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Make Me Laugh: Five Tips For Funny Viral Videos

What’s making you LOL today? Have you spit coffee onto your keyboard yet? What’s making the Internet rounds in your school or workplace today? It’s likely the latest viral video sensation!

Every day, it seems we see new funny videos passed around the Internet that make us laugh. Viral videos catapulted its way into the top methods to capturing the attention of Internet users’ online time. From ‘Gangnam Style’ parodies and seasonal JibJab social media dancing clips, to more branded corporate marketing exercises passed around on the web, viral videos are soaring in popularity and advertising revenues.

Marketing videos to promote a brand, product, new service or social app don’t often start out being called viral videos. Viral videos become viral simply because the clips themselves are original, and genuinely funny. Basically, what makes it viral is you and your interaction with the clip.

What Is A Viral Video?

What Makes A Video “Viral”?

Viral videos differ from traditional company videos in that they’re designed for quick hits and pass along numbers. In general, some videos aren’t meant to have a long-lasting shelf life. Most of the time, viral videos are meant to capitalize on news topics, an underground Internet meme or even a broadly-held belief about a certain lifestyle issue.

But the time to create a memorable viral video is worth it for certain marketers. And combined with a good blog post, the possibilities are plentiful for online marketers. In many cases, viral videos are funny videos with a purpose – trying to illustrate an idea via video, or teach people about a new service (say, for a national restaurant chain), or a video about a new top product that’s marketed to consumers as a ‘must-have’ consumer good. When you create a great viral video, it catches people’s attention, makes them laugh through shared sensibilities and then help the brand or product become larger via the Internet.

Why No One Will Watch Your Crappy Corporate “Viral” Video, And How To Fix It

Overall, the share-ability of your video is what will make things happen. Social media works great because it’s inherently viral. The big question is: can you get people to share your video or blog (your brand)? Will they want to make this video clip part of their own network? If you can, congratulations. It’s about turning a group of connected, influential people online into a sharing brand ambassador.

So to do this, marketing types need to understand their audiences — what makes them tick — and figure out the best of ways to get online users to converse, comment, share, like or follow your video clip(s) on a wide scale. That’s what the best viral videos can do.

As the number of videos created seek attention from online viewers, the number of websites for viewing viral videos has catapulted as well. No longer are these clips only seen at YouTube – now you can view viral videos at Metacafe, Daily Motion, Funny or Die, and others. With a larger eco-system for these videos to be hosted, seen and shared across networks, the higher the number of videos are being produced in hopes that they too go viral.

The rise in mobile devices is also playing a big role in viral video distribution. Users can view clips on their phones and immediately share them among friends. Using mobile technology, users will share a viral video via email, Twitter, websites, blogs, YouTube and elsewhere. Your viral clip can appear anywhere and everywhere, for almost nothing. No longer are you only sharing viral video clips with friends, but you’re sharing them across much larger swathes of web users. And sometimes, these videos can generate added sources of income for those behind the clips.

How Can I Make A Funny Viral Video?

The Genius of Old Spice’s Viral Marketing Campaign

So how can you take on video creation for your product or service and look to boost the viral potential for your blog or brand?

First, you need to get familiar with great tips for making viral videos – a large budget works wonders, but how far can imagination work for you? Can your brand team produce a terrific, wildly original piece of work that people will love and want to share with big enthusiasm across SEO networks? That should be your goal.

Some of the tips below can help your team get started on brainstorming concepts and ideas around good storytelling principles that’s specifically designed for web audiences.

Ask “Why Would Someone Watch This?”

Is this video worth doing? Will someone want to watch this? If you can’t answer a full-on “YES!” to both, then perhaps consider a different marketing tactic, as you may end up doing more harm to your brand than good.

Ask… “Is it Worth Sharing?”

Would you share this video? By sharing it, how does this reflect upon your network? If it’s a humorous clip that’s too racy, racial or subversive for most audiences, it might not be sharable. It’s important to understand not only the viewer, but the viewer who will pass along your video on its way to viral status.

Make Originals

One of the more recent best examples of a good viral video was the one for The Popinator, a make- believe popcorn machine that automatically tossed one popcorn kernel into your mouth at a time. It included believable actors, an invention that everyone could relate to (who doesn’t like popcorn? Who doesn’t like a cool tech tool that lets you eat popcorn?) and it got media coverage for its client all over the US. By November 2012, its YouTube clip has been seen nearly two million times.

Create a Series of Videos

Once you’ve decided your viral video project is a go ahead, and you come up with a sure-fire concept, finish a few videos during the initial tapings. Do this before you release the first one. If your initial clip goes viral, you’ll be ready for a follow-up clip to come shortly afterward, according to your strategic timetable.

Avoid Confusion

Be careful not to be too clever or willfully obscure and have the video itself overshadow the marketing message. If the intended audience watches it, but fails to realize what message is being communicated, then the entire video could be seen as a failure. That’s what happened to a promo video for the film ‘Limitless’. The viral video got eyeballs, but failed to lead its audience to the end product, which would’ve been a trailer for the film or theater event details.

Using humor, believability and real-life situations in a web video can greatly enhance chances of bringing your marketing message to a greater amount of people over time. And that’s going to create a decent ROI for you and your client. Humor works, so make it funny.

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One comment

  1. 1

    There are so many interesting studies in this area: the key psychological elements of what makes content spread.

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