The Holy Grail of any video is to go viral.Grabbing the attention of a million — or even a hundred thousand viewers — is what everybody wants with their video. After all, YouTube has more than four billion views every day, which is almost twice the largest television audience ever. The challenge is that 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. You read that correctly — 72 hours of video is uploaded every 60 seconds — that’s over than 4,000 times what you can watch, even if watching video was all you did.

So how do you get your video to go viral? Is there something more effective than the old-fashioned “post and pray” method?

It turns out that there are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of your video taking off.

1. Entertain

If you don’t entertain people, you probably won’t get them to share it. Just look up what your competition is doing, and there’s a better-than-good chance that you’ll find somebody explaining their product in less than entertaining fashion. In all likelihood, that’s all you’ll find.

Think of the best ads you’ve ever seen. Think of the videos that your friends have shared with you. What do they all have in common? Humor. Surprise. Truth.

The best have all of the above. And a touch of humanity.

If you don’t entertain people, they’ll probably click to the video on the right with a catchy title or image.

2. Message

A viral video will not close the deal on a $30,000 car or a $3 widget. If you try to get your video to close the deal, you will not go viral. What a viral video can do is give you name recognition, drive traffic, and create a positive affinity for your company. Set your communications objectives appropriately, or you can count on adding to the more than 72 hours of video uploaded every minute.
That said, creating a piece that is just funny might go viral, but it won’t help your cause. Your video needs to be entertaining, meet your objectives, and be in alignment with your company’s personality. If your video is wildly funny and irreverent, your website needs to be in the same vein, otherwise people will get whiplash when they click through.

That said, if you pack in as much about your product or service as you can, you’ve immediately violated rule #1: Entertain. The message may be the medicine, but if you forget the spoonful of sugar that is entertaining, all people will taste is the medicine. You want to make the medicine palatable with the sugar — it’s a delicate balance.

3. Market

I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t a viral video supposed to grow organically?” Yes, it is. By marketing, we mean plant the seed with key influencers who will love what you’ve created. Don’t just target the obvious — Mashable, the Huffington Post, LOLcat — find those folks who will want to promote your creation. Their word will carry more weight.

Hoping that somebody will find it and love it and share it works much better when you take the time to find people predisposed to loving and sharing what you’ve done. Remember, there are 4,300 minutes of video uploaded every minute. That’s 34, 500 hours of video in your average workday.

This is a team effort, because once the video is produced, the hard work begins. Your PR and social media team need to work it. Get it in front of the right people, and let them be your promotion channel.

4. Don’t Ease Up

After you get more hits than you’ve ever had, don’t ease up. Move your marketing into the next stage. Now that you’ve got some influencers promoting your video, that’s the time to head to the big leagues. “Well if George Takei loved this video, we thought you might too.” This is when you can go from “Can you believe it?” to “This thing has a life of its own!”

Get It Done Right

The trick is to not focus too much on 3 and 4 until you’ve nailed 1 and 2. And that’s where Eaglevision can help. We excel at taking complex subjects and making them entertaining. We’ll help you produce the piece that your PR and social media teams can promote. But for a true runaway viral success, you need both pieces of the puzzle — the video and the promotion plan.