Last year my 40 second video of Santa signing to a child went viral. REALLY viral! It was viewed on every news network across the world, online, offline, tv, radio and more.
It currently stands at 3.6 million views on Youtube.
It was truly a pleasure to start such a global event.
I filmed it on Saturday afternoon, posted it online on Sunday evening, promoting it through various social media platforms, I previously used when promoting my viral Laughing Meerkat video (currently at 1.1 million views).
By Monday evening it had reached 400,000 views on Youtube and continued to grow!
The growth wasn’t as dramatic as I’d have liked, so I then shared it with media agencies in America and it quickly gained traction. During the height of it’s popularity I was receiving calls from agencies/media from all over the world asking if they could buy the clip or asking for more information.
The most fun were the Ellen show, who were interested in having the clip as their huge end of season finale. Things didn’t work out as planned and it was bumped for another story.
Most news outlets copied the clip from Youtube and made up their own incorrect story surrounding the video.
So we corrected that with a follow up video, which you can see here:
How do you make your video go viral?
I get asked this a lot, once people find out I have created a few viral clips.
There’s no one quick solution. But here are a few tips that will help your content grow, then it’s up to the quality of your content to see if it can go viral:
- You need good initial traction. Share your content with lots of people at once, as soon as you can. Prepare email lists, Facebook groups, media agencies, newspaper editors, social influencers… Contact them all within a 30 minute window of you launching your content.
- Your content has to be good. No one is going to share your content if it doesn’t connect with them in some way. What is your hook? Does it ask a question to promote discussion and likes? Does it chime with something currently in the media?
- Is your content short enough? Most viral clips are sub 30 seconds, even just a couple of seconds in most cases. If you have a 4 minute epic advert to drop in the middle of Coronation Street, no one will care. You’re just wasting money. Make it concise so it can be consumed quicker, then shared quicker.
- Embrace the happy accidents. I didn’t know I was going to be capturing this moment on the day, in fact I nearly didn’t record it at all. Once I had captured it, I knew it was gold. I knew if I hit it just right I could get some traction with the clip, and off it went! If your campaign takes an unusual turn that you feel you can build on, go for it!
- Follow up to give your content a second wind. Going viral is like long distance running. You have an initial surge off the blocks, but then want to keep that pace. If you dip too low, you will come crashing back down. The easiest way to continue your rise, is to follow up, send another email asking if someone liked your content, or if they have seen how your content is going viral. Post in another group asking if people would like a follow up video. Reply to comments. Keep the fires burning, people coming back and generating more comments/likes/shares.
One final word. If someone says to you that they can make your content go viral, they are lying. You can follow the steps above and still have a massive failure on your hands, if your content, idea or execution isn’t strong enough.
Here are the facts behind the video:
“The girl in the video title “Santa signing to child” is called Mali Phoenix Williams-Cody, aged 3. She has visited the Cleveland Centre’s special event days several times. I have some great photos of her at Halloween as well as Christmas. She came with her mum on Saturday to meet Santa. Mali is not deaf, she struggles to communicate with speech. She has been attending a special school to help with her communication and this is were she learned sign language. As seen in the video, Santa asked Mali’s mum if she could sign and touched hearts all over the world when he sprung in to action asking if Mali wanted a doll for Christmas. Her reaction is priceless and touched all of us who witnessed it live. I was so pleased I could capture such a special moment and share it with the world.”
So far I’ve found the video at: