10 Tips For Viral Shorts

By Sarah Romeo


Viral shorts have taken the web by storm! It’s a tough game with its own rules—here are some ways you can keep your viral short up to speed with the Internet traffic.

1) Make it something you want people to see:

There are millions—if not trillions—of viral videos all over the web. Why should browsers click on your short over anyone else’s? Are you offering important information? Or a profound message? Have you captured the most hilarious human belly flop of all time?  Whatever it is, identify the reason why people want to watch your short.

2) Make it fun:

The vast majority of people who get on a kick of watching viral short after viral short are BORED. Ok, maybe that’s just me. But either way, those seeking their online quick fix are looking for something entertaining. Have fun with your videos and other people will too!

3) Post it everywhere:

After uploading your viral vid on a site like YouTube or Vimeo, don’t just let it sit. We have tons of options to seamlessly post videos. Facebook or MySpace will allow you an interface for your video to show right on your profile. Twitter is also a great forum for links, and all your followers will be interested in clicking. The more spaces you post, the more hits your short will get.

4) Tag, tag, tag:

Another way people will stumble across your video is through search engines. Look up the top 100 most popular search words on Google and eBay, and apply as many of those as you can to your video.

5) Give it an interesting title:

Treat your video’s title like a headline on a magazine cover. Since viewers have a lot to choose from on the net, they’ll be drawn to the most attractive heading. Strong adjectives like, hysterical, unbelievable, exclusive, leaked, or important can convey specific, compelling feelings.

6) Give it a great thumbnail image:

On websites where your video will be surrounded by many others, the thumbnail image displayed will play just as big a role as the title in grabbing peoples’ attention. Your thumbnail image should be clear, and show either someone’s face or a key still in the action of the clip.

7) Keep it brief:

Obviously the term ‘short’ implements a certain constraint to the length of your video. But as an Internet maxim, the briefer the better! If you’re making a scripted short with a budget, somewhere between 2 and 4 minutes is best. Live footage of a funny, touching or spontaneous event can be kept below 2 minutes.

8) Make it ‘remixable’:

If you look at the most successful YouTube videos, you’ll notice that people frequently answer with video responses, or ‘remixes’ of their own. You can even invite people to get creative. Canadian rock band The New Pornographers had a YouTube contest and challenged viewers to recreate their music videos in different themes, a Michael McDonald motif being one. The idea was great fun and still gets a lot of hits!

9) Link to your website/blog/other videos:

At the end of your viral short, offer viewers other options for looking at your work. The more they get to know you, the more they’ll return—whether it’s to watch all your other videos, or to watch one of your fabulous clips over and over!

10) Get it onto the blogs:

There’s no shame infusing your video into relevant conversation. These days, everyone has their favourite blog, and people love to comment like crazy. If you can comment on a blog post that’s relevant to your video, why not drop in the link? The blogger will be glad you read their post, and those who comment will have something to look at after the reading is over.

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About The Author

Sarah Romeo Sarah Romeo is pursuing a B.A. in English and creative writing from Fordham University in New York City. Upon graduation, she hopes to obtain an MFA in the Big Apple and write screenplays for film and television. Currently a Raindance intern, Sarah is enjoying learning the ins and outs of the film world and the refreshingly blunt British sense of humor.

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10 Tips For Viral Shorts