The Skinny On Creating A Viral Video:

The Water Skiing Squirrel.

The Water Skiing Squirrel.

(check out the product placement! Can you think of a better way to sell insurance?! )

The water-skiing squirrel, the little old lady smashing a Mercedes with a handbag, or a grumpy cat; they are all examples of viral videos. The term ‘viral’ refers to the contagion-like spread of the video on the internet. Clients sometimes expect guaranteed viral results from paying for an SEO video.



SEO (search engine optimization) is a targeted tagging process which is applied to a video, wherein the segment pops up higher in search engines results, which can increase traffic back to a site and increase opportunities for being shared on other sites. This is usually done by a video production professional, and is a paid service.

A video going viral cannot be guaranteed. This is not a paid service. Although a video production professional may offer to help plan and execute a viral campaign, there is no way to guarantee whether a video will interest a target market and inspire widespread sharing. While SEO can help raise awareness of a particular video, there is no promise that the video will go viral.


One of the key traits of videos that go viral is the entertainment factor. If a video can educate a client about a product or service, while still entertaining them, the chances of the video going viral are greatly increased. Keep things loose and not-too-serious. It is easier for customers to connect with humor and they are more likely to share a funny video with their friends.


Branded videos can go viral, although the tools used to brand the video may require some subtlety. A small logo or information in the lower-third of a video are obvious branding choices. Catchphrases or verbal cues are less obvious, but have a proven track record. A consistent face or spokesperson is also a fantastic way to build a following. Recognition is another proven marketing tool that aids in a successful campaign. For instance, “Where’s the beef?” It was a brilliant campaign and the closest thing to a viral video that could be produced in the 80’s. Not only was the catchphrase on television, but it showed up on t-shirts and other merchandise. The little old lady who said those iconic words became the face of the fast-food chain.CatGrumpy

Length is also key factor in a videos ability to go viral. Often, segments of longer videos go viral, which directs traffic back to a longer video. The viral segment is usually short and often contains the source of the laugh, which can range from a joke, to a bit gag, to a professionally produced hijinks. It is important to remember an audience’s attention span, especially when perusing the internet, cannot be maintained for longer than 60 seconds.


Whether the segment has been created by a video production professional or not, and regardless of whether it is an SEO video, a viral campaign works similarly to the ‘pay-it-forward’ concept from the hit movie. It all begins with social media and how those connections are managed. First, a trusted circle of contacts are given the link and asked to post it on their timeline and to send it to their own trusted circle. If those four connections share it with four of their own, that’s easily sixteen posts. Repeated posting of the links to social media sites with an invitation to share can also increase the spread of the video. The video segment should also be posted on a popular share site, such as Funny or Die.GrumpyWomanTin

Use the viral campaign to promote a service or product with a giveaway. Customers can enter to win by retweeting the video link or sharing the link from Facebook; both can be tracked via the social media site. Incentives can do a lot to help get the viral campaign on its feet.

As with any production, hiring a professional to help plan and execute the video, SEO and a potential viral campaign is an intelligent investment.

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