What makes a video viral? Excecute the awesome.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, as a social media butterfly, how to make a viral video.

I want to roll my eyes and smack my forehead when asked, but I try to maintain my professionalism and composure, and say with a smile.

You can’t make a viral video. You can make a great video and hope it goes viral, but you can never know when you’re making a video if it will be the next great shared post on Facebook or show up on the Today Show.

However, there are things you can consider when making a video that you want to be seen by millions, and talked about by millions more. A shining example is this video of the Ohio State Marching Band (And I think they’ve earned their “Best Band in the Land” Moniker with this one.) Watch, then let’s have a talk, below.

So the first consideration is this. You’ve got to do something AWESOME! Awesome means different things to different people. So now proceed to consideration number two.

You’ve got to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! What would your audience think was awesome?

Let’s talk in the context of this video.

The Ohio State Marching Band consistently does great band. What they did here was capture their target audience – college students and young adults of the social generation that grew up with video games. That’s a topic that strikes a chord with “my generation.” It pulls a heartstring – an emotion. Ah, the days of old, where Super Mario and Pacman ruled the roost. They knew their audience!

And then the executed the awesome. They didn’t just do a formation of Pacman – nope! They animated it for the audience. They didn’t just do a horse formation – they made the damn thing RUN! It was different. It was unique. It was compelling. It was awesome.

I don’t think the band woke up one morning last week and said “Let’s make a viral video!” Heck, this video isn’t even an official Ohio State video. It was shot by a fan. An impressed fan. Who shared it with his friends, and it became an Internet sensation. Ohio State’s band probably did wake up one day last week and say to themselves “let’s do something awesome!” And then they thought about what their audience on game day might really appreciate. And BINGO! A viral video was born.

So when you create your next company video, ask yourself if you are doing something awesome, in a unique and creative way that would really speak to your audience. Just because you think your new feature is awesome, or your corporate video is awesome, doesn’t mean your audience will think so. Take that video and present it in a way no one else has. Then, sit back and watch it take hold (or not – the Internet is a fickle place!)

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