Pretty much everybody wants their music video to go viral and almost nobody can guarantee such an outcome. Recently a trio of approaches for helping make that happen came to my attention including viral video creation contests on the recently relaunched Tunected, the advice to "think like a street magician" and an impressive example of a year-long project that resulted in a popular short video. All three approaches require hard work rather than trickery and that might be the biggest secret of all to going viral.
While some videos go viral because they're so damn cool it just can't be helped, most require quite a bit of work from creating the video to marketing it in a manner that supports viral distribution. But not everyone recognizes that it usually takes some effort for a video to go viral.
Back in the previous decade, I was working with an ex-corporate media exec on various projects and we were discussing video marketing possibilities when he asked, "Can't you just make it go viral?" I informed him that even back then things weren't so simple and it typically required a lot of work which seemed to surprise him. But if it was so easy to go viral, wouldn't everybody be doing it?
Clueless execs aside, there are things you can do that will increase the odds of viral lightning striking your music video. Here are three approaches to consider:
Hold a Viral Video Creation Contest
Tunected, a site for music video creation contests that I wrote about last year, recently relaunched. They still host contests but they now add an emphasis on videos that have an edgy or emotional quality that will help them go viral.
A recent example is the contest for Urban Contacts' song "Just Not Right". The guidelines include:
"This project is all about craziness, fun, awesomeness, feeling good, freedom, partying, dancing, enjoyment, entertainment and… again craziness...The goal is to create a scene where the main characters(s) do something that's Just Not Right from the viewpoint of other people."
The idea, according to Tunected's founder Martin Tüvi, is "to add an extra value, some sort of a goal and emotion to all projects" so that viewers are drawn in as much by the video content as by the music. Ideally this approach will broaden one's audience and increase the likelihood that a video could go viral.
Think Like a Street Magician
KISSmetrics recently shared "A Simple Framework for Creating a Viral Video" that includes the advice to "think like a street magician." While their example focuses on an oddball GoDaddy ad, the takeaway for music video creators should be that:
"We have only a few seconds to capture and maintain the attention of our online passers-by."
It's one thing to reach fans you already have but in an online environment full of distractions, a leisurely or self-indulgent opening that doesn't immediately draw people in will cause new audience members to disappear just as they might on a busy sidewalk in Manhattan.
So think of yourself as a street act whose competition isn't just another act across the street but a wide range of competing factors that can easily cause video viewers to move on to something else.
Do Something That Takes Real Commitment
Though she focuses on marketing tips for setting the stage in a manner that allows your video to go viral, the time lapse documentation of her year-long self-education process is the hook that caught people's attention, drew them in and gave them a reason for sharing. It also sets the stage for the launch of her "Make Your Own Learn In A Year" project.
I think Karen Cheng's post is the best for practical marketing tips but all three examples offer approaches worth considering for the creation of a music video that has the potential to go viral.
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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.