How to Get Your YouTube Video to Go Viral

August 10, 2011{ 38 Comments }

You can’t. Thanks for reading.

Kidding, kidding. But seriously: if going viral is part of your plan, you’re aiming high, and attempting to do something that very few have done, and even fewer have done on purpose. Obviously you’re making a video in hopes that people will like it and share it with their friends. But if you’re banking on a million-hits-a-day phenomenon, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Marketing departments for major companies have attempted time and time again to get their thinly veiled ad campaigns to go viral, and they rarely succeed. Sometimes trying too hard comes off as just that, and most viral videos aren’t the product of meticulous planning. And that’s the problem. If there were a formula for crafting a clip that was guaranteed to reach the masses (with the added bonus of letting them do the work of spreading the word for you), we’d all be doing it.

In the category of music, it’s an even tougher egg to crack. Most viral music vids are ones that people laugh at, regardless of whether that was the artist’s intention or not. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” has been viewed millions of times, but probably not for the reasons she had hoped it would. The same can be said for some of those “worst band ever” vids we’ve all seen. Hilarious? Yes. The stepping stone to an illustrious career? Nah.

Of course, most of us would be ecstatic if we got 10,000 views of one our videos on YouTube, and accomplishing something like that (which would be considered viral in my small scale of expectations) isn’t out of the question for anyone. Get creative, make a cool/fun/funny/compelling clip, and it just might get more traction than you ever thought it would. You’ll probably find that reaching a smaller audience with your unique voice will be much more rewarding than trying to assemble something that will sweep the nation.

Having said that, can you think of any music-related viral (or just popular) videos that you think worked well for the band that created them? This Weezer video came to mind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQHPYelqr0E), and even though I think it’s kind of corny, it ended up being a crafty way for them to latch on to the viral thing.

Post your links in the comments, and let’s enjoy some clips.