December 15, 2009

How To Get 139 Million Views for Your Viral Video

youtube-logoWho are we kidding?  Getting millions of views for your video is like catching lightning in a bottle.  It's time to come clean on the truth about viral videos.   Anyone who tells you that they can produce a viral video for you is lying…or at the very least, greatly exaggerating.  The reality is that viral videos cannot be manufactured.  They are nearly impossible to fabricate, because viral videos require a "perfect storm" of circumstances.   In fact, most viral videos are a happy accident - and many never earn a cent for their creators.

Viral videos are those elusive videos that get gazillions of views on YouTube, spread like wildfire, and often become an overnight sensation.  You know the ones:  the Evolution of Dance, the Wedding Entrance Dance video, Charlie Bit My Finger and, more recently, The Muppets doing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.  Who wouldn't want a video that gets millions of views?  It's online marketing nirvana!

The fact is that the secret ingredient of viral videos is almost entirely outside of your control.  There's a lot of luck involved, along with what calls "Internet serendipity."  That said, ReelSEO identifies several key factors that videos need in order to even have a chance at going viral.  These videos need to be most - if not all - of the following:

  • Unexpected
  • Unusual
  • Original
  • Humorous

I would add to this list that your video must also be short and sweet.  Few of the top ten viral videos of all time are over four minutes in length.  One other thing to keep in mind:  The Dance Dance Evolution video, with almost 140 Million views, and the second most viewed video on YouTube ever, certainly helped its creator's career, but even his follow up video garnered only a fraction of the views of the original.  If the creator of The Evolution of Dance video can't replicate his first hit, what are our chances?

However, there is good news for entrepreneurs:  You do not need a viral video to become an online sensation - or, more important, to make money from your video.  You simply need to be "viral" with your target market.   Your video has done its job if it attracts and engages your intended audience.   I'll take a video that's seen by 500 coaches in my niche over a video that's seen by 5 million people who will never become clients or never buy anything from me.   It's not about reaching the most people - it's about reaching the right people!

So make your video with an eye toward having it easily spread and shared, but be sure to create your video so that it appeals to your target audience.  You want to engage your prospects, and get your customers to take action.  Don't get so caught up in the numbers that you forget your target market.


Lou Bortone, Group Mastery - Online Video Expert

Lou is a former television executive who worked for E! Entertainment Television and later served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising for Fox Family Worldwide, a division of Fox in Los Angeles. Lou is an author and ghostwriter of six business books, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and a Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach.  His website is at:

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by %author%, Comments on How To Get 139 Million Views for Your Viral Video »

December 15, 2009

Laura Christianson @ 8:53 pm

You got me with that title! Excellent, basic tips here. I especially appreciate you saying that videos must be short. Two minutes works really well for me.

Reaching the right audience is so important; I'd rather have my video reach 100 people I want to target than 100 million who just stumble across it, never to return.
Laura Christianson´s last blog ..New Web-based List-Making Tool: TeuxDeux (Review) My ComLuv Profile

Lou Bortone @ 10:16 pm

Thanks, Laura! It's getting harder to 'stand out' on YouTube, so short and sweet is the way to go!

(Did you know if you had to watch EVERY video on YouTube today, it would take you 9,000 years! Yikes!)

Lou Bortone´s last blog ..VIP Video Package (The Works!) My ComLuv Profile

December 16, 2009

mark @ 2:25 am

I wouldn't have complained if you had linked back to us at ReelSEO ;-) Of course, that might be my SEO side talking again. Sorry about that. "Bad SEO side, bad"

No honestly - aside from the mention (thank you for that), this was a great article and I completely agree that viral videos are effective when they are viral to the intended audience. Lou certainly knows what he is talking about
mark´s last blog ..5 Tips for Successful & Professional Online Video Projects My ComLuv Profile

Now let's not forget Jeff Dunham's wildly successful "Achmed the Dead Terrorist" video. Jingle Bombs was crazy successful!
Melanie Benson Strick´s last blog ..Picking a Success Mentor to Accelerate your Results My ComLuv Profile

LisaAngelettie @ 10:36 pm

My hubby is in the music biz and he showed me a video that got a pretty decent amount of views by this guy who spoofs songs and music videos on YouTube. He has just been offered his own 30 minute show on Comedy Central. So this proves your point. A video seen not by a zillion people, but clearly the right people, got him out of his house and into his market like crazy!

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