5 things you need to do to make your short film go viral

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5-step guide to viral video success

Some of the most viral short films of this year have had some pretty unique concepts and visual aesthetics that made them more engaging, and in turn, more popular.

What are some of these characteristics, and what do you need to do in order to ensure that you get the best chance at making your short film go viral?

Remember ‘The Epic Split’ with Jean Claude Van Damme? How thrilled were you by that short video? Why did you like it? Why did you share it? There are many reasons why videos go viral, but some are more obvious and common than you might think.

Take a look at these 5 steps below to help you improve your chances at viral video success.

1. Create unique visuals and back it up with awesome music

In order for your short film or video to have the best chance at succeeding online it needs to have a visual impact that stimulates your audience and takes them out of their daily grind. It needs to take people off-guard. It has to have its own unique style and a very good track can boost the engagement as well.

Most of the viral successes this year have either been music videos, or commercials/shorts with a powerful music track. If you can use the power of music to go with the story you are telling, this will add a plus to your chances at viral success. Why do we constantly play the same videos on Youtube over-and-over again? Music is symphony for the brain and if your audience keeps going back to your video, that will boost its ranks.

2. Create a strong emotional bond

Does your video create an emotional response? Does it excite, does it horrify, does it make people sad? One tip: if your short is based on a sad subject it is unlikely to go viral, because sadness is an emotion that doesn’t create viral lift (more about that in future tutorials!)

If your film creates enough excitement, awe, happiness, or other power emotions, then it will have a bigger chance of success. People love to share funny videos because they can all join in on the laugh. Depending on your subject matter, keep the emotionality of your story in mind.

3. Get it out at the right time

Releasing your video at 3am when all your friends are sleeping is not a good idea. Peak times can vary, but think about the close group of people you want to share it with. When are they at home most likely? The trick to making a video get a surge in traffic is to send it to a large group of people in a short space of time, and hopefully you’ll get the viral boost you need to alter Youtube’s ranking of your video : which will then boost viewership.

4. Be prepared for Tent-pole events / Popular videos

Sometimes making a viral video off the back of another video is a way to get success. There are countless remixes on Youtube of music videos, comedies, even scenes from movies. If there’s already an audience for the original video, you can get in there by creating your own version. Cultural tent-pole events are also a good time to release your viral video such as a Christmas themed short.

5. Establish a share strategy

If you want to maximize your reach, you need to share your videos through the right channels, not just on Facebook or Twitter. There are countless services out there like Stumbleupon or Reddit that have different sections for different types of content. Look at these in detail, see what videos get shared, and work on your URL titles to give it a hook. It’s no use just copy-pasting your video title everywhere along with the embed code. Try some variables in the title, see what works. If one is doing better than the other, then head to another bookmark service, blog, forum or social network and send it out using that description.

Case study examples:

Hopefully with those 5 steps you are on your way to attaining viral success. I’ll post up a more in-depth tutorial on viral videos next year that will go even deeper on the subject. If you want some good examples of viral success check out our two exclusive interviews with the director of ‘The Epic Split’ and the team that remixed the same video with Rob Ford.

Best of luck!

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