How to Make a Video Go Viral

August 12, 2022 by Bearded Matthew

What makes a video go viral?

“Going viral” is a phrase used to describe content that circulates rapidly and widely from one internet user to another. This content can be videos, photos, news articles, advertisements or games. Not only can a variety of content go viral, but the reason for something going viral can vary – and is often unpredictable. 

In this article, discover our thoughts on viral video – what it is, why it happens and how you can increase the chances of it happening to you. 


Is it viral if it’s got a spend behind it?

We often get clients come to us and say they wish to “go viral”. But one major factor to consider is whether there is going to be spend used behind the video. Many clients will invest in video to use organically on their YouTube/Vimeo channel or on their website, however others will be aiming to run their video as a TV or social media advert. 

Spend plays a major role in the reach and performance of a video. When clients put a budget behind their video, they’re immediately going to get increased reach. Their chances of “going viral” and having their video circulate is much greater – particularly if their budget is considerable. 

So is this a viral video? Or is this simply ‘having a budget’? At Bearded Fellows, we define viral video as content that flies off the shelves without spend – this is the key. Viral videos that are boosted by significant budgets are not authentically viral. Explore more about budgeting for your video content here.

So if you wish for your video to be widespread organically, here are some top tips.


Bearded Fellows Top Tips for Organic Viral Content


Be relevant and topical

Social media is all about ‘the now’. Topics that are popular on social media one day are gone the next. By leveraging relevant topics within your video marketing, you’re more likely to be relatable and engage with a much wider audience. If talking about specific/niche topics or not focusing on the topical, you’ll keep your audience small but high in quality. 


Don’t play it safe

If you want your video to get mass attention, then playing it safe and creating content that exists ‘somewhere else’ online is never going to get you there. As with many things in life, mass attention is given to something that is surprising, entertaining and has the ‘shock’ factor. If your video content is ‘safe’ and doesn’t go against the grain, you’re unlikely to make much of an impact. 


Be emotive

Telling a story is critical – you don’t need to look very far to see the benefits of doing so. People love watching things develop – whether it’s funny, dramatic or sad, it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re telling an engaging story to capture the audience’s attention. If you’re going to choose to go down the ‘sadness’ route, make sure you pick a real story. 


Authenticity is key

If your video has been created with the intention to ‘go viral’, there is a chance this won’t happen. A few of the biggest keys to video success are honesty, authenticity and of course tension. Take a look at the videos that go viral, they are either the wildest moments or the most creative small moments. 

Tik Tok is a massive tool in encouraging virility, especially with the duet or duet chain features. If you break this down to the core, this is people serving the people with no other thought than to what they themselves find funny. Not necessarily thinking about what others may find funny or entertaining. 


Stay focused on a single message 

Planning a creative concept needs to have a few things – honesty, creativity and one main focus. If you have a variety of different points and the story is hard to follow, the key messaging gets lost, making it less effective and engaging. 

Choose one main focus for your message and stick to it, let it come across. Use entertainment tactics to keep it lighthearted for yourself and your audience, but equally, note that it does not have to be funny all the time.

Audience and channel distribution are interconnected

Each type of content has a who, why and when. If you feel your content is going to be most relevant with Gen Z, utilising TikTok would be smart. Speaking to one audience rather than trying to appeal to everyone will also make your messaging stronger and more effective. 

The ‘time’ a video is posted doesn’t matter so much – there are ‘common’ times people consume content, but if the video is good enough, eventually it’ll be consumed at any time. Finally, playing up to the algorithms through video features (remixing, hashtags, captions etc) will help with organic visibility.

Finally, don’t compare to the big brands

Brand awareness plays a significant role in virality. John Lewis, as a good example, releases their Christmas advert yearly and is guaranteed to go viral due to their brand reputation. No matter whether the advert is brilliant or it falls short, their brand awareness helps them cut through the noise and deliver viral content year after year. 

Try not to compare yourself to big name brands/creators who have a large audience base to begin with. Just be yourself! 

Looking for a video creative partner?

We are Bearded Fellows, we help brands, agencies and organisations to achieve their strategic marketing goals through video and animated content. Contact us today to create your next video project.

Do you want to discuss a project? Get in touch with us

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