Ready for the truth about branded viral video? You have to pay. Brand communicators are well versed in the virtues of earned, owned and paid content, but too many rush to produce video content with no paid distribution plan. So before production begins on your next “viral” video, make sure your budget includes paid promotion for the video content. Any video content worth producing is worth paying to promote. Are there Cinderella stories like Dollar Shave Club? Yes. But even Dollar Shave Club CEO Mike Dubin in an interview with AdExchanger said, “Now that we have the money, we can increase the awareness and you can do more when you pay.”

Begin With the End in Mind

Knowing your target audience and the social channels and blogs they consume is the first step in a successful viral video campaign. Now you know where to post your video(s) and how you’ll pay to promote them. Set your budget to engage your target audience where they live online.

Identify Emotional Storylines

People share videos that move them. Whether it’s love, anger, fear or funny-bone, a video that evokes emotion will be shared. Since you know your audience and what moves them, you can identify emotional storylines that will increase shares.

Make the Most of Production

Don’t make the mistake of making only one video — you need to create more than one. Any video worth producing can be adapted to fit specific social channels. Take advantage of the already crafted story and pre-determined audience, and shape the video to work in several social outlets. For example, create a shorter version to include on your Instagram page, so that it is sure to reach your followers.

Save the Brand B.S.

“I shared a video with my friends because it included brand buzzwords, features and benefits,” said no one ever. Your goal is to have your target audience share your video content. By sharing your video, your audience is influencing purchasing decisions. Your client and the brand will be happy if that happens. Your brand B.S. doesn’t belong in that equation, ever.

A Coordinated Social Strategy Brings it All Together

With emotion, efficient production and paid promotion, you will see sharing. Now your team should be focused on online engagement. As consumers, bloggers and influencers share your videos, you have a golden opportunity to engage and continue sharing. At AKA, where we produce a variety of video content for brands, we’ve found there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to creating sharable video content for a specific brand audience. But brands that apply these common-sense principles and “put their money where their mouth is” by paying to support sharing are leaping ahead of the pack.

Andrew Krause, Managing Partner / Founder

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