How to Make Your YouTube Video Go Viral

You can’t. Thanks for reading.

Kidding, kidding. But seriously: if going viral is part of your online video plan, you’re aiming high—attempting to do something very few have done, and even fewer have done on purpose. Obviously you’re making a video in hopes that people will like it and share it with their friends. But if you’re banking on a million-hits-a-day phenomenon, you’re bound to be sorely disappointed.

Marketing departments for major companies have attempted time and time again to get their thinly veiled ad campaigns to go viral, and they rarely succeed. The idea of a “viral campaign” seems about as useful as a book on how to win the lottery: If there were a formula for crafting a clip that was guaranteed to reach the masses (with the added bonus of letting them do the work of spreading the word for you), we’d all be doing it.

The reach of viral music videos

In the category of music, it’s an even tougher egg to crack. Most viral music vids are ones that people laugh at, regardless of whether that was the artist’s intention or not. Rebecca Black’s “Friday” has been viewed millions of times, but probably not for the reasons she had hoped it would. The same can be said for some of those “worst band ever” vids we’ve all seen. Hilarious? Yes. The stepping stone to an illustrious career? Nah.

Of course, most of us would be ecstatic if we got 10,000 views on one of our videos on YouTube, and accomplishing something like that (which would be considered viral in my small scale of expectations) isn’t out of the question for anyone. Get creative, make a cool/fun/funny/compelling clip, and it just might get more traction than you ever thought it would. You’ll probably find that reaching a smaller audience with your unique voice will be much more rewarding than trying to assemble something that will sweep the nation.

What about the videos you’ve already made?

Have you had success beyond your expectations with music videos you’ve made? If so, what did you learn from the experience?

Or, what are some of your favorite DIY (not big-budget) music videos that you’ve found impressive enough to share with friends?

Share a link to the video in the comments, and let us know!

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