Mary Crosse, the new business director for Lucky Branded Entertainment, offers insight on 10 top strategies for getting video content to go viral.

With the recent launch of Google TV and online video vieweship steadily gaining ground, it makes sense that web video marketing is a major discussion topic here at ad:tech New York. Mary Crosse, the new business director for Lucky Branded Entertainment, offers insight on 10 top strategies for getting video content to go viral.

1. Don’t post a commercial online (unless you’re Old Spice)

Crosse says Old Spice is an exception, but marketers must remember that people aren’t watching videos – even those featuring the Man Your Man Could Smell Like – because they’re commercial. Instead, consumers are watching for entertainment. With this in mind, marketers need to get out of the mindset of traditional television ads when creating content for the web.

2. Make the consumer cool (not just you’re product)

Creating a video that makes a person who watches (and who uses a product) look good is like creating consumer karma, Crosse says. If viewers feel good watching, they’ll pass a clip around and advocate a brand.

3. Be free to break away from your overall advertising strategy

 Ad strategies may not focus on entertaining consumers, so break the mold with video campaigns, Crosse advises. Consider not including a logo or creating something off-brand. This could build a little mystery around a business. Crosse even suggests creating something crazy and then not explicitly attributing a brand – people could think it’s a fan video.

4. Look at the brand DNA. Then virally mutate it.

While marketers should adjust their ad strategies for video, keep what consumers love about a business in mind. Amplify it. If a brand is known for quirkiness, create a wild video, or if it's a family-friendly business, demonstrate how families use services and go for a nostalgic theme.

5. Play with emotions.

People will respond to something that makes them laugh, or remember something that they’ve never seen before that amazes them. Crosse also stresses that being very timely and socially relevant is important. Martketers may want to consider using news content to fuel their online video ads.

6. Create realistic goals.

Define a goal upfront in order to set a budget and plan creative accordingly. And remember to keep it real – don’t say a business' goal is to create the most-watched video ever. 

7. Just because it’s online, remember it isn’t free.

Budgeting can be tricky and costs may run high. Coke was initially spending $60,000 on its video campaign, Crosse says. Still, online video will help you save money on talent rights (web talent is cheaper) and probably boasts lower-priced ad spots, but you’ll have to pay a production crew (production has the same cost as a television commercial). Be realistic about a budget, but also be ready to spend.

8. Keep it short

Videos under a minute often do the best – in fact, 30-second spots work best, according to TubeMogul data. Crosse says short spots are easier with respect to producing high-quality content. Plus, viewers have low attention spans. 

9. Put it somewhere

Even with great content, failure to seed means a brand won’t get far. Crosse points to data showing that at least 24 hours of video are uploaded to the internet each minute – marketers have to move fast and spread their content wide to stand out in the clutter. She suggests businesses seed their own social channels for influencers to find the content. Also, she suggests brands send videos directly to bloggers and thought leaders in their industries.

Also, put online brand videos in places where people can comment (online video creation is not a time for marketers to be control freaks). Content won’t go viral unless brands start the fire and let it spread.

10. Be brave.

If the video content that a business creates doesn’t make company executives a bit nervous, it’s likely not going to do well online, Crosse says.

Another point to consider is that video content should be optimized for search engines, just as any other web content must be created with SEO in mind. Chris Sherman of Search Engine Land spoke about video as part of SEO's evolution yesterday at ad:tech New York.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.