Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

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How to Create Viral Videos Worth Sharing

Not so long ago, a friend shared a link with me on Facebook.

The video recording quality was grainy. The audio was out of sync with the video. The props were cheap. The film set was non-existent. The result?

A viral video that was viewed almost 40 million times, and shared 23 million times, in 12 months. When I shared this video to my wall, I immediately got two responses — one that said, “Wow, I wish I was their client.

Unfortunately, there was no chance of that happening (since the video maker was a dental practice in London, South Carolina and my wishful friend lived in northern Michigan). But the video maker had achieved the holy grail — a viral video that doesn’t just entertain, but ATTRACTS NEW CLIENTS.

So, what was so magical about a video for a dental practice? I mean, seriously. Is there a less sexy business? Few businesses create such a uniform groan from their patients when it’s time for your appointment. Big companies spend hundreds of millions creating videos that they hope will have a tenth of the social engagement that this video had. So how did they do it?

1. Use lots of humor. Self-deprecating is always good (as long as it is in good taste), but other good uses of humor include showing familiar things in a humorous light.  Remember the e-Trade baby? That set of hilarious viral videos was first launched eight years ago, and still remains the most effective ad campaign in its history.

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2. Keep the videos short. And entertaining. There’s a reason Instagram limits its videos to 60 seconds or less. Effective viral videos need to be fast and furious. The second they lose their humor, or momentum, the audience is lost.

3. Be as human as possible. The days of slick corporate ads are long gone. People want to feel real connections with the business they buy from and the products they use. My dental video example couldn’t be less polished and less “unprofessional”.  Yet it’s wildly successful. Why? Because the dentist is being “real”. If you are familiar with my Client Stampede marketing, then you will know that creating personality-infused marketing is at the heart of every uber-successful ad campaign.

So to recap on the formula for viral video success. You don’t need expensive camera equipment.  Or professional lighting. Or fancy video editing. Or special costumes, in order to make a viral video, viral.  As with any marketing for your business, it’s all about the message. What are you saying, in a funny, entertaining way, that resonates deeply with the audience?

 

(Oh and the dental video I’ve been referring to? You can view it here:

 

 

How do you know if you've got a really good idea? Use the "well I'll be damned test"!

Wilson Harrell - a great businessman and entrepreneur had an excellent way of testing for a new product, service or idea.  He called it the "well, I'll be damned test".  You take your new idea and run it past at least 20 different people (none of which are related to you or friends with you), to see how they'd react.  If they didn't say "well, I'll be damned" or "heck why didn't I think of that?" then you haven't got a winner. If it looks like you do have a winner, the next question to ask is "well how much would you be prepared to pay for that?", and  "If you could buy it at that price would you definitely buy it or maybe buy it?",  "why?", "how would you use it", "where would you want to buy it from?" "is this an idea you might be interested in investing in?", "why?".  These loosely held focus groups are extremely valuable and can save you a lot of time, money and stress when thinking about bringing something new to the marketplace.

 

What Kenneth Cole Can Teach Us About Perseverence

On the weekend I stumbled across this great story about how designer Kenneth Cole began his multi-billion dollar shoe and fashion empire. I felt inspired after reading it so thought I would share it with you.When Kenneth Cole was starting out, he was flat broke but wanted to exhibit at his industry's giant trade show in New York City. They wanted a huge exhibit fee which he simply couldn't pay. So he got the bright idea to just rent a huge motor home and park it right outside the convention hall, and invite attendees in to see his shoes. When he went to get a permit, he was told that nobody got permits to park anything on a major New York street for 3 days. For 99% of business owners, that would have been the end of that great idea. But he thought about it and went back and said "SOMEBODY must get permits. If somebody could, who would?". The answer: only tv and production companies. So he quickly registered a new business - Kenneth Cole Productions, got a sign made for his rented motor home, got a permit, hired guys with film cameras with no film in them, laid down a red carpet and then spent 3 days with his motor home parked exactly where he wanted, grabbing attention with the filming, inviting people in and selling shoes like crazy. This isn't just a great story about not giving up. It's also evidence of a deeper, determined mind set developed by a certain tiny percentage of business people who are determined to "make it" and to do whatever "it" takes...a trait as valuable as it is rare. Have a great week! Julie