Lessons learned from a viral video

It's the YouTube video that pundits like Chris Matthews are calling one of the greatest political ads ever made.

It's the YouTube video that pundits like Chris Matthews are calling one of the greatest political ads ever made.

An obscure Alabama farmer named Dale Peterson, who is running to be Alabama's Commissioner of Agriculture, literally came out of nowhere when his video hit 1 million views in a matter of days.

You have to watch it to see how good it really is. In the video, Peterson talks tough about thugs and criminals and before taking out his .30-30 Winchester rifle while saying, “I'll take names and no prisoners.” There is now a Facebook campaign urging him to run for President.

As good as it is, videos like these give new media neophytes some cockamamie ideas. I can almost hear the clients asking, “Can you get me some buzz through a viral video like that?”

The Peterson video works not only because it's shockingly candid but very humorous. Most highly viewed videos on YouTube are funny, shocking in some way, or both.

Here are my tips for making corporate video content that people want to watch:

1. Keep it short. A video more than two minutes is usually too long.

2. Keep it funny.

3. Make sure the pace is brisk. The modern attention span needs MTV-style editing.

4. Unless there is a reason not to, use some music.

5. Most videos need a little advertising money to get some traction -- $500 per day on Facebook or YouTube ads is a good floor.

6. The great ones – like the Dale Peterson video – are purely organic, but it's hard to bottle that kind of lighting.

My advice? Do something provocative for a client. Clever, not juvenile. Clients need to take a risk if they want to garner tens of thousands of views or more. If they want to play it safe, tell them to purchase a full page ad in one of those newspaper thingies that no one reads anymore.

Eric Bovim is co-founder and CEO of Gibraltar Associates.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.