Going Viral: 3 Strategies For Advanced Video Storytelling - Social Media Explorer
Going Viral: 3 Strategies For Advanced Video Storytelling
Going Viral: 3 Strategies For Advanced Video Storytelling
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Digital video is no longer an advanced marketing technique in itself – anyone with a phone can make a video. No, as more sites feature video content, the goal of such videos needs to shift from basic communication to virality, or at least something like it. The more compelling the story and the higher quality the production, the better your odds of going viral, but you’ll need the right supporting tools.

Not sure how to shift your content from average to advanced? These 3 strategies can help you compete with mainstream commercial content on a digital budget.

Learn The Tools

Though you can make digital video content with just a phone or your webcam and post them online, for high quality content you’ll need to take things up a notch – otherwise, you’re just running an Instagram story. For example, a basic program like Adobe Spark can help make basic images look more polished and even YouTube offers video editing software, and anyone can access these for free. These tools are fine for upgrading your landing page, but they won’t take your content viral.

More advanced tools, like WeVideo’s subscription service, offer green screen technology, picture in picture, and more – and these tools will really make the difference in your content styling. At one time, only professional video producers had access to these tools. Now, with the democratization of video technology, you need to make use of them.

Study Storylines

Plenty of people make quality videos that don’t go viral while in other cases low production value clips explode; what makes the difference? Typically, the answer has to do with the storyline.

Storytelling is a craft and it takes time and effort to do it well. If you want to make a successful marketing video, one of the best things you can do is study storylines that have worked well and compare them to similar narratives that failed to take off. The differences are often subtle, so you have to pay attention to the nuances.

Consider, for example, these two “transformation” videos, one of which went viral and one of which garnered little attention. Both tell stories of disabled veterans regaining mobility.

The first video, featuring Arthur, succeeded using an emotional narrative and quick pacing; it reengaged the viewer every few seconds in the story being told. It’s a solution-oriented video, something that all viewers, even those in drastically different situations, find compelling. The second video, centered on Derek’s story, on the other hand, moves too slowly and focuses heavily on Derek’s past. It lacked many of the relatable touches of Arthur’s video, even though the production values were higher.

Consider this comparison a demonstration of a universal rule: storytelling skill determines virality. Without mastering the pacing, narrative, and emotional aspects that underpin a good story, your video won’t be successful.

Consider The Psychology

As you can see in the video comparison above, there’s a significant emotional factor at play in which video succeeds – the more relatable figure produces a higher impact video – but there are other psychological factors at play. For example, don’t try to go viral by dissing your competitors. Most people associate viral content with positive feelings, while hardly anyone ties negative emotions to popular posts. Other emotions that rank highly are surprise, admiration, and hope.

Another psychological factor that can play well into a successful viral campaign is a Hollywood-style narrative series. This creates a sense of continuity and investment that brings viewers back again and again. If you can gain traction with the first video using surprise and then offer a cliffhanger, you have a readymade audience that will just keep growing.

Viral Visions

Whatever the center of your marketing campaign, virality is contingent on factors ranging from production to emotions – and you don’t need all of them for a campaign to succeed. Ultimately, success starts at the core of your story. An honest, engaging story will take your content to the next level.

About the Author

Larry Alton
I'm a full-time freelance writer and business consultant. With over 7 years of experience providing strategic consulting to companies ranging from Fortune 500 firms to small, locally-owned shops. A featured columnist for some of the world's biggest brand-name publications, I bring a diverse perspective on issues I write about. I'm also a current columnist for a variety of different publications, including TechCrunch.com, Forbes.com, HuffingtonPost.com, Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and CIO.com.

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