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Is Viral Video for Sale? How to use Free Distribution Effectively

is viral video for sale?

Can one buy viral video?   Many companies now want to use video to get their message out to the world. You Tube has made that free, if you can get the views.  That’s the challenge of course and there is much confusion about that. In fact, one client recently asked me if there was any way to just ‘buy viral’ so I thought I do a post about it, here goes…

The short answer is “No”.   No one can guarantee that a video will become so popular that it gets shared repeatedly, en mass, passed purely on the perceived merits of the content rather that through some other incentive.

The better question is: Do you even really want to?

Let’s look at one distinction: Viral vs. Sharable

When clients ask about viral video, what they typically are really interested in is free distribution and lots of it. It’s certainly possible, but you have to give them a good reason to do so but there’s no guarantee.  There’s lots of very engaging, valuable, funny, amazing content that never goes viral.  It’s not something that can be controlled, therefore it can’t be bought.

Even if you could get lots of people to see your video, would that help? Are they the right people? Did you effectively communicate what you needed to be successful?

I’d argue, what most clients should focus on is ‘sharability’. Get the right people to see your video and share it with other people in your target audience.

If your goal was to be ‘sharable’ with your target audience, you can then design a plan around things that will remove barriers to sharing. There are lots of things you can do to tip the ‘scales of sharablity in your favor.  Reasons one might not share a video might be that it’s too boring, not engaging, not helpful, etc.  Think about the types of content you’ve shared, if any. What qualities did they have?

One of the biggest hurdles to viral is that the qualities that tend to make videos viral aren’t generally brand messaging friendly. You can make an amazing viral video about singing cats but then how does your brand message fit in without ruining what makes it viral in the first place?

Before you hop on the viral video bandwagon, here’s a few considerations to help you form a plan for your next video:

Goal: What’s the goal? Awareness, sales/conversion, recruitment?

Audience: Who are they, what are there interests, what online communities might they frequent?

Message: What is the simplest message you need to communicate to achieve your goal.

Diversification: In some cases, it might make sense to experiment with different types/formats of content that all have the same goal. One might work better that other and you wont know unless you try.

Engagement: How can you grab their attention & keep it? Are you spending the time and budget on the creative and production quality required to meet your goals?

Distribution: What might be the best way to get this video in front of the right people? Paid, social media, email, search?

*Call to Action: *What would be an ideal action for the viewer to take after seeing your video? Develop a plan that makes that as clear and easy as possible.   There are also many ways to look at getting your content distributed.  Even if you want free distribution, it might make sense to get the ball rolling with a small, targeted paid distribution plan.

Advertising: You might want to just pay to get guaranteed views with Pre-roll ads with You Tube or Tube Mogul.

*Seeding: *Some companies now specialize in seeding video content, which means targeting initial groups that are likely to start the social sharing process.

*Influencer Outreach: *Much like seeding, you can target key community influencers that may help get your content that initial boost and start a sharing chain reaction. For example, my friend Veronica Belmont is a tech industry influencer with 1.7 Million Twitter followers, if she shared a video, its going to get some signifigant views. * *

Shared Content: Social video would be content geared specifically for social media that is especially easily shared more casually in social networks.

Content Marketing: By creating quality content that addressed the concerns/questions of your audience, you can lure them to you. If lots of people discover your helpful content in their searches, you may be able to get you message to them that way.

No matter what your goals are, there’s always a way to make it more targeted, more effective and more optimized for distribution. Leave lots of time for strategy and planning and make sure to budget appropriately so that you have a chance to make it good enough to realistically meet your goals.  Respect you audience, give them a reason to care, give them a reason to share.

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