Picture this: you’re cooking some food, listening to your favourite music radio station, when suddenly your serene (or maybe excited!) state of mind is interrupted by the jingle of your latest pet-hate and cheesy ad from some local company trying to corner the competitive carpet market.
How do you feel now?
Annoyed. Angry, even.
Or, if you’re the take-action type, you’ll re-tune somewhere else until the yukky ads have gone away.
That is, unless the new radio station is also mid-way through it’s 5-15 minute session of disruptive, annoying and irrelevant ads.
Someday someone is going to create some kind of software which automatically scans for new radio stations when the ads appear.
But that will probably be made illegal.
Or, we’ll have the increasingly familiar scenario of a premium version of your favourite TV channel or radio station which is ad-free.
Now that presents an interesting question:
If people are willing to pay money to have ad-free content, why hasn’t the penny dropped for business owners?
In other words:
Why do businesses still pay for disruptive, non-targetted and annoying ads with a conversion ratio of no better than 0.1%??
That’s an aweful lot of money going into someone else’s bank account…
Maybe one reason is that businesses think that they have to demonstate that they’re a big player now, by splashing out $20k+ on some magazine or radio ads, so that people start thinking they’re worth listening to.
But that’s a dangerous game to play in an uncertain economy.
So what’s the alternative to Interruptive Advertising?
The answer is on your lips I’ll bet:
Social media. Viral video. Blogging, etc.
Now, I’m going to focus on viral video.
I’m not saying that the others aren’t important. Far from it. In fact, you might be getting this content through Facebook, Twitter, a blog post somewhere, or by the time it reaches you, it might even be a video or podcast.
But if I had to pick between all the so-called Web 2.0 (or is it Web 3.0 by now 🙂 ) properties, I would choose video every time.
The simple answer is this: out of all the different ways of communicating remotely, video is the only one which stands the best chance of really engaging the with viewer in a cross-sensory manner.
The day someone invents real-time smell production out of your TV, computer or mobile phone screen is the day I’ll be proved wrong.
Did you know that around 30% of all your brain function is given over to visual processing?
That’s a huge amount. And I haven’t added in audio yet, either.
So video, done in the right way, has the best chance of engaging the viewer with an experience that will produce a lasting and potentially very positive effect.
Ok, you might be saying, everybody knows that already. It’s obvious.
That’s why the title has the word VIRAL in it.
Viral videos are, by definition, almost unstoppable. I say almost, because eventually, if you have a viral video, it might get overrun by someone else’s in the same niche.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
What exactly do I mean by viral video?
As I’ve already said, viral videos are almost unstoppable, and they contain some, or all, of the following 7 features:
7 key ingredients of Viral Videos
- On the edge
..in essence, viral videos tell a story that is disruptive in nature.
They put a new twist in the viewer’s mind by either exposing the shortcomings of their existing pre-suppositions about what should happen next.
And in so doing, they become memorable, and compelling enough so that the viewer just *has* to pass it on to someone else…
But, you might argue, if viral videos are disruptive, surely then they’re just the same as the annoyingly interruptive ads we all hate?
The answer to why viral videos are not annoying, is this: the way they spread isn’t by broadcasting them one-to-many, like traditional advertising does.
Instead, the content is shared in a many-to-many manner.
That’s why, if your video is a good one, it will be unstoppable, because you’ve given up the right to control the distribution.
Ok then, so if viral videos are so powerful, why don’t businesses use them all the time, instead of relying on traditional and expensive advertising methods.
Well, the truth is, is that making a video go viral is not a guaranteed given.
It’s much,much easier to make a video go viral than it used to be.
The main reason is that the internet is so much more interconnected today than it was 10 or even 5 years ago.
Since YouTube, Facebook & Twitter came centre-stage as the de-facto trio of social media services, there has been an incredible explosion of new social networks, micro-blogging platforms, video sharing sites, and media distribution services that, in their totality, are completely revolutionizing the way we communicate, shop, make decisions and form relationships.
This interconnectivity, whilst overwhelming and scary for some, presents the human race with the most amazing opportunity that’s ever been available in our entire history.
But now I’m running ahead of myself.
I’m looking at the role of viral video as a method of connecting businesses with potential customers. But of course, I’m happy to admit that this is only (and perhaps thankfully) a tiny segment of the whole picture as far as viral video is concerned.
Let me finish this exploration by giving you my top strategies for creating viral video.
(By the way, before I go any further. Let me make it clear that I’m not a viral video guru, just someone who is learning the craft and sharing my observations plus the experiences of others).
Top Tips For Creating Viral Videos
– Research high volume trending topics and brainstorm how you might segue into a popular trending ‘meme’
– Use the same tags that other high-view videos have used
– Brainstorm ideas for videos which combine factors such as humour, unexpected twists, and shocking juxtaposition of ideas
– Use distribution tools such as Traffic Geyser to spread your video across many syndication sites
– Combine eye-grabbing headlines with strong mid-point images (the mid-point of your video is the default image that YouTube and other syndication sites will display as the ‘still’ for the video)
– Employ white-hat SEO techniques such as video RSS feed mashups, pinging and embedding your video on relevant high-traffic blogs, forums and article sites (some do allow video embedding).
Want to chat more about Viral Video and how to use it in your business? Come and join me on the Viral Video Marketing Facebook group now.