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Key Principles To Viral Videos

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It's the dream of every artist to have a video that (for the right reasons) goes viral, and while it's difficult to take any action that will ensure this happens, there are at least several widely accepted principles on how to make it that much more likely.

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Everyone would love for their video to be like Whiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” and go viral with millions of views overnight, but that rarely happens. That said, here’s an excerpt from my just released Social Media Promotion For Musicians Second Edition that provides a number of generally accepted principles for creating a video that has a chance to go viral:

  • Keep it short. It seems pretty obvious, but videos have a much better chance of going viral if they’re short, mostly because that’s what our attention span demands these days.
  • Provoke a response. You’ll see that most viral videos cause you to laugh or gasp. Anything else and your viewers probably aren’t going to want to share it with their friends.
  • Be timely. You have a greater chance to go viral if your content is about something currently popular, although there are perennials like cats and babies that never seem to go out of style.
  • Try humor to keep your viewer’s interest. That said, don’t force it since that can be most unfunny.
  • Avoid asking for comments. One thing that turns people off is asking them to like, share or comment on the video. If they enjoy your video they’ll do all of these things naturally and won’t need to be cajoled.
  • Don’t create a commercial. Viral videos are hard enough to create, but they’re even more difficult if they’re constructed like ads. It’s true that you’re creating a video to promote either an album, a song or your band, but being subtle works best.
  • Avoid Copyrighted Material. Copyrighted material can stop a video dead in its tracks due to a take-down notice from the content owner’s attorney. You might get away with it; then again, you might not.
  • Seed your content. Before your video can go viral, you’ve got to get it in front of influencers. Consider using a viral seeding company such as Sharethrough to do that for you. Be aware that these services usually charge a per view fee so the costs can rack up, but it’s measurable and effective with the right video.
  • Don’t create a video because you think it might get views. Create content that you really care about.
  • Watch other videos for inspiration and tips. You can learn a lot about what to do, and maybe more importantly, what not to do, from other artists, bands and brand’s videos.
  • But be yourself. You’re better at being you than anyone else.


Make no mistake, getting a video to go viral is difficult at best and a great deal of good timing and luck is involved when it does happen. Following the above tips gives you a better chance.

You can read more from Social Media Promotion For Musicians Second Edition and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.

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