Blog - Written by on Friday, September 25, 2009 20:11

Three Best Ways to Make a Viral Video

With a little creativity, it’s possible to raise brand awareness about your business through a fast-spreading digital message

Nowadays, making a short video about your business can be cheap and easy. But getting sustained buzz for it amid the digital din of other viral videos is tougher.

Before you hit “record,” ask yourself how you can effectively use this platform to get your business’s message across to the masses. Are you trying to entertain or educate? Should your tone be funny or informative? Is there a way for people to learn more about your company once the minute-or-so clip is done, such as an information box on the video platform? Keep in mind that the main purpose of your video isn’t just for a laugh or two, but to build awareness about your company, drive traffic to your Web site and – if done well – generate new sales.

Here are the three best ways to make a viral video:

1. Keep in mind your target audience. Jet Luxury Resorts LLC, a Las Vegas condo-hotel management company, knows its customers: rich, older folks seeking an adventure in Sin City. After doing some research, Chief Operating Officer Steve Aylsworth decided that three themes would resonate with viral video viewers: fear, humor or sex. In April, the company launched its “Bright Side of Life” video , which received 250,000 views in a week. It shows a bare-chested young man having the time of his life in a Las Vegas penthouse with a bevy of scantily-clad women. A twist at the end – it’s actually a dream sequence, and the main character is rather geriatric – made potential customers laugh, he says. The video was such a success that it was chosen for a TBS special called “World’s Funniest Commercials of 2009,” shown in primetime in June.

“We wanted to achieve two things: increase sales and increase our brand recognition,” Mr. Aylsworth says. By May, its Web site saw a 50% spike in traffic, and the company generated a 20% increase in revenue – both of which Mr. Aylsworth attributes in large part to the video.

2. Rely on others to do the heavy lifting. If you don’t know what kind of video to make, why not piggyback on the creativity of the folks who love to do it? That’s what Cosmedicine Co. Inc. of New York did. It recently launched an online video competition called the “Protest Beauty B.S. Contest” to spoof the claims that skincare companies make in ads. Anyone could upload a mock commercial on YouTube for a chance to win $5,000 in cash. So far, Cosmedicine has received between 35 and 40 video entries, featuring everything from sunless tanner for vampires to pain-free leg wax. “This was a way for us to create viral marketing and get hopefully a lot of focus and attention … on the core values of our brand,” says Jane Terker, president of Cosmedicine, which claims its products are independently, clinically proven.

Diane DiResta, owner and chief executive of DiResta Communications Inc. of New York, took the idea further by using existing viral videos to make a point about her company’s service. With help from a marketing company, she spotlighted communication blunders made by George Bush , Sarah Palin and others. At the end of the ready-made viral videos came her company name, her Web site and the tag line: “We can help.” Her company assists corporate executives with their communication and presentation skills.

“The video itself says it all,” she says.

3. Use tech shortcuts to spread the word. Your video is only as good as the eyes who’ve seen it. The goal is to reach as many viewers as possible, so it needs to be picked up by bloggers and passed along by individual fans. Mike Matuska, owner of, a Pelham Manor, N.Y., maker of 8-foot-tall stuffed animals, says he uses, which automatically distributes his videos to about 100 video-sharing sites. He also posts the video to his Twitter, Facebook and MySpace accounts as “it’s not like you get a huge amount from [any] one place.” The average hits on his videos range from 1,000 to 20,000; although one video about an 18-foot snake plush-toy has collected close to a quarter of a million hits. Other sites to consider for automatic video distribution are and, says Jeff Glasson, director of social media for PerkettPR Inc. of Boston.


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