Going Viral',

Last week, my library posted a Youtube video for National Library Week that went “viral.” No, not millions of views viral, but over 100,000 views in a week viral. Which is pretty big for us!

That’s not our most watched video ever … yet. I’m pretty sure it will make that in a week or two. But it is our most viral video to date, meaning that it spread around the web pretty fast, and was reposted in quite a few places with larger audiences.

How did we do it? That’s a good question, and ultimately it’s hard to predict what will “go viral” and what won’t. That said, there are definitely some ways to make your videos better, which will help get your video viewed by more people.

6 Tips on Going Viral:

  1. Start with great content. You have to start with the content. It has to be well-done and interesting enough for people to watch for 1-3 minutes, and then want to share with their social media friends.
  2. Create something that makes sense to your viewers. Our video was written from the customer’s point of view, which helped it be interesting to more than just a librarian audience. This isn’t always the case for truly viral videos (triple rainbow, anyone?), but it certainly can’t hurt!
  3. Have a hook. Or 2. Or 3. By “hook,” I mean have something in the video that catches people’s attention. This video had several: It was done for National Library Week (captured a library industry audience); we used people in our community (captured a local audience); and we inserted a ton of Taylor Swift “easter eggs” in the video (captured Taylor Swift fans).
  4. Give extra attention to audio and lighting. Again, the goal is not Hollywood quality – we are a library, after all! But to the best of your ability, make sure your audio, lighting, and video is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the content of the video.
  5. Use people who don’t mind being “in front of the camera.” We’re libraries, so we’ll probably use library staff in the video, which is great! However – have you ever watched a library video that was sorta painful? Bad singing, obviously reading a script, very nervous, etc? Believe me, I know – I’ve made some of those myself! There’s an easy way to fix that. I’ll bet you have some library staff who do better behind the camera (writing, filming, helping out), and some who do well in front of the camera. Use appropriately! Also think about training staff to be in front of the camera, or maybe partner with a local theater group.
  6. Push it everywhere. We published our video on Monday morning. Then we posted it to our website and pushed it hard on Facebook and Twitter pretty much the rest of the week. We even used a couple of hashtags (#NLW15, #swifties, and #taylorswift) to attract more viewers. All that sharing helped a lot.

If you follow these 6 simple tips, will this guarantee your video will go viral? No. It’s hard to say what will capture the attention of a bunch of people for 2 minutes!
But if you follow these six simple tips, you will definitely improve your videos. That’s always a good thing.

Reposted under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence 

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