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How to Make Your YouTube Video Go Viral

Updated on May 11, 2013
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I'm going to start this off by saying there is no absolute certain recipe to follow that will make your YouTube video go viral. There's no secret or plan that guarantees success. A lot of viral videos seem to sprout up from luck, or how interesting or unique your video concept is. Another factor is how trendy your video can be and who picks it up. The more people who pick up, write about and share your video, the better chances it has to go viral.

The YouTube Recipe: Quality

The general rule of YouTube is if you want views and subscribers, make better content. While to a certain degree this contributes to viral videos, it doesn't seem necessary for viral videos to adhere to any sort of quality guidelines. In fact, the opposite seems true.

Poorly drawn flash animations (or at least designed with simplicity in mind) have just as much a chance of going viral as one where weeks worth were poured into it. If you're worried about having the best, top quality video camera on the market, don't worry about it being an aspect of a viral video.

Videos shot on camera phones or bad webcams are all fair game when it come to viral video. It seems to be more about the unique content than the production quality itself.

Random, Unique Thoughts or Concepts

All of the best viral videos have a unique or weird twist to them. Instead of just being a music video, a viral video will incorporate ridiculous moves and incorporate silly words or stupid catch phrases that help the video's trendiness. This in turn will provide fuel for bloggers, re-mixers and the community to jump on the band wagon and make the video popular.

Creating something that is not in a completely finished state, or one that can be built upon may actually work in your advantage since there is room for it to become better by other creators' contributions.

The Secret Club Factor

This is something I talked about in my Viral Videos on YouTube. Basically this is how trendy the video is and how well it would catch on and be a big "inside secret" amount anyone who knows about the video. A good example of this is the Harlem Shake videos and Gangnam style where if you were up with the trend, you could easily replicate the video and create parodies from it.

If you're lucky enough to jump on a video that is just beginning to be popular, you can be one of the videos that helps elevate a trend which in turn will bring more popularity to the video and help spread it around.

How likely it is for someone to replicate the trend in public is a good way to know how well a viral video is going to do down the road. Ones that can be integrated into pop culture and relived have a better chance at staying popular and not being forgotten.

How often do you read blogs to keep up with trends and viral videos?

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The Power of Blogging

Like the secret club feeling, the power of blogging is another way that a video can become popular. The more posts that are written about a video, the more likely they are to be seen and exposed to different audiences. This, in addition to social media, is one of the best ways to get views.

Bloggers find new and interesting videos to write about, but you may also be able to submit to their website and see if anyone will write about it. Once you get some review and press for a video, the easier it is for your video to show up on other blogs and websites.

Create Something Already Popular

A trick that a lot of music video creators and FX editors use, is to follow the release dates of popular movies and video games and plan to release a video. This will allow you to piggyback on the traffic and get into the fan-base as they build up the hype for the release.

A good example of this is the Assasin's Creed video that devinsupertramp filmed and shot.

Similarly, when a popular video or trend is erupting, the ideal time to jump in on creating a cover or parody is as the chaos is happening. You don't want to be too late and fall into the aftermath of a trend where people are already sick of video or trend.

This brings another interesting thought to mind. It's all about timing. Think about when you release a new video. Chances are that more people will have the free time to look for videos and entertainment after work hours, Fridays or weekends. This may be something to consider when releasing your video.

Ted Talk About Viral Videos

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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      The concept of what it takes to go viral is an interesting phenomena. The TED Talks video you included at the end was very interesting and it explained it well. As you said in this hub, "the best viral videos have a unique or weird twist to them." With that in mind, we can possibly apply the same concept to writing articles.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      Carly Sullens 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Great ideas to get yourself noticed on YouTube. Voted up ++++

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