Online viral videos: myth or reality

A lot of people have a certain notion on how viral videos are made. To them, everything is quite simple. Someone makes a creative video and posts it on YouTube. A few people to begin with see the video, think it’s the best thing that they have ever seen and share it with their friends; those friends then share the video with others, and the thing gains momentum and becomes unstoppable. There is an element of truth here in some situations.

The reality is however a whole other story. For a viral video to be created, there needs to be a streamlined strategy and a big promotional budget. These videos are rarely ever a result of one person sharing a video with another. A lot of hard work, money and supporting resources go into the making of the viral videos that we have all come to know and love.

A lot of business people and freelancers are under the impression that they to can create a viral sensation on YouTube, and are actively seeking advice on how to achieve exactly this. The sad truth is that it is virtually impossible for them to do it on their own without the backing of big multinational companies. Some of the things that are taken into consideration when these videos are conceived include return on investment, brand alignment, conversion, goals and objectives and capture tactics. All big business and big budget thinking!

It is therefore clear that for viral videos, it is not simply a matter of picking up a camera, shooting something funny or interesting and uploading it to be shared by others. There is a great deal of calculated effort that goes into these videos, and even then, it is not a sure thing that the video will be successful.

Playing the System

Most businesses and companies that have seen their videos go viral will admit to playing the system as it were, most using methods that are ethically questionable in their quest for video supremacy. To capture it all in one statement, it would be; “Viral videos are manufactured, they are never made.”

Before a video can be shared by a celebrity or aired on television by a major network, there is a lot of behind the scenes work. A lot of time and money has been put in to ‘manufacture’ success. Blog owners are paid to post videos, forums created to promote the videos, often times with people employed to kick start the forum, talking to each other. Each user may have multiple accounts, making it look like there are a lot of the people on the forum talking about the video.

The reason why YouTube is so popular with video creators is because nearly every person that posts a video secretly (or otherwise) hopes that their video will go viral, or at least believes that there is potential for the video to go viral. The stark reality is that this is often not the case. Without an incredibly amount of time, money and other resources, it is virtually impossible for the average person to create a viral video for their business.

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