I think we may be getting closer and closer, although it will always be a thing, to the end of the “viral” concept of videos. At least, within the industry. This has been a somewhat controversial term even before I first started writing for ReelSEO back in 2011. Almost any way you slice it, “viral” has become a taboo term for several reasons–mainly, you can’t go about creating videos in the attempt to go viral…and some believe there’s an even greater science to it all and “viral” sounds like you have no control over it.
Whatever you reason for hating the word viral, Mark Olsen, director and editor of Mental Floss’ YouTube Channel, has written a piece on The Shutterstock Blog titled, “Make Your Videos Contagious, Not Viral.” Hat tip, Danny, who sent me a link to the blog post.
A summary of the points:
1. The Audience’s Time
They chose to watch your video, which means, you need to use the time to present content that is worth their while. Olsen mentions length considerations, but as long as you don’t have any “fat” in the video, unnecessary stuff that doesn’t enhance or compliment your video at all, then you’re on the wrong path.
2. Get to the Point, Already
Give your audience the satisfaction that they watched something that gave them a new perspective, or teach them something. I think ultimately, entertaining trumps everything, even with Mental Floss, which fires facts in a quick, entertaining manner. Mental Floss comes from a genre of video that is “explainer” or “educational” in nature, so it’s natural that “teaching someone something new” or “correcting a common misconception” definitely works for them. For those who are strictly making narrative videos, it’s all about story: grab the audience’s attention early and tell them a story that is worth watching and listening to.
3. Consistent Content
One of the huge reasons why YouTube channels are successful is being able to come out with content that the subscribers can count on. You care about the content to come out with a video on a specified day of the week, or every day, or whatever schedule you have implicitly agreed on with your viewers. It shows you care about them and always want to give them something new to watch. And consistent content means that down the road, when you’re getting new subscribers, you have a library of content to choose from.
4. The Commenters
We’ve talked about trolls, but there are some commenters who just want to see you succeed and have decent feedback. It’s easy early on not to be able to tell the difference between the trolls/haters and constructive critics, but you’ll see a decidedly less amount of mean-spiritedness. If you see a few points that commenters repeat, it’s probably something you should consider. Take these comments in and make sure you are cognizant of them on your next videos. If the suggestions don’t work for your particular type of content, then they don’t. But if they do, it’s worth your while to listen.
5. Finding A Place For Your Videos Beyond YouTube
This isn’t really the “find another place to host your videos” mantra we’ve been hearing lately. This is more along the lines of finding other places to embed the videos: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your website, etc. One of the big reasons for success is finding a blog or other website that wants to post your video for content. Start with blogs that make sense for your video, obviously. If you start getting a few who want to post them, you’ll start getting others automatically once you start becoming a bigger deal.
For Mark Olsen’s complete post, click here.