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InsideFMM | August 29, 2014

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SXSW: Six Elements to Making Viral Video

In our quest to bring you the best of SXSW 2012, the editors of FMM attended an eye-opening panel titled “Hacking YouTube: The Secrets and Science of Viral Videos” held by Prerna Gupta, CEO of Khush. If the company is unfamiliar to you, they grew out of the Georgia Tech Music Intelligence Lab and developed the “reverse karaoke” app LaDiDa.

Gupta said that when she first started researching viral videos, everyone would tell her that whether or not a video went viral was “just luck.” Determined to find a formula for viral video success, Gupta dug in her heels and researched YouTube sensations, studying them to find the key elements for viral videos. If you’re marketing your brand on YouTube, this is a must-read.

1. Music–Whether the music is original or a cover of a famous song, music plays a key element in whether or not a video goes viral. The tunes have to be good if you want to succeed.

2. Surprise–If you want people to share your video, there must be something unexpected. This creates a thrill. You are showing the viewer something that they have never seen and they must share it with their friends.

3. Cuteness–Yes, we said it. If you have a puppy, a cat or a baby, you will not go wrong if you put them in the video. Shameless? Sure. But who can resist a cute kitty?

4. Boobs–”I’m not going to explain this one,” said Gupta. “But if you are not shy, it is quite effective for both men and women.” ‘Nuff said.

5. Humor–People love to laugh. If you can bring a smile to their face, it will make them watch again and want to share it with their friends.

6. Celebrity–If you have access to a celebrity who will star in your video and tweet about it, that of course is ideal. If not, parody is a completely acceptable for of flattery. If done right, it’s also funny, in which case you have hit two birds with one stone.

As an example of a viral video that incorporates all of these elements, Gupta showed this video by the YouTube famous Gregory Brothers.

What’s your favorite YouTube Video? Why?

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