Video Content

How To Make A Video Go Viral (Plus 8 Cogs To Ensure Success)

Michael Pirone
January 7, 2022

One problem that most businesses encounter is gaining the attention of their target audience. Marketers, therefore, try many different types of content and distribution methods which, for the most part, do not lead to much. That said, a company’s viral video can help you get the attention you need and get your business running.

A viral video can help you easily boost your brand awareness beyond expectations, generate unprecedented sales, gain thousands of subscribers to your page and newsletter, become popular in your business industry, and maybe even become one of the trendsetters. 

This article will teach you everything you need to know to make a successful viral video. You’ll see examples of how to do it and what sites to post your videos on these days. So let’s start by explaining what a viral video really is. *

What Makes A Video Viral

Here are the main qualities of a viral video. 

It tells a story

A viral video is not necessarily one that teaches/educates the viewer. Nor is it the video that provides the most value. The key is its ability to hook the viewer and strike a chord with them. And this is where storytelling comes into play. Storytelling allows you to organize ideas, soundtracks, and images into a coherent video. 

Storytelling captures the viewer’s attention and keeps them focused on the video until the last second. Here is a perfect example of this. 

It’s short and focuses on a single idea

As much as we enjoy consuming video content, long videos bore us. Our attention span is more than shortened in this age of content plethora. At the same time, we are naturally inclined to quickly click on a one-minute video and keep scrolling. This partly explains the success of short explainer video platforms like TikTok. 

Viral videos operate in the same way. In other words, viral videos are always short and specific to one thing. It can be a quick dance video, baking food or composing one, teaching a hack, and more. They’re always short and easy to grasp. Here is a great example of a short video Alibaba uses to empower its customers.

It creates emotions

Emotions make people love the video and want to share it with their friends. That’s the one aspect of videos that makes them viral. Viral videos either elicit a burst of laughter, a “wow” effect, or, again, an “aww!” effect. They always inspire or motivate viewers and keep them on an emotional rollercoaster that makes them come back to watch the video again and again. Here is an example featuring an old cat teaching a younger cat about life. 

It’s hard to watch the video without feeling nostalgic about your childhood and how you’ve learned and grown over the years. That’s what makes this youtube video so compelling. To date, the video has been viewed over 32 million times on YouTube. 

8 Cogs To Make Videos Go Viral

Want to ensure that you create a viral video? Here are eight cogs to help you create viral marketing videos. Keep in mind that this may vary based on your goals and video type. 

Cog 1: Tell a story and elicit emotions

Unless your video creates an emotional effect on your viewership, it will never go viral. Your video will not go viral because you have the best product or piece of software. On the contrary, it will go viral because of the story you tell and the emotion it creates in your viewers. 

That is to say, the “viral” factor your video gains is based on the fact that the video inspires a certain emotion in the viewer. Perhaps it makes them happy; perhaps it makes them doleful; perhaps it motivates them, and more. 

Just for the record, Karen X Cheng, an amateur dancer, has managed to attract over 12 million views on YouTube with her dance video. She had neither the best dance moves nor the best visual quality, for what it’s worth. Here is the actual video. 

Karen’s video became popular because it tells a relatable and motivating story. The video describes how a simple ordinary girl improved at dancing with practice and perseverance during one year. This makes it more understandable, and people relate better. 

Cog 2: Focus on a single message

It is necessary to focus your video on a single message. This will help convince the audience of your content’s quality. If your video rambles and fails to focus on a single message, it will confuse viewers, and they will probably shut it down before it’s over. You need to have a clear concept and get it across efficiently and effectively. 

Above is a perfect example of a video focusing on a single message. Think of it as your blog post or landing page video. The more messages you have, the less effective they are. A single and clear message makes your video more effective, and you’ll get better engagement.

Cog 3: Make it valuable and share-worthy

You need to make sure that your video provides value to viewers. The value you provide in your video will determine whether it gets shared or ends up like another random video. Take the Volvo Trucks commercial, for example. Though the video was originally designed to showcase the stability and precision of the trucks, they use the video to inspire people and motivate them to be great. 

As the saying goes, you have to give before you can get. What you truly need to do here is focus your video on your viewers rather than yourself. For example, instead of focusing on how good your product is, you can focus on how it provides relief from a specific pain your potential customer may be facing.  

This is the attitude you want to cultivate in your video. People won’t be interested in your business or services if they don’t see how it genuinely helps them. The same goes for your videos. People need to find value in your video before sharing it with their friends. 

Cog 4: Use a view-worthy headline

Your headline is the first thing people check to understand what your video is about. That’s why you need to make it click-worthy. You just need to make the perfect blend between designing a headline for clarity, striking curiosity, and creating an emotional reaction to come up with the perfect headline. Here is an excellent example from Dove.

Dove’s video has over 69 million views on YouTube. Being beings that care about our looks, Dove’s title makes a loud and clear statement that calls for an immediate click. We all care about how we are seen from the outside, which is what makes Dove’s title so relatable. The title also implies a motivational component, which also contributes to its success. 

The headline also plays a key role as your video goes viral. You need to set expectations for the video content. Your title should be understandable by both humans and the video platform’s search algorithms. This will require some keyword research on your part. You should figure out the keyword that gets the most clicks vis-a-vis your video content and use it accordingly. 

Cog 5: Get the keyword tags spot-on

Your video tags will determine the people your video platform suggests the video to and does not. This is an SEO game you will need to play thoughtfully. You need to conduct thorough keyword research, find the relevant keywords for your video, and add them to your video’s tags accordingly.  

Also, you can think of unique words and phrases people would use to search for the content in your video. This can search terms as per people’s thinking. Doing so will help match your video to relevant searches, and you will easily get noticed. 

Cog 6: Share it where and when it matters

Your video won’t go viral on its own. No algorithm will pick up a video that no one has ever watched. That is: no video ever went viral overnight. You need to set up a video distribution strategy that allows as many people as possible to watch it. 

Of course, you can’t be sure of triggering the “viral” aspect with your distribution strategy, but the truth remains no video can ever go viral without any boost whatsoever. You can also make sure your video gets viewed by the right people. 

For example, Karen X Cheng did not simply post the video and let it to chance. 

First, I posted to Facebook/Twitter and submitted it to social news sites like Reddit and Hacker News. I personally asked many of my friends to share it. I tweeted it at well-known dancers. I emailed bloggers who had covered other viral dance videos.

Karen X Cheng

So, if you want to post your video on popular social networks, you should aim for a time your video is the most likely to be viewed. You need to fully grasp your audience’s engagement activity to find the “sweet spot” with this. For this, you need to check out when the best time to post any type of content on each specific social media is and act accordingly.

While you’re at it, you can also figure out the people that have stakes in your video and reach out to them with a link to the video so that they can share it with their audience. These can be people or other sites you mentioned in the video for quotes, statistics, or other data inside of your video. They can help take your distribution strategy the extra mile, and you can win more views on your video. 

Cog 7: Create eye-catchy thumbnails

Your video thumbnail can determine whether it goes viral or not. Indeed, this can even hurt the performance of your video if you don’t get it right. As your video starts to gain attention and people share it through their different channels, the thumbnail is the first thing others will see as they come across it. So, it needs to be eye-catchy to drive results. Here are a few tips to nail your thumbnail with perfection.

  • Ensure it draws attention. 
  • Make it aesthetically pleasing.
  • Ensure it represents the content and purpose of the video.
  • Keep it consistent with your brand.

Here is an example from Nike. Nike’s commercial campaign aims at empowering women to achieve whatever they want and be the best version of themselves. Interestingly, the thumbnail is enough to convey the message. 

Keep in mind that while social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, will autoplay the video (in which case having a thumbnail matters less), you will definitely need a thumbnail for YouTube. 

Cog 8: Keep it short and fun

The videos that break the internet are always short and sweet. No one will spend their time watching infinite minutes of videos about a business. 

Your video should be about a single idea, and you need to entice viewers to watch it all the way through and enjoy it. Keep in mind that the videos that are most likely to go viral tend to be a few seconds to a few minutes long at most. That’s why you need to make it short and fun. 

The shorter and more entertaining your video is, the more likely it will catch people’s attention and go viral. It also helps make your video memorable and easy to share. Here is an example of a 30-second ad video that went viral. 

This video going viral is nothing surprising. The video is short, and it’s more about fun than it is about marketing the actual product.  

Sites to Make Your Video Go Viral And How To Make It Happen

Here are the main sites where you can post your video to drive the most attention to them. 

YouTube Shorts

YouTube is the video platform par excellence of our time. It is the first platform that comes to mind when talking about video content. As of 2020, YouTube had over 2.3 billion users. This makes posting videos on YouTube a normal thing to do.

However, the best thing you can do to push your video to go viral is to use the new YouTube Shorts. This is a new way of publishing short videos, and it helps you reach a wider audience. In fact, YouTube Shorts have more reach than the ordinary YouTube stream. 

They can only feature videos of up to 60 seconds in length. This means you can limit your videos to a single idea with a unique core message. This gives you more chances to go viral than the traditional way of posting your video on the platform. 


TikTok is considered a short and entertaining video site and has surpassed Google as the most visited platform in 2021. This makes this platform the perfect place to post any video to reach as many people as possible. 

TikTok allows you to post videos of up to 5 minutes in length. To enhance the reach of your video, you can search and use popular music and give your video a boost with TikTok advertising. 

Keep in mind that videos that tell you what to expect immediately at the beginning of the clip are incredibly effective. Also, the less your video feels like marketing; the more people will love it


Instagram is the perfect social site if you have a business in the beauty, food, or fashion industry. The platform has about a billion monthly active users who are mostly women. 

You can post your videos as ordinary content in your feed or post them as reels. Instagram is optimized to enhance the quality and rendering of your visual material. This allows users to enjoy an unparalleled visual experience. 

Note that posting videos simply in your feed will limit their reach to your followers. On the other hand, reels are much shorter and give you a better reach to your target audience. 


Posting your video on Twitter should be part of your video distribution strategy. You can post ads, short demo videos, brand videos, and more. But keep in mind that the audience on Twitter will always expect plain-text posts rather than videos. So, it is always best to keep your video short and quick.

Work With A Video Agency To Make Your Video Go Viral

There is no surefire way to be sure a video will go viral. You must embrace the random nature of viral content on the internet. High resolution and product quality are not enough to guarantee your video will go viral. Not even the best video marketer can explain the genuine aspects that trigger a video to go viral. 

However, you can start by creating a video people will love and share. The reason you need to work with a video production agency is to help ensure you produce quality videos and that your video verifies all cogs to go viral. This will also provide high engagement and reaction to your videos. 

Vidico is a video production company that helps businesses bring their video fantasies to life. We help top-level businesses create all kinds of videos to improve their brand awareness and break barriers to customer acquisition. You can reach out to us here

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