Viral Video Hits
You can't force a viral video. But how do you get started on an idea for one that might?
Viral video marketing is really all about coming up with really, really stupid ideas until one of them is so stupid that the world falls in love with it.
On the way there, you come up with a lot of ideas that are merely dumb, merely "kinda stupid." Eventually, if you keep trying, you might just surprise yourself with the most brilliantly dumb idea you've ever thought up, and then you'll have a hit on your hands.
When we say that your idea needs to be stupid, we mean that in a broader sense than just "make a super-dumb video." Your idea can be stupid in any way you like.
"Where in the Hell is Matt?" was a stupid idea for a video. If you were sitting around brainstorming and somebody said "Why don't we send one of us around the world doing a goofy dance in various countries?" they'd be told that that was the worst idea anyone ever came up with, because it would be way, way too expensive and time-consuming to produce in a reasonable timeframe.
And yet, "Matt" made that video and it became one of the biggest viral hits of all time.
So here's the first big trick to brainstorming: get rid of all preconceived notions of an idea being too expensive, too time-consuming, too practically difficult to shoot, too crazy, too weird, and most of all, too stupid. The best ideas for viral videos are hits because the idea behind them is so impossibly impractical, so stupid, so ridiculous that you just can't help but stop and ask yourself "Is this for real?"
Essentially, you don't want to shoot anyone down at a viral video brainstorming session; rather, you want to push one another on to come up with something even crazier. Ideally, everyone will be competing to see who can go the farthest by the end of the session. Everyone will want to see how far you can take an idea, how dumb you can get with it, and how insane you'd have to be to actually try to produce it. Write everything down. Don't censor anything, just jot it down.
Meet someplace where the brainstorming meeting can be casual and fun. A bar or coffee shop is great, but you could also brainstorm while playing a game, zoning out to music, or taking a nature walk. Don't take it too seriously; it's just about ideas at this point.
Sit on the list of ideas for a day or two and then go through it and start picking out the best ones. Maybe some of those dumb ideas will turn out to be literally impossible to take through the web video production process, but remember that all great videography careers are launched on ideas that were flawed. So don't be too quick to dismiss something that sounds challenging.
You can't guarantee a viral hit no matter how brilliantly crazy your idea, but if your web content is consistently remarkable, someone is going to notice. And you'll have plenty more ideas where those came from.
Gilbert S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.
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